How to Deal With Children With Behavior Problems in the Classroom

Teachers everywhere face problematic behavior from children even when they employ proper classroom management skills. Behavior problems can affect other students and limit a child’s ability to develop healthy friendships in the school environment. Patience is key when dealing with problematic behavior. Once you spot a child with behavioral problems, develop a behavior management plan that will help you assist the child without affecting other learners in the classroom.

Immediate Action

Address problematic behavior immediately. Talk to the child briefly about his behavior, and ask him to see you after the lesson to avoid interrupting the session. Use an authoritative tone without yelling and spend as little time as you can on the issue. Avoid wasting other learners’ time because of an individual.


Speak to the child after the class, and make him understand that you will not tolerate such behavior in the future. Explain to him the consequences of his behavior should he repeat it. In case there is a recurrence of the behavior, follow through with the consequences you spoke of earlier and make sure the student apologizes. You can also alert his parents or caregivers if the problem persists.

Positive Reinforcement

Encourage students in the classroom to behave appropriately by awarding proper classroom behavior. Recognize students who behave well and those who show an improvement in their behavior. Identify a positive behavioral trait in each child and spend time on a weekly or monthly basis commending positive behavior. 

Get to the Root of the Problem

Some problematic behaviors in the classroom can result from problems the child faces at home, for example, coming in late or sleeping in class. Spend time with such children and try to understand their home environment. Speak to parents and encourage them to help facilitate the child with an environment that helps them keep up with others in the classroom. Alternatively, some students may suffer from ailments that affect their behavior, for example, ADHD, which makes children hyperactive and less attentive. Understanding the cause of the problem helps you assist the child accordingly.

Get Help

Sometimes children’s behavior may get out of hand necessitating intervention from the school’s authority figures. Alert the principal or disciplinarian and let her deal with the student. Alternatively, if you suspect that the child suffers a behavioral disorder, alert the school’s counselor and the child’s caregiver to ensure he gets proper help. Accept that some situations may overwhelm you and ask for help whenever necessary.

Make Adjustments

Work with your class to create a conducive environment for each child. For example, move the class to an outdoor space; a change in environment excites children, allowing them to change their attitude towards the learning process. Alternatively, encourage students’ input when planning for classroom activities. Students are more likely to pay attention to activities they choose reducing their likelihood to misbehave.

Children with problematic behavior need your attention and help. Understand each child and work with them to help correct their behavior. The process may involve tough love but will benefit the child and other learners in your class.


Image source: Aberdeen News




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