Open, positive communication is essential to developing good relationships with parents and preschoolers, so if you have any concerns or questions about a preschooler’s behavior, it’s very important to communicate with his parents.
When working with the preschool age group, behavior problems are inevitable. Preschoolers are loud and boisterous, letting their little personalities out in the only way that they know how. They experience emotions very deeply and strongly, and they don’t always have the emotional and social tools to let them out effectively.
As a leader, it’s easy to get frustrated with the preschoolers in your group when they act out, but the most important thing to remember about working with children of this age is that the preschoolers are not their behavior. Just because a child has a rough day, or exhibits some behavior does not mean that he or she is “bad”. This is particularly important to remember when you’re communicating with the parents! No parent wants to hear that their preschooler is “bad” or that they’re displaying “bad behavior”, and they shouldn’t have to hear that!
When communicating with the parents about behavior, remember 3 things:
You wouldn’t want to be talked about in front of your peers, so try to find a time or spot away from other preschoolers and parents to discuss any concerns that you have.
The preschooler’s behavior was negative, not the preschooler! Always lift the preschooler up positively. Talk about the great things that you notice about him. Never use absolute words, like always or never. The preschooler’s behavior is not always a certain way. They go through phases!
Ask the parents questions, and ask if they have any questions for you. Maybe ask if there’s something you can do to make the environment more constructive for the preschooler, or if there’s something that you can do or say to help the preschooler in a “behavior issue” situation. The parents may have some great suggestions for keeping behavior problems to a minimum.
Behavior issues are a very real problem for leaders of a preschool age group. Preschoolers may not understand just how to express themselves yet, so outbursts and disobedience are common occurrences. These behavioral issues do not define the child! They are trying to learn who they are and how they can act in the world around them, and as a leader you get the great opportunity to help them do that.
Even if behavior issues do make you frustrated and angry, go back to the Fruits of the Spirit addressed in Galatians 5:22, love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Express your patience and self-control when dealing with any behavioral issues that arise, and express your gentleness and kindness when addressing the parents. They will respond with the same!
Kaitlyn Adams, Preschool Resource Team intern
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