04.02.04e - Child Guidance Procedures

Child Guidance Procedures Policy Number and Last Update

Make sure the classroom is set up so that children:

  • Can walk freely from one area to another as they play;
  • Find activities that are stimulating, orderly, and organized;
  • Are not over-stimulated by too many materials, too much clutter, color, or sound;
  • Are comfortable and secure;
  • Have ample open-ended, soothing daily activities (water table, play-dough, clay, easel-painting, etc.)

Make sure the schedule:

  • Allows 45 minutes to 1 hour of play outdoors;
  • Does not require children to sit still and listen for more than 5 minutes;
  • Follows predictable routines without down-time;
  • Includes large-group activities that are interesting, suitable for the children's ages and not meaningless to the children.

Post a list of a few simple, specific rules in the classroom, such as:

  • You may not hurt anyone;
  • You may not throw toys;
  • Put your toys away; and/or
  • You may not call each other names.


For Pre-School Children:

  • If a child misuses a toy, repeat the pertinent rule (e.g. "We can't splash water because it gets the floor wet." or "We can't throw toys because they could hit and hurt somebody."), remove the child immediately from area (water table, blocks, etc.) and tell him/her to find another area to play in.
  • If two children argue, first observe to give them a chance to work things out for themselves. If the argument escalates, intervene. Tell them, "Wait! Stop arguing. You need to solve this problem." Teach them some things to say such as "What can you do if you both want the same toy? Elena, you could say: 'Can I play with this now?' or 'Can I play with you?' and Cecelia, you could say: 'Not yet, but when I'm done.' or 'You can play with me if you be the baby'. Elena, what else can you do if you can't play with this toy right now? Can you play blocks for awhile and then come back? Can you ask Cecelia to bring you the toy when she is done?"
  • If children hurt others, tell them emphatically, "NO! You cannot hurt other people here and other people are not allowed to hurt you." Comfort the hurt child; acknowledge his/her feeling of being hurt. Get another teacher to help if necessary. Remove the first child to another part of the room; listen to his/her feelings and help them express their feelings. Briefly explain the consequences of his/her actions and tell them other ways to express anger, such as, when you are so angry, just say: "Leave me alone!", "I am so mad!", or "That's not fair!" etc.
  • If a child doesn't pick up his/her toys before leaving an area, get the child and return them to the area, and tell them to pick up the toys before he/she can do something else. He/She may need a little help to get started if there are so many, or he/she may need help completing a puzzle so it can be stored.
  • If a child disturbs the others, stands up, or interrupts the conversation during group-time:
    1. Allow him/her to walk about the room and play quietly;
    2. Let him/her look at a book or play with a small hand-toy;
    3. Sit next to him/her or hold on your lap;
    4. Bring him/her into the conversation by asking an open-ended question; or
    5. Ask him/her, and the whole group, if there is something else they would like to talk about.

For Infants & Toddlers:

  • Biting: Use a firm "No" and redirect the child to items safe to bite (biting is an age appropriate behavior up to the age of three). Staff should anticipate those who bite and shadow them to stop and/or prevent children from biting others. Use consistency.
  • Hitting: Use a firm "No" and redirect infants. For toddlers, restate the rules many, many times. Use short phrases to talk to the child about expressing strong feelings. Provide alternatives like play dough or pounding toys.
  • Temper Tantrums: Do not ignore the tantrum. Be emphatic and validate the child's feelings, but ensure the safety of the child and others. Assist child by holding him/her and calmly talking to him until he regains his self-control (e.g. "I know you are angry right now, but I will not let you hurt others or yourself.") Humming will also work in most cases. Afterwards, you may then focus on the reason. If the tantrum was for refusal to pick up toys, then once the child has regained control, the next task is to pick up the toys.
  • Not Taking Turns: Children this age should not be made to take turns with each other. At this age, they might be able to play with one other child. Have several of the same toys available for children to use, especially the most popular one.
  • Not Listening: Adults should not expect children this age to attend group stories or discussions. Read stories or sing with one to three children at a time.
  • Bad Language or Name-Calling: Adults should not expect the child to know this behavior is unacceptable. Ignore it. Children this age don't know what words mean and are just using words they have heard from others.