Teachers use scaffolding techniques to support the expected behavior. These are often seen as contingent responses to a child’s signals about their emotional state. Below are some strategies teachers can use both planned and in the moment with groups or individual children to promote self-regulation.
 
Strategies to Use with Groups of Children:
 
  • Use the same verbal and nonverbal signals (e.g., clapping, lights, songs, pictures, bells) consistently before and during transitions or to signal specific behaviors (e.g., everyone quiet, hands up).
  • Minimize number and length of transitions; provide activities (songs, guessing games, etc.) during wait time.
  • Encourage self-monitoring and helping others during transitions.
  • Involve children in creating rules that address noise, movement, materials, and interactions with others.
  • Provide variety and choice within the day’s schedule (indoor vs. outdoor, active vs. passive, quiet vs. loud, teacher led vs. child directed).
  • Prepare children ahead of time for changes to routines or schedules.
  • Give clear, simple directions and only when you have children’s attention.
  • Use explanations and reasoning to communicate rules and standards.
  • Use Center Management Charts to limit the number of children participating in centers.
  • Play games that allow children to practice paying attention, waiting their turn, and modulating emotion (e.g., Simon Says, Red Light/Green Light, and Duck Duck Goose).
  • Discuss read alouds. Have children talk about characters’ feelings and behavior that could or did result.
  • Use puppets or role-playing to model feelings and behaviors that could result during specific situations, and have children help generate and discuss potential solutions.
  • Label your own and others’ feelings.
  • Discuss feelings that arise in certain situations and what situations make us feel certain ways.
  • When discussing feelings, focus on connections and differences between feelings and behaviors.
  • Teach songs and movements for expressing feelings.
  • Teach strategies for calming down (e.g., shaking out wiggles, deep breaths).
  • Keep pacing of group activities lively and introduce new materials to help children maintain attention.

Strategies to Use with Individual Children:

  • Give positive feedback (verbal and nonverbal) for appropriate behavior during transitions, for following rules, and for remembering routines.
  • Check in with a child as steps of a new routine are completed.
  • Respond promptly to requests for help.
  • Intervene immediately when behavior escalates.
  • Provide a quiet place in the classroom for children to go when they need time to calm down or relax before rejoining the group.
  • Use guidance, persuasion, and distraction rather than power assertion to redirect a child’s behavior.
  • Encourage children to express their emotions honestly as long as they do not hurt others.
  • Validate feelings but not inappropriate behaviors that result from them (e.g., "It’s ok to feel angry, but we need to use words instead of hitting; hitting hurts people.").
  • Ignore inappropriate attention-getting behavior when possible.
  • Focus on what a child should do, rather than not do.
  • Provide warm reassurance and support during emotionally challenging times (e.g., saying goodbye to family members, show and tell).