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HomeHealth & BehaviorBehavior & Discipline

Changing Children's Behavior in School

Page 2 of 2

By Diana Browning Wright, M.S.

How Do You Find the Cause?

Think of behavior as an attempt to get something or complain about something. Since behavior is a form of communication, you'll need to figure out your child's message. Is she trying to gain something - attention, an opportunity to move around? Is she trying escape or avoid something - doing an assignment she doesn't understand, sitting next to a child who annoys her? Once you understand what her behavior communicates about her needs, you can help her learn more appropriate behaviors.

What Happens Next?

After you've figured out the "why" of your child's behavior, these questions will help you develop a plan of action.

  • What new skill - behavior - should your child learn to replace the problem behavior?
  • How will she learn the new behavior? Who will model (show her how to do it) - you, another child, the teacher? Where will she role play (practice) it? Who will cue (remind) her to use it?
  • What changes need to be made in the child's environment - time of day, space, materials, interactions?
  • What reinforcer will help her use the new behavior - stickers, a special activity or privelege, praise? How often should it be given? Who should give it?
  • How should problem behavior be handled if it happens again? Are there specific words, cues, or consequences that should be used to stop the behavior quickly?
  • How will everyone (parents, teachers, and child) involved work together? How often should they communicate?

Who Should Be Involved?

When parents, teachers, kids, administrators, and other school staff develop a behavior plan together, success is more likely. Each person needs to understand his role and communicate with others involved.

Everyone, not just your child, needs rewards to keep a plan going. Send thank you notes to your child's teacher or principal commenting on the improvements you see. Let them know they're making a difference and you appreciate their efforts!


Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

01/9/2012:
"Great article. We have developed a system to improve kids behavior that incorporates tickets, saving, and rewards called the Ticket Store Game that readers may find helpful. Kids earn tickets for good behavior, save their tickets in their banks, and use the tickets to "buy" rewards from the ticket store game board. You can see more about the game and it's benefits by going to www.ticketstoregame.com . "
12/13/2011:
"We have developed a children's behavioral game designed to improve behavior in kids age 4 to 11. The concept is that kids earn tickets for good behavior, save the tickets and use them to "buy" rewards from the ticket store game board. The game incorprates core values such as anti bullying, acts of kindness and community service, in addition to routine tasks of every day life. The game could be a real help to both parents and teachers. You can see more about the game at our website: www.ticketstoregame.com . "
10/31/2011:
"I am raising my grandson who is now 9. He is getting ready to be expelled from school for his horrible behavoir. He has a BIP IEP and a FBA. Nothing is working. Is there any help out there? So far I have not found any. "
09/26/2011:
"I need help with my son his behavior is really bad at school and home,I need help please. "
02/16/2011:
"I have a 5 year old son, in kindigarden. He has a lot of problems in school not so much at home. I can read to him for 1 hour with out a problem. Sometimes i have problems with him when i comes to writeing. But with comming up what is next is no problem. The problem starts in school. I have been working with the school sence the start. He started with being sent home almost every weak for behavior. I have tried to get the school to take away recess for punishment because that is what he realy likes. But the problem might also be the strucher that they have in the class. He is the type of kid that will run over a soft spoken person. He also like to push his boundrys and what he has found out is the school does not real him in untill he is past a certan point. We are at our wits end with the school and do not know how to help him. thank you Amber"
10/4/2010:
"My name is dipsy and I have a six year old son who is in Kindergarten. He shows sings of disriptive behavior at home and school. I am taking him to get evaluated for adhd. He shows alot of agression. He can't seem to stay focased on one thing or sit still for very long. He gets mad at me easily when I say the no word. I try to make compromises with him and that never works. He is such a loving and smart little boy. He does excellent with his school work so his will to learn doesn't concern me . he can be very mean I have try everything to help him listen but evryday is a constent struggle with him. I love my son very much I just want him to listen, stay focased and show me the same respect I show him.'"
05/21/2009:
" My name is Darlene and I have a six year old son who is in Kindergarten. He shows sings of disriptive behavior at home and school. I am taking him to get evaluated for adhd. He shows alot of agression. He can't seem to stay focased on one thing or sit still for very long. He gets mad at me easily when I say the no word. I try to make compromises with him and that never works. He is such a loving and smart little boy. He does excellent with his school work so his will to learn doesn't concern me . he can be very mean I have try everything to help him listenbut evryday is a constent struggle with him. Ilove my son very much I just want him to listen, stay focased and show me the same respect I show him."
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