Disciplining children in the preschool is difficult, as you need to remain calm and consistent in your technique. Children are being introduced to new rules, new people and sometimes exciting and overwhelming surroundings. They have never been far from their parents and may be accustomed to particular rules and discipline unique to their family.
A preschool teacher has several children at a time that still require guidance, attention and at times, discipline. They are faced with many different types of personalities and discipline needs to remain consistent for all children in their care. Preschoolers can follow simple rules and demands, yet at times also have the ability to behave spontaneously and try to push limits.
Over the past two months, I have had the honor of being shown how to effectively set limits and how to discipline preschoolers. My own son has just begun preschool and I have assisted the teacher on several occasions to date. In doing so, the teacher has taught me some remarkable things when dealing with preschool age children and most importantly, her techniques work.
Here are the many observations I have made and am now using at home to effectively discipline my preschooler.
ESTABLISH RULES EARLY
Upon the commencement of preschool, the first few sessions should involve the children learning rules that are set by the preschool. Some of these can be simple routines and others established rules about running and sharing.
It’s important that the children are shown what is expected of them when they enter preschool, while at the same time they approach it with enthusiasm.
Simple repetition over the first few sessions will soon have the preschooler knowing what they need to do. This can begin by establishing a position for their bag and sun hat, to how to use the toilet and washroom in the preschool.
Other rules may include no running while inside, having to enter and exit through particular doors and choosing fruit before it’s handled.
When a preschooler performs a duty correctly, they should be met with praise and encouragement. Preschoolers love attention, by positively reinforcing that they’re doing the right thing will be remember easily. They will then try and emulate this behavior often, striving for this praise and encouragement.
DIFFUSE A POTENTIAL SITUATION
Preschool children have the ability to be easily distracted. If a situation is about to arise that may be a cause of contention, distract the child by offering them another task to do.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACTIONS
Preschool children are becoming more aware of their feelings and how certain situations may affect them. If a child becomes a little over-excited and begins to wrestle with another, the child must be told a firm “No”.
The other child should be told to tell the offender how their actions make them feel. In a preschooler, a simple “I do not like that” will be sufficient. This will make the child who is doing the action made accountable for their actions.
If they are told and then understand that the other child does not like to be wrestled with like that, they will soon see this behavior is not acceptable.
A DISRUPTIVE CHILD
I was very lucky to witness this discipline in action at one of the preschool sessions, and was surprised at how effective it was. The session was nearly at an end, the children had been outside playing but now it was story time with the teacher. The children were all tired from their preschool session as it was getting late in the afternoon. One child began to wrestle, kick and almost bite a couple of the other children. The teacher swiftly gathered him into her arms and held him close, telling him he mustn’t do that, as the other children do not like it.
When he was quiet and stopped fighting her, she released him and told him to move back into his seat, where he remained quiet and un-disruptive until the session ended.
The teacher then gave him positive praise once he displayed more positive behavior.
It must be difficult for a preschool teacher having to set new rules and discipline for a child in her care. I have three and find it difficult, imaging having in excess of ten attention seeking and rambunctious preschoolers in your care. With two sets of eyes monitoring, teaching and praising and in return all those preschool eyes focused on you all the time, a standard must be established early about who is in charge.
Further to this, they must also be fun and energetic to keep up with all the kids and fair and understanding to parents needs and wants. Preschool teachers are a very special person indeed.