Anonymous asks:

How can I control an unrulying class of 3 year olds?

I have a class with a few behavioral problems. The children are usually loud but when I ask some of them what the rules are in the classroom, they can tell me. I have a few children that I have to get on constantly about asking them to do things like clean up their centers they are playing in. I tried to bribe them or take away items from them but it doesn't matter to them. During nap is the hardest, because wherever their cots are placed, the whole room is in ciaos for the whole nap time. Out of 16 kids, only probably a good 3 or 4 would lay down and rest.
In Topics: Motivation and achievement at school, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 24, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like you need more support in the classroom. Sixteen 3 year-old children and one provider is too high of a ratio. For children this age there needs to be closer to one adult to every 4-5 children for proper supervision. There are legal standards which also need to be followed and hopefully your center is aware of these laws.

Please talk to your supervisor about the chaos you are experiencing and ask for additional assistance. For more tips on how to work with 3 year-olds, we suggest the book: "Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Preschoolers." This discusses child development and how to reward and give appropriate consequences to preschool aged children. You may find this book and more ideas on our website:

We wish you all the best and hope you are able to find the support you need.


Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
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Additional Answers (1)

graham writes:
It sounds like you might need some help in the classroom, 16 to 1 is asking a lot from you. Do you have a boss or someone who can help? If you could remove some of the most out of control kids from the room during nap time, you might be able to get the rest under control. Do you have someone who could look after some kids during these periods?

Assuming that extra help is not an option... sounds like you need to pick and choose your battles. Try picking one thing that they are doing wrong to focus on, and discuss it with the child and the parents. I wouldn't suggest bribes as they may come to expect it, and only behave for rewards. Denying toys or privileges should only be done when you know you can follow through with it. Kids are experts at getting what they want.

Another suggestion, after talking to a preschool/early childhood expert:

Try making up a 'special job' for a few of the problem children. Just tell the child individually that you have a special job for them, something that they can help you with (eg: bringing you all the paintbrushes so you can clean them). Thank them when they do it, and tell them it was very helpful, and why it was helpful. This helps create a bond between you and the child, gives them a positive reinforcement unrelated to his/her usual bad behavior actions, and breaks the bad behavior cycle. Hopefully with this improved bond the child will care more about what you say and your authority. It also helps them to focus on one thing, and hopefully do it. You should try to coordinate this with nap time, or other times when they are being disruptive to allow the other children to settle down, or focus on what they should be doing.

Hope this helps! Classroom management is tough.
> 60 days ago

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