Now and then I’m asked for positive guidance resources. I’m sure there are plenty out there (and if you know of them, please comment and fill us all in), but I have two that I usually recommend. These books are great reinforcements for those days when you need a second opinion!
Practical Solutions to Practically Every Problem by Steffen Saifer is a fantastic resource for teachers. I love this book! It offers suggestions for specific challenges (biting, defiance, separation, etc.) while also providing some fantastic suggestions for classroom organization, procedures, and setting a foundation of positive guidance. I love his approach to dealing with existing problems, but also recognizing that much can be done to prevent them before they arise (reaction/action). Topics are arranged in concise formats that can be copied and used as handouts for parents or teachers.
(The links above and below are to amazon.com where you can preview the books, but I also recommend checking half.com where you can get a great deal on used books – particularly manuals. I don’t get money from either – in case you were wondering!)
The other book I’ll often recommend is I Brake for Meltdowns, by Michelle Nicholasen and Barbara O’Neal. This book is written more for parents and is less clinical, but still addresses specific behaviors with a positive guidance-like approach. It is written by a mother along with a director of a preschool, so you do get a little bit of both worlds. The format is much more reader-friendly and conversational. I particularly like that while the book addresses specific behaviors, it gives several different approaches to responding to each behavior. Not every child responds in the same way to anything, so it’s nice to have a variety of solutions to choose from.
Now, as something of a caveat, I have to say that when dealing with any behavior, you must first know the child. These books offer some great ideas, but you have to know yourself and your own philosophy and you have to know the children you are dealing with and what they respond to. As my husband so brilliantly said, one night as I sat rocking our first son, after I had worked myself into a frenzy reading books by all the brightest (yet conflicting) minds on child rearing, “Sometimes you just have to put the books away, and listen to yourself.”
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