Managing behaviours – 5 top tips from First 5 Forever

Do you find managing behaviours during early literacy sessions a challenge? In a recent First 5 Forever webinar, Megan Scully from Sunshine Coast Libraries talks about how planning can help you tackle your next session with confidence.

All webinars are recorded. View the full presentation or read on for our quick summary.

Top tips from the webinar:

  1. Plan for engagement and interaction – when children are actively engaged and authentically involved they are less likely to be disruptive. Identify opportunities throughout the session for children to ask and answer questions, participate in the story sharing and get active through action rhymes and songs.
  2. Use name tags – it is so much easier to address challenging behaviours or disruptions if you can refer to a child by name. Sticky labels can be written as families arrive. It is a great time to have a chat with children and caregivers and connect on a more individual level. With larger groups you can encourage families to write a name tag for their child. This allows you to include all children easily by referring to them by name rather than pointing across a group.
  3. Recognise different approaches to learning – all children learn differently and look different when they are taking information in. Visual learners like to be right up close to the book to take in all the details. They don’t mean to block the view of others when they stand in front of the book! Auditory learners often talk to learn, so they’ll be asking questions of you as they listen. These children don’t interrupt to be rude. They are excited about what you are sharing. Kinesthetic learners have to move or touch things when they are learning. If they are walking around or playing with things in their hands they are still listening to what you are saying.
  4. Prepare and resource the space for families – little ones need space and opportunity to move around. Does your space allow for these opportunities? Are there books, puppets, toys etc for children to interact with while they are engaged in the session? Can parents and caregivers comfortably sit and engage with their children? The closer adults are to their little ones, the more likely they are to engage with them, or assist with any challenging behaviours.
  5. Be responsive to the cues from the group – what are children and families needing? Remember to look up and out from the stories you are sharing. It is ok to stop reading if the group have disengaged. Switch to an action rhyme or song to get everyone up and moving. Ask questions that actively invite children to be involved. Use puppets to do a retell of a familiar story, asking children to assist.

Be proactive: set your expectations clearly from the start of your session. For example, invite parents and caregivers to sit with their children. Be confident in managing children’s behaviours during the session and name and explain what you need children and adults to do. Eg.“I need all the children to go and get their grown up. Hold their hands as we do the Hokey Pokey together”. You are the facilitator of the session so it is your role to guide children’s engagement and respond to their interactions.

Look out for the next webinar in the First 5 Forever series. For all upcoming First 5 Forever professional development, access the PL Connect training calendar.