Behavior Management: An Inspiring Idea

Most home daycare providers struggle with challenging behaviors that drive them nuts. It might be the pushing, the crying, the whining, or the tantrums.  No matter what type of behavior you are currently experiencing, there is a solution.  A solution that will bring a new perspective to the situation.  A solution that applies to any behavioral issue.  A solution that will make you and the child feel better about the behavior.  A solution that will work with any child.

If this solution sounds too good to be true, don’t worry, it isn’t.  Here is the down side.  It takes effort and it’s not easy. If you are up to the task, here is what you need to do.

You need to spend more time with that one child.

When a child’s behavior is challenging, it is because they are out of balance with themselves or with you.  The behavior is a red flag waving in the wind saying, ‘notice me, I need something.’ When you spend more time with the child you will need to focus on accomplishing a few tasks.

  • Find aspects of the child’s personality that you really enjoy.
  • Discover common activities or interests that you can do together or talk about.
  • Take the time to watch them play and interact with others.
  • Notice the choices they make and the emotions they experience during the day.
  • Wait for a time when you have shared a laugh with the child and then ask them if they know why they do the challenging behavior (if they are old enough to speak).
  • Ask them if there is anything you can do to help them when they experience the emotion that leads to the behavior.
  • Make a plan with them or by yourself to try to better meet their needs.

Everyone wants to be appreciated on a daily basis.  Time together will help you give genuine appreciation to the child. Genuine appreciation will make the child feel good about themselves and the relationship.  When the child values the relationship they have with you, they will behave in ways to support the relationship.  This will create a child who tries their best to behave up to your standards within their developmental capability.  If they can’t meet an expectation it is because they are not developmentally mature.  This is when you need to change your perspective on the situation.

Sometimes a child’s behavior will be categorized as challenging to one person but not another.  Reflect on the behavior that bothers you and ask yourself if it bothers anyone else.  If you were not in the room, would the behavior still need to stop? For example, a child who whines or has very little appetite can be a source of frustration for one person but not another.

The easiest behavior modification program is one that doesn’t include the child, just the caregiver!  Can you change your perspective or find a solution that makes you feel better?  Maybe your activity level or view about eating is at odds with the child’s natural constitution. Consider trying a few strategies that alters the way the behavior affects you, but doesn’t change the child.  You could decide that you are responsible for making healthy food for the child but they decide how much they will consume. Letting go of that responsibility will free you from focusing on the amount consumed.

If whining is hard for you to hear, let the child know that a whining voice hurts your ears. I would recommend responding to the child even though they are whining because often whining means they are hungry or tired.  Whining tends to become a habit.  You have spent extra time with the child, watched them play and noted the frequency and duration of the whining.  You made sure to meet their needs of rest and food.  Therefore, it is time for you to encourage a new behavior by commenting that whining hurts your ears.

When the child sees your facial expression change when you hear whining, you can explain that whining voices hurt your ears.  Don’t say anything else.  Let the child figure out how they can protect your ears with a change of behavior. If you have spent the time building a connection with that child, they will care about your welfare. They will want to see you happy.  Chances are, they will announce to other children who are whining to stop because it hurts your ears.

Tomorrow is the first day of the new solution.  Make it your mission to share a smile with that child at some point in the day.  Ask them their opinion on something and then really listen to the answer.  Enjoy the process and watch the challenging behavior slowly melt into the horizon.


  1. This website is very helpful! I am new at this and it has given me some encouragement!
    thank you

  2. I’ve had to learn a lot of this over time by reading a lot and trying different things with my very challenging son. this is probably the most helpful simply written explanation and advice for difficult behavior I have come across. And the hard work truly does payoff a lot of the time. It’s not easy to always give my son that much attention but it does go a long way with him!