Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Positive Behavioral Practices Policy

All children need support as they learn to deal with different situations. Children learn through daily interactions and the positive guidance you offer. Your program's positive behavioral practices demonstrate the support and guidance you give to children every day. A written policy that describes these practices is one way to communicate to others how you promote positive behavior, take steps to avoid negative behaviors, and help children gain important social-emotional skills for meeting life's challenges.

a Caucasian boy piecing together two puzzle pieces
Positive Behavior Techniques for Challenging Situations

This section guides you through reviewing, revising, or creating a written policy that describes your program's positive behavioral practices. To meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Positive Guidance: DAP 3.2, your policy should include three specific positive guidance strategies: providing choices, redirection, clear rules and expectations.

Select the Requirements tab to learn about these positive guidance techniques and how to include them in your program’s written policy.

Requirements

Let's look at the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Positive Guidance: DAP 3.2. Key requirements are marked by a bright dot. Select each dot for information about what to include in your evidence.

Select the option that applies to your program type:

 

Child Care Center
DAP 3.2: Positive Guidance Staff uses positive behavioral supports and strategies with children that include providing choices, using redirection, and clear rules and expectations. Documentation to submit: Positive Behavioral Practices Policy

Family Child Care
DAP 3.2: Positive Guidance Staff uses positive behavioral supports and strategies with children that include providing choices, using redirection, and clear rules and expectations. Documentation to submit: Positive Behavioral Practices Policy

School-Age Only
DAP 3.2: Positive Guidance Staff uses positive behavioral supports and strategies with children that include providing choices, using redirection, and clear rules and expectations. Documentation to submit: Positive Behavioral Practices Policy

 

Instructions

To meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Positive Guidance: DAP 3.2, your written policy of positive behavioral practices should describe how you use these techniques with the children in your program:

The Policy or Statement Builder provides a step-by-step guide for creating your policy.






Positive Strategies

Your program’s policy for positive behavioral practices should contain positive strategies for addressing children's behavior. What do positive behavioral practices look like "in action"? This simple interactive activity helps you identify how proven and effective strategies can be incorporated into your program to support children's behavior.

Consider the following situation:

Michael is a four-year-old child in your program. His mother drops him off and starts to leave. Michael becomes visibly upset. He begins crying and yells “Nooooo, Mommy!” flailing his arms and legs.

Find out how these positive behavioral practices might work to support Michael’s transition into his day.

 

Option A: Providing Choices

Providing choices to children gives them opportunities to make decisions and guides their independence. Choices communicate to children that they have some control and responsibility, which helps to increase their interest, attention, participation, and overall engagement in daily activities.

Providing Choices in Action:

Present two activities you feel will help Michael transition into the day. Encourage him to choose the activity to start his day. Be prepared to make a choice for Michael you feel he will enjoy using kind supportive words like, “I think it will be fun for us to play with blocks this morning. Let’s build a tall tower together over here.”

Option B: Redirection

Redirection is a proactive method for responding to challenging behavior. This strategy gives children alternatives to a behavior that may be problematic in different situations. Redirection can be used to increase a child’s engagement and participation, or when the child is on the verge of losing control.

Redirection in Action:

Ask Michael to help you set the table for breakfast, or lead him to areas where other children are engaged in activities that interest Michael.

 





Providing Choices

Providing choices to children allows them to develop decision making skills, responsibility, and positive self-esteem. The sense of control children develop when you give them choices helps them make their own positive choices later. You can provide children with choices throughout the day as part of daily routines.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your written policy of positive behavioral practices describes in detail how children are offered choices throughout the day. It includes all occasions where children are offered choices.

 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

When you read your written policy, you can picture exactly how and when children have opportunities to make choices throughout the day. Ask someone to read your policy to see if they understand the policy as clearly as you do. Remember that families unfamiliar with your program will be reading your policy to learn more about your program, perhaps before enrolling their child.

 

Where can you learn more?

This article explores how providing choices to children works to empower them and improve behavior:

Using Choice and Preference to Promote Improved Behavior

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Redirection

Redirection is another proactive behavioral strategy that gives children positive alternatives to challenging situations and behaviors. There are four types of redirection:

    Verbal
    The adult gives simple directions that distract the child away from the challenging situation or behavior and guides the child to more appropriate alternatives.

    Physical
    The adult gives a simple direction with a gentle touch that interrupts the challenging behavior and guides the child to more appropriate choices.

    Uses Visual Cue
    The adult pairs a simple direction with a visual cue (picture or gesture) to prevent a behavior from occurring and guides the child to an alternative choice.

    Draws Attention
    The adult draws attention to examples of the positive behavior.

 

What does the documentation look like?

View the video to see the four types of redirection in action. Think about the ways you use redirection to guide the children in your program.

Redirecting Behavior
 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

When you read your written policy, you can picture exactly how children are guided and redirected before negative behaviors occur. Ask someone else to read your policy to see if they understand your policy.

 

Where can you learn more?

This article explains common strategies for guiding children's behavior in positive ways. See if you recognize any of the strategies as part of your daily interactions with children in your program.

Basic Tips Child Care Providers Can Use to Guide Children’s Behavior

Basic Tips Child Care Providers Can Use to Guide Children's Behavior - eXtension

Children need adults to teach, guide, and support them as they grow and learn. Child care providers play an important role in guiding children's behavior in positive, supportive, and age-appropriate ways. The most appropriate ways to guide behavior are different at different ages, depending on their developmental abilities and needs.






Clear Rules and Expectations

Rules help children and adults understand and meet the expectations of your setting. By stating rules and expectations in clear positive terms, children can target specific behaviors that help them follow rules and meet the expectations. The same rules and expectations apply for the adults who serve as models for the children. Be sure you are able to consistently reinforce the rules you establish so children can predict consequences and outcomes.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your policy of positive behavioral practices describes how you establish, model, and reinforce clear rules and expectations that guide children’s positive behavior. Your documentation can include a list of your rules and expectations as part of your policy.

 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

When you read your Positive Behavioral Practices Policy, the rules and expectations are written in clear and simple language.

 

Where can you learn more?

This module from The Iris Center at Vanderbilt University explains the importance of rules and expectations.

Understanding Behavior Expectations and Rules

IRIS | Page 2: Understanding Behavior Expectations and Rules

For most young children-that is, those ages three to five-school is a complex and novel setting. Educators should not simply assume that young children will intuitively understand the expectations of this new environment. Rather, early childhood teachers need to be prepared to support and promote appropriate behavior.

 





Policy or Statement Builder

This interactive helps you create a policy that describes your program's positive behavioral practices, including how you use providing choices, redirection, and clear rules and expectations to support the children in your program. You have the option of emailing your responses to yourself and editing your final policy before uploading it to the Maryland EXCELS System. You are encouraged to type your responses in full sentences to make it easier to edit your final policy.

 

Build-A-Policy: Positive Behavioral Practices

Final Touches

Give your written policy a final check as you prepare to upload it to the Maryland EXCELS System. You may find it helpful to ask someone to read your policy to make sure it clearly explains your program's positive behavioral practices and the many ways you support and guide children in your program.

 

Check to be sure your written policy includes:

 
 
 
 
 

Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system. (example: positive-behavior.docx)
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Typed electronic version of your written policy (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Scanned versions of your written policy (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)
    • Digital image of your written policy (examples: JPG, PNG, PDF)

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your documentation, look ahead and think about a plan for improvement.

 

Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Document

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate the document you saved on the computer
 

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

This chart gives you a quick glance at the requirements for DAP 3.3, DAP 3.4 and DAP 3.5. Perhaps you notice that you already use other positive behavioral practices that meet some of these requirements. If so, consider revising your statement to achieve a higher rating.

Positive Behavioral Supports Chart
 

Plan for Improvement

Set a goal to upload an updated policy within the coming months that includes a positive behavioral practice required at a higher quality rating. Upload any changes to your policy to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (DAP 3.2)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your written policy of positive behavioral practices.

screenshot of Maryland EXCELS upload screen with a comment box
Upload Documentation