Primary can be difficult and literally too long for some children. In response many children try to escape or get attention by acting out. There are some easy things to do to help these children and their teachers.
- Sometimes they might just need a short break. If children regularly get restless at a similar time, add an active song, a walk to the drinking fountain or a yoga stretch.
- In Sharing Time sit behind or with your class, assign seats; don’t be afraid to not allow certain behavior. I assure you children do not behave as badly in school as we allow them to in Primary.
- Have clear rules and apply them consistently.
- Remember that not all teachers are created equal. Some are much better at redirecting children, having well prepared and engaging lessons and being aware that a child is reaching his limit. If you have a class that is struggling, consider switching teachers around.
- Find someone in the ward who can act as a consultant. This person can observe a class and make helpful suggestions.
- Some children may need an individual aide who can sit with them and help them understand concepts, take them out for a break or help them sit quietly so the teacher can teach.
- The teacher should prepare engaging age-appropriate lessons that take the children’s needs into consideration. Stop for sensory breaks if needed, or have an active activity in the middle of your lesson, read short stories to younger children. Have clear and consistent rules and a routine they can depend upon.
- Make sure they aren’t misbehaving because of something physical. Make sure the child isn’t sick, that their shoes aren’t too small or that they need a drink but are unable to request help.
- Reinforce the behavior you want.
The University of Kentucky has created a short online behavioral therapy course that a teacher or leader could go through in a short amount of time that could help them understand antecedents to undesirable behavior and how to replace it with desirable behavior.
Understanding Behavior: An Interactive Tutorial “provides a basic introduction to the behavioral model. By understanding and applying the behavioral model, you will increase the likelihood of intervening successfully with problem behaviors.”