Tips for managing when your child is disruptive

Tips for managing when your child is disruptive

Children are disruptive. It’s a natural part of their childhood development. As parents or educators, we may try to “fix” their disruptive behaviour. Often, teaching children what is or isn’t acceptable works to ensure they are less disruptive. For some children, it doesn’t work quite as well. This applies to all children.

When children are disruptive, it’s not just about teaching them how not to be disruptive. It’s also about how you, the parent, guardian, and educator, deal with the situation; and how you manage yourself.

Building and maintaining strong relationships
It’s not just about building long term relationships. Children respond better when you put in the effort to maintain your relationship with them, on a daily basis. This means setting the mood and tone for the day with a morning greeting. As the day progresses, you will need to address the disruptions and then spend time mending the relationship. Remember that children feel hurt and isolated when they get reprimanded; when you don’t put in the time to address this, whatever you’ve accomplished may end up backfiring and the child ends up even more disruptive.

Even with your busy schedules, you can regularly check in with the child to see how they are doing, reassure them, and give them appropriate praise when they are proud of something they’ve done.

Often, children seek the attention and will get it any way they can. It’s up to you to ensure they get a positive interaction and positive attention.

Managing our emotions and actions
It’s important to point out how much our own emotions affect how we react and interact with disruptive children. A child who wants attention making a minor disruption may end up escalating to a major disruption if we react in the wrong way. Shouting and going straight to reprimand and punishment may be the wrong response when going over to the child and checking in with them could possibly resolve the issue rather quickly and without fuss.

We have to put in the time to get our own emotions in order throughout the day. We can’t expect children to behave but then we misbehave in our own way. We end up setting an example for the child to follow. If that is the case, think before we react or act, put ourselves in the child’s shoes and try to understand what it is they are really trying to say or want.

Whether you are dealing with your own child at home, or in the classroom environment, this applies equally. Check in with children, give them appropriate, positive attention, and manage your relationships throughout the day. Also be mindful of your own emotions and how you need to manage them. These will help in managing disruptions, at home or in the classroom.

CAE offers our 12-month Advanced Diploma in Special Education to train educators and parents in the identification, diagnosis and treatment of these needs and the basic principles and practices of effective teaching and learning. The programme is highly practice-oriented to ensure that what you learn in class can be applied to children with special needs under your charge.

The 6-month Diploma in Education (Special Needs) part-time programme provides an essential introduction to the various categories of exceptional children and educational programmes available. The course will also train you to confidently design and implement an Individualised Education Plan or IEP to aid in specific areas such as language and communications.


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