Classroom Management: 5 Ways to Eliminate Disruptive Behavior in Kids Yoga Class
Disruptive behaviors are a fact of life for most children and are especially prevalent in children with ADHD and autism. Learning to control those behaviors is an ongoing and often frustrating process for them, their parents, teachers, and caregivers. Here are some tips to help correct disruptive behaviors in yoga class and at home.
- Communicate expectations: Children need to know what is expected of them. Talk to them. Tell them what appropriate behavior looks, sounds and feels like. Repeat often. This will make them more aware of their actions. I did this every time we went to the supermarket or ate at a restaurant with my little ones. The same is true for yoga class. Make sure your students know what is expected of them and when. Remember to make time for fun, noise and play.
- Teaching respect: The yoga concepts of ahimsa (nonviolence), brahmacarya (conservation) and caps (self-discipline) all relate to respect for oneself and others. Teach respect through conversations and stories. Praise children when they show respect. Remind them when they forget. Show respect in your own life, especially when dealing with a troublesome person. As tempting as it is, this is not the time to lose your cool. Practice Take 5 together as needed.
- Reward appropriate behavior: Add rewards. Disruptive children often only receive attention for their inappropriate behaviors. Instead, catch them being nice. Praise often by specifically mentioning what they are doing well. Choose an appropriately behaved child to be the teacher’s assistant in a pose/activity. Trade yoga ‘work’ for a yoga ‘reward’; if they can focus on the poses in class/meditation, they can play a yoga game/sing a song. I often reward my kids for good behavior with a trip to the pet store after running errands.
- Go ahead: Children thrive when they know what to expect. set consequences and always move on, even when it’s inconvenient or embarrassing. This may mean taking a child aside and reminding them of the expectations. Sometimes a calming hand, a whispered comment, or an assignment of responsibility will draw the child in and turn the negative into a positive. Some classes provide a quiet corner where children can go if they need some alone time or a break to breathe. If the negative behavior persists, ask the child to move away temporarily. Briefly discuss things away from prying eyes and ears, and then return to your normal activities, putting the incident behind you.
- practice patience: Remember that every child is growing and learning. They will overcome and learn to manage disruptive behaviors with time and consistency. Work on one behavior modification at a time. Stand your ground and keep expectations realistic (5 minutes of good behavior for many is a win). Set kids up for success, then celebrate those successes lavishly.