Behind Every Child Behavior, There is a Feeling

Behind Every Child Behavior, There is a Feeling

Challenging behavior in young children often triggers strong reactions in parents and caregivers. When parents feel angry, overwhelmed, frustrated or embarrassed, it can be difficult to figure out what is driving a young child’s actions. Sometimes a child may even seem to be trying to get a rise out of their parent! But behind every child’s behavior is a feeling that they’re experiencing, too. When parents and caregivers learn to recognize the feelings behind their children’s behaviors, parenting is easier. Also, the more parents understand about their children’s behaviors, the closer they feel to their children and the better they can express care and love to them. Children who feel cared for and loved develop stronger social-emotional skills like confidence and self-esteem, which make it easier for them to manage their emotions so they can do better in school and beyond. The behaviors babies and toddlers use to communicate with their parents and caregivers depend a lot on their age and development. Very young babies cry when they’re hungry, uncomfortable, or tired. As they get older, they learn to communicate using words, facial expressions, and gestures, too. By observing their children closely, and with a little practice, parents and caregivers can learn to translate the behavior they see—throwing food off a high-chair, for example, or having a tantrum when dropped off at child care. The effort to understand the feelings behind a child’s behavior can bring a parent and child closer, and help that parent teach their child the social-emotional skills they will need to learn and grow. But how do you know if a baby is crying at...
The Magic of Reading

The Magic of Reading

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” –Dr. Seuss National Read Across America Day, celebrated today on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, reminds us that reading with your child isn’t just about reading — it accomplishes a number of great things. When parents read with their child on a regular basis—daily is fantastic—not only are they supporting their child’s ability to develop strong reading skills, they’re strengthening the relationship between their child and the world around him. As a parents, some of your most valued moments have been reading aloud with your children. First, the more a young child is exposed to books and reading aloud from birth, the more they move towards an amazing shift in their understanding of the world around them. You see, a younger child may not understand that printed words are actually conveying information. They think a reader is telling stories just by looking at the pictures in the book. So when they start to recognize that words are not mere decoration, but are telling us something, they’re reaching a milestone we call “print awareness.” We may not remember that time ourselves because we were so young. But when a child is read to, they achieve that awareness earlier, and are better prepared for gaining even more information from books as a result. Reading is a loving, reciprocal, nurturing interaction with a caregiver — and those high-quality relationships are the most important thing that helps children develop and thrive. For families that may not have ever had a model for how to interact with young children,...
Back in the Habit: New Routines to Kick-Off the School Year

Back in the Habit: New Routines to Kick-Off the School Year

Summer is almost over, and that means one very important thing: back to school season has begun! In the next few weeks and months, families across the country will start preparing for a new year full of learning — both inside the classroom and beyond. For many families, this season marks the beginning of a brand new routine as their little ones get ready to start school for the very first time. The transition from summertime to school time can be difficult for parents, caregivers, and children. That’s why this week, we’re exploring ways to help ease the process and make the most of your back to school or child care routines. Research shows that simple, predictable routines can help children develop new, healthy habits that will help them start each day ready to learn and experience the world around them. For example, having a routine can help your baby learn self control as well as guide positive behavior. Make a School Year’s Resolution To empower parents with practical advice to support their child’s overall development, NBC News Education Nation is sharing a free Parent Toolkit so you can support the students in your life who are preparing to go back to school. Whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, another family member or even a teacher, you can help make a difference. Make a School Year’s Resolution with the Parent Toolkit community and be entered to win gift cards for back‐to‐school supplies. Share your School Year Resolution and join the community by visiting ParentToolkit.com.   Tip of the Week Sing lullabies with your baby every night. As part of encouraging consistent bedtime...
Managing Problem Behavior at Home

Managing Problem Behavior at Home

One of the biggest challenges parents face is managing difficult or defiant behavior on the part of children. Whether they’re refusing to put on their shoes, or throwing full-blown tantrums, you can find yourself at a loss for an effective way to respond. For parents at their wits end, behavioral therapy techiques can provide a roadmap to calmer, more consistent ways to manage problem behaviors and offers a chance to help children develop the skills they need to regulate their own behaviors.: ABC’s of behavior management To understand and respond effectively to problematic behavior, you have to think about what came before it, as well as what comes after it. There are three important aspects to any given behavior: Antecedents: preceding factors that make a behavior more or less likely to occur. Another, more familiar term for this is triggers.Learning and anticipating andecedents is an extremely helpful tool in PREVENTING misbehavior.   Behaviors: the specific actions you are trying to encourage or discourage.   Consequences: the results that naturally or logically follow a behavior. Consequences-positive or negative-affect the likelihood of a behavior recurring. And the more immediate the consequence, the more powerful it is. Define behaviors The first step in a good behavior management plan is to identify target behaviors. These behaviors should be specific (so everyone is clear on what is expected), observable, and measurable (so everyone can agree whether or not the behavior happened). An example of poorly defined behavior is “acting up,” or “being good.”  A well-defined behavior would be running around the room (bad) or or starting homework on time (good). Antecedents, the good and...
5 Facts Every Family Should Know

5 Facts Every Family Should Know

All behavior is a form of communication. Everybody communicates through behavior. An infant may cry when she is hungry or wet, just like an adult may yawn when he is bored at work. Adults and children are communicating something through their behavior during every moment in every day, even if they are not aware of it. A child’s problematic or inappropriate behavior is a sign that he is upset and that something is not right. There is always a reason for problem behavior. Children sometimes have trouble communicating, because they may not know the words to describe how they are feeling or what to do in a difficult situation. At these times, children may act out their feelings or needs. Thus children engage in challenging behavior for a reason. The purpose may be getting someone’s attention, stopping an activity they don’t like, or gaining sensory pleasure — but there is always a reason behind the behavior. There can be many reasons behind one specific behavior. Children with challenging behavior are sending adults the message that something is not right or that their needs are not being met. There could be many reasons for a single behavior, such as being hungry, scared, hurt, tired, bored, wet, sad or angry. Some children have a hard time knowing how to tell adults they are angry, so they act out in ways that get them into trouble. Other children may engage in behavior that seems destructive, because they enjoy the physical sensation, for example punching things or pulling threads from clothing. Sometimes children feel unsafe or out of control, so they take inappropriate...