Strategy 4: Offer children support as they learn about self-regulation

Topic Progress:

One of the most challenging struggles that I have daily is dealing with children who are aggressive toward other children, especially during the outdoor play portion of the program. When I observe a child hitting or pushing one of their peers, I immediately want to “jump-in” and deal with that child about the behavior being exhibited. I need to engage in “self-talk” when this happens so that I give each of the children an opportunity to work through the situation. It would be so much easier for me to tell the child that is being aggressive to stop that behavior. But, really is that teaching the child that is being aggressive and the child that is on the receiving end of the aggressive behaviour about self-regulation?  In these situations, I am learning to increase my observation and listening skills and look for the signs of when the behaviours are escalating to a point where children’s esteem or physical harm may occur. Those are my signals to step in.  Before, I would use the line “Tell J that you are sorry for pushing him”.  Over time, through reflection and continually learning about self-regulation and executive functioning skills, I realized that asking children to say that they are sorry is not conducive to developing self-regulation skills, nor does it allow children to develop communication skills about feelings, needs and behaviours. The more I learn about outdoor play and children’s development, the more I realize the importance of re-evaluating my ideas, philosophy and engagement with children.