TIPS! Developing Clear Rules and Expectations with Input from Children

Fall can bring new children to child care programs, making it a perfect time to allow children to help establish rules and expectations. When children are part of this process, they are more likely to follow the rules, understand expectations, and feel safe and comfortable in their environment.

Allowing children input when creating classroom expectations gives them a sense of ownership. They will have an, “I helped create that, so I can do that!” attitude. When children are part of the process, they may also show greater interest in helping others to follow guidelines and expectations. Creating rules in clear, positive terms fosters the child’s understanding of what is right, or positive behavior, rather than what is wrong, or disruptive behavior.

Rules and expectations can help set the tone for both adults and children alike, so it’s important for adults to serve as role models for the children and to also follow the rules. Be consistent with your program’s positive behavioral practices policy and reinforcing the rules. This will help the children predict consequences and outcomes, as well as encourage them to make positive behavioral choices.

Keep in mind that families may want to review your policies before enrolling their children. When a family enrolls their child, sharing your behavior policy helps parents understand how your program handles issues that may arise in a positive manner. Your positive behavioral policy should be clearly written in a way that families can understand. Does your policy describe how children are part of the process for developing the rules and expectations?

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