Best Behavior Management Strategies for Daycare Teachers

Best Behavior Management Strategies for Daycare Teachers

As a daycare teacher, you know that managing the behavior of your students is a big part of your job. But what are the best ways to do this? There are a lot of different behavior management strategies out there, so it can be tough to know which ones to use. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!

In order to have a well-run daycare, it’s important to have a good daycare behavior management strategy in place for the children. This strategy should include a system of rewards and consequences for the children’s actions. It’s important to be consistent with this system so the children know what to expect.

A daycare behavior management strategy is important for several reasons. First, it helps create a safe and orderly environment for the children. Second, it helps prevent negative behaviors from occurring. Third, it provides consequences for bad behavior so the children learn how to behave properly. Finally, it helps to build positive relationships between the children and the staff.

In this article, we’ll share some of the best behavior management strategies for daycare teachers. We’ll also give you some tips on how to implement these strategies in your own classroom.

So whether you’re looking for new ideas or just want to brush up on your existing knowledge, read on for the best behavior management strategies for daycare teachers!


Top 5 Behavior Management Strategies for Daycare Teachers

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to behavior management, there are certain strategies that can be effective in managing the behavior of daycare students. Here are five of the most effective:


1. Set Clear Expectations for Behavior (Specific, Observable, Measurable)

When setting expectations for behavior, it’s essential to be as specific as possible. This means clearly defining what is expected of students in different situations. For example, a teacher might say, “Students will raise their hands and wait to be called on before speaking.”

Being observable also means the expectation can be measured. In the example above, the teacher can easily tell if a student is following the expectation by whether or not they raise their hand before speaking.

It’s also important for teachers to be consistent in their expectations for behavior. This means the same expectations should be applied in all situations, regardless of who is present or what the circumstances are.


2. Encourage Good Behavior With Praise and Positive Attention

Praise and positive attention are two of the most powerful behavior management strategies for daycare teachers. By using these techniques, teachers can effectively encourage good behavior in their students.

When praising a child, it’s important to be specific about what behavior you are praising, as all behavior is communication. For example, rather than simply saying “good job,” try “great job on staying in your seat during circle time!” This will help the child understand what he or she did that was praiseworthy.

It’s also important to make sure your praise is sincere. Children can sense when you are being insincere, and this can undermine the effectiveness of your praise.


3. Stay in Control With Rational Detachment

Rational detachment does not mean you don’t care about the children in your care. It simply means you are able to remain calm and objective when dealing with challenging behavior. This can be difficult to do, but it’s important to remember that children often feed off the emotions of those around them. If a teacher appears frazzled or upset, it’s likely that the children in their care will mirror these emotions.


4. Discourage Mild Misbehavior With Active Ignoring

This strategy is also called “selective ignoring.” When a child exhibits mild misbehavior, the teacher actively ignores the child while continuing to interact with other children in the class. The goal is to extinguish the behavior by making it non-reinforcing.

There are several things to keep in mind when using this strategy:

  • First, it’s important to have a clear definition of what behaviors warrant active ignoring. These should be unwanted behaviors that are not harmful and do not interfere with the learning of other students.
  • Second, it’s crucial to remain consistent with this strategy. Every time the target behavior occurs, the teacher must respond in the same way — by ignoring the child.
  • Third, it’s important to keep in mind that this strategy may not work immediately. It may take some time for the child to learn that the behavior is no longer reinforcing.


5. Establish and Enforce Effective Consequences

It’s vital for daycare teachers to establish and enforce effective consequences as a behavior management strategy. This will help ensure children are behaving appropriately and not engaging in disruptive or destructive behaviors.

There are a variety of consequences that can be used, and the most effective ones will be tailored to the individual child. Some common consequences you might use include:

  • Timeouts: This involves sending the child to a designated area for a period of time, such as two minutes per year of age. This is an effective consequence for younger children who need some time to calm down.
  • Loss of privileges: This may involve taking away something the child enjoys, such as TV time or playtime with friends. This is an effective consequence for older children who can understand that their behavior has led to a loss.

Behavior management in the classroom is essential for a positive and productive learning environment. The best behavior management strategies are proactive, consistent, and tailored to the individual child. Smartcare has developed a comprehensive online training program that provides teachers with everything they need to create a successful behavior management plan in their daycare classrooms.

With our help, you can establish clear expectations for your students and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you manage student behavior and create a positive learning environment for all!

How to Create the Best Daycare Forms | Smartcare Blog

How to Create the Best Daycare Forms | Smartcare Blog

Anyone in the daycare industry understands this fundamental truth: Daycare forms are critical to the success of any daycare business. After all, daycare is a heavily regulated industry, and the government conducts regular inspections of facilities to ensure that kids are safe and well-cared for. Therefore, you need these forms to comply with local, state, and federal regulations. Appropriate compliance often means having extensive information on hand and being easily accessible. It may not be fun, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary.

No parent enjoys filling out daycare forms. At the same time, you can’t make forms too complicated, cumbersome, or annoying. If the document is too complex, they may stop, leaving you without the critical information you need for your facility. You’ll have to call them to follow up, creating more work for yourself and your staff members.

What does this mean? You have to create daycare forms that are easy to understand, get the information you need, and can allow a busy parent or guardian to fill out the necessary information in a way that is quick and painless. Fortunately, there are plenty of templates you can use that help you get the information you need. Here’s a look at some of the best daycare forms you can use for your daycare room.

What The Best Daycare Forms Contain

Daycare forms can be a life saver when it comes to creating a schedule, adhering to government regulations, and ensuring that your daycare is a well-run operation. Fortunately, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, as various daycare forms are already available for your daycare room.

That being said, there are some best practices you should stick to when designing a daycare form. Here are some thoughts on what these forms should contain and what sources you should check out when it comes to their conten

Basic Information

There are certain pieces of information that all daycare forms should contain. Such info includes the name of the individual responsible and the activity itself. The schedule should also collect contact information for how to get in touch with one of the adults managing an activity, including a cell phone or room phone number.

Timing Information

It may seem like common sense, but keep in mind that a good daycare schedule should clearly contain a few pieces of timing information. It should collect information about when items occur, but it should also include a few other pieces of information. These include:

  • Location information: Where an event occurs, including what room.
  • Who is responsible for supervising or executing the location
  • Any exceptions to the activity, like what happens if outdoor activity is scheduled and it is raining.

Ensure Governmental Compliance

As anyone in the daycare industry knows, daycare is a heavily regulated field. Everything from staff ratios to equipment to paperwork is extensively monitored to protect the safety of the children being cared for. This ensures that the billions of dollars in government funds are being spent in a manner that authorities deem appropriate.

As such, you should ensure that any daycare forms or schedules you create comply with the regulations of any government agency that has oversight of your daycare rooms. If there are any questions regarding these forms, you should reach out to the agency or consult with an attorney if you have access to one.

Retention Policies

Forms may seem just good practice for your daycare. Still, it’s important to remember that there may be particular retention policies related to any daycare paperwork or forms you create. As such, don’t create a form, use it once, and then shred it. Doing so may even be illegal. This is because some government agencies may require you to retain documents for a specific time. As such, before disposing of any daycare forms, you should ensure you understand how long you are legally required to keep paperwork. You may be able to keep the paperwork in an electronic format. However, make sure you check with local authorities before making any decisions about when you can get rid of daycare forms or paperwork.

Track Forms To Kids

You should have an internal system that allows you to track what kid has filed out what form and if there is any paperwork from any of your children that you are missing. Many of these forms are not optional, and having certain forms for every kid is likely required by governmental authorities. As such, make sure you have a robust and easy-to-update system that allows you to create forms and track what paperwork you need from parents. This may include immunization information, emergency contact information, and more.

Download Free Daycare Form Templates

Are you looking for more assistance in creating your daycare forms, such as creating a daycare daily schedule template? At Smartcare, we can help. Visit our free daycare forms template, which will allow you to manage the schedule for your daycare room.

Creating Delightful Early Childhood Education Experiences

Creating Delightful Early Childhood Education Experiences

Do you remember your own delight when learning something new as a child? Then, doubling that delight when sharing memorable experiences with others? In our formative years, we are naturally curious and eager to discover the world around us. Now, as educators, we want to build on that enthusiasm to support children’s excitement about learning.

To create a healthy learning environment, keep this acronym in mind:


Think about your own setting and consider how well it measures up to these essential elements.


    • Adults willingly respond to children by listening, noticing, cueing, participating, and actively engaging with them. This interactivity should be multisensory and multifaceted. It begins with observation and includes reciprocal communication, both verbal and nonverbal. This ongoing “dance” between adults and young children fosters healthy growth and development.
    • A healthy ECE classroom is an equitable “community of learners” where all children are welcome, regardless of gender, sexuality, religion, socio-economic status, language, or abilities..

    • Caregivers and teachers strive to ensure that all children feel safe, secure, and loved. To achieve this, adults should willingly accept children’s feelings and expressions of emotion. Actions and words should demonstrate awareness, warmth, and sensitivity.
    • Children learn best when new input and experiences build on their current level of understanding; adults should link new content to what children are already familiar with. Whenever possible, use a theme-based approach to strengthen those connections, so that ideas, vocabulary, and experiences relate to each other.

    • Adults should build home-school partnerships that create bonds with families and children, aiming to overcome any barriers or biases, such as racial, cultural, socio-economic, or physical. It’s important to affirm that each child brings assets and strengths to a community of learners.

    • In a healthy ECE environment, adults and children accept others, respect differences, and appreciate each other. Courteous behavior is expected, in order to create and foster a safe, kind, and comforting place for learning

    • ECE settings should offer stimulating experiences that activate neural connections among various domains. Caregivers and teachers should aim to nurture children’s curiosity and encourage their motivation to learn more. New content tends to capture children’s interest (the “wow” factor), and something silly or unusual will often grab their attention.
    • Young children love to “get physical” and act things out, so hands-on, minds-on learning is optimal. Direct, concrete experiences enhance children’s cognitive growth, and socio-dramatic play engages children productively
    • Children will relive and rehearse past experiences to reinforce their understanding, and those moments become a springboard for more communication.

If you’re confident that you’ve established a healthy environment to nurture children’s development, you’re ready to focus on best practices for ECE. The following strategies can lead the way to “delightful” learning, ensuring that your setting sparkles with joy.

  • Plentiful play and conversation

    • “Play is a child’s work.” Through play, children learn to share, cooperate, collaborate, manage conflict, employ problem-solving skills, engage in self-talk and conversation, express emotions, use their imagination, and enjoy themselves. Given opportunities for interaction with appropriate materials and with others, children become happily immersed in these moments. Observe them, and you’ll notice how they harness their own background knowledge and apply skills to “make things work.” Through trial-and-error, young children refine their attempts for success with toys, equipment, and peer engagement. Whether it’s with puppets, child-sized kitchen tools, plastic ocean creatures, construction trucks, or costumes for dressing-up, children’s imaginations come alive as they dedicate brain power to figure out how to manipulate materials. At the same time, most young children will use language and verbal expressions that demonstrate developmental reasoning in action.
  • Lots of physical activity and movement

    • Young children need to be physically active. Their bodies are growing and changing rapidly as gross motor and fine motor skills develop and advance. Be respectful of their limitations for sitting still too long, and use movement as a “stress buster.” If you play simple listening games that call for physical response, such as “Simon Says,” you will have a captive audience eagerly applying auditory cues to win by following directions. In circle-time gatherings, review colors and basic vocabulary by calling out conditional statements that ask for responsive movement, such as “If you’re wearing a blue shirt, stand up.” It’s amazing how enthusiastically children will participate in anything that seems like a fun game with physical activity. Teach them the sign language alphabet and a few expressions with hand signs, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they catch on. For many young children, physical actions and reactions may be easier and more memorable than verbal communication. And, no matter what’s going on in a busy or noisy ECE setting, hand gestures and signs are readily recognizable.
  • Rich in rhythm and music

    • Children are naturally inclined to tune into patterns, and they love to identify and follow physical, visual, and acoustic patterns. Orderly arrangements are an essential ingredient of language, mathematics, and music, so supporting children’s abilities to recognize, discriminate, reproduce, and create patterns fosters cognitive growth. Starting with marching and clapping to music and then adding percussive instruments to practice patterns will help children improve their sense of rhythm and awareness of patterns. Nursery rhymes and short poems also boost listening skills and pattern recognition. Children can memorize the words and increase their self-confidence when reciting what they’ve learned during circle time or in small group activities.
    • Most children are music lovers who enjoy rhythmic melodies with repeating patterns, such as “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” and “The Eensy, Weensy Spider.” You can also add a simple melody to certain phrases or expressions to help children remember target vocabulary and concepts. For example, when working with colors, this poem about a favorite color can be set to a melody line: “Red is an apple; green is a tree; blue is the sky, and purple’s for me.” Of course, children always have great fun moving and touching body parts while singing the familiar “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” tune, or “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Musical experiences activate a specific part of the human brain, and music activities are beneficial for children’s cognitive development.
  • Early literacy engagement

    • Communication is the foundation of language and literacy, which in turn, serve as windows to the world around us. Young children need ample experiences with books to fuel their interest in the printed word. Adult-child interactions in the context of shared reading provide pleasurable stimulation and meaningful bonding. Appropriate literature selections with engaging visuals prompt children’s focused attention. Neurological connections are triggered as they look, listen, and make sense of what they see and hear. Often, children will want to experience the same stories over and over again, which can reinforce and expand rudimentary understanding of language and content.
    • Reading about what happens to others can also support social-emotional development. Children may see themselves in similar situations presented in stories and find comfort knowing how someone else responded. Learning to accept their own emotions as “okay” and discovering possible ways of handling those feelings is an essential aspect of healthy growth.
  • Open-ended opportunities and creative fun

    • Children thrive on routines and predictable structure, but they also need opportunities for open-ended discovery. In ECE settings, they should have access to materials that allow for free play and imaginative exploration, such as wooden blocks and shapes, interlocking blocks, stacking cups, balance scales, salt dough, eye droppers, water toys, a variety of containers, etc. They should also have ready access to materials for drawing and writing, such as washable markers, crayons, paper, easels, paintbrushes, and colorful paint. Those experiences build fine motor skills, as well as providing ways for children to express and record their own ideas for others to view. Adults should be available to talk to children about whatever they choose to do with these open-ended materials, as this promotes verbal exchanges and mutual sharing.
    • No doubt, you’ve had moments when children’s creativity has surprised you. You might agree that they can make just about anything interesting! That said, be sure to give young children time to “play” with their own imagination. They are “creative designers” at heart who enjoy putting things together or taking them apart to make something new or unusual. They are experts at dramatization who like to emulate what they’ve seen others do or heard others say, with their own personal twist. Applaud them for these creative efforts. Encourage them to be bold in creative expressions of their own design. You’ll be richly rewarded with genuine smiles that light up your ECE setting.

If you are interested in ECE consulting support for your program provided by Dr. Melissa King, please send your request to

About the author:


Dr. Melissa King has a Ph D. in science education and a Masters in linguistics. She is a professional consultant who supports learning programs for educators across the country and has worked as a director and content expert at non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. Dr. King has built online programs and multi-media products in the digital space for Pre-K- grade 12, including a Pre-school curriculum called EmbarK12. She has been a graduate instructor at the University of Virginia, George Mason University, and Kaplan University and recently developed online training modules for the CDA (Child Development Associate).