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26 CHAPTER 1 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Calming the Situation Young children are learning to understand and regulate their emotions. But this learning is a lifelong task, and they are just beginning. In fact, strong emotions such as anger are often overwhelming for children. Sometimes what children need most is some help stepping away from an emotional situa- tion so they can take a moment to calm down and reconsider the situation. For example, imagine that two children are arguing over the police hat in the dra- matic play (dress-up) area. Both children are upset and appear set on getting their own way. You might suggest, “Let’s put the hat away for a while and read a story together. Later, when we are feeling calmer and ready to play again, we can go back to the dress-up area.” Engaging Help Most of the time, strategies such as those described above are enough to decrease challenging behaviors and to guide children toward prosocial behav- iors. But sometimes problem behaviors persist or even worsen over time. When this happens, it is important to engage help from others: colleagues, families, and sometimes experts. Keep the following principles in mind as you guide children with persistent challenging behaviors: 88 Follow your program’s policies and consult your supervisor. It is essential to be aware of and follow your program’s policies for addressing persistent challenging behaviors. Knowing the policies will prevent you from promising something you cannot deliver or suggesting an action you cannot carry out. Your pro- gram’s policies should help you know when and how to involve families and when and how to involve your supervisor. You should also use your supervisor as a resource any time you are unsure how to handle a child’s behavior. Your supervisor can help you think through prevention techniques as well as strategies for responding to challenging behavior when it occurs or persists over time. 88 Document your observations. When children do not appear to be responding to typical guidance strategies, take notes. Write down what has happened as well as the strategies you’ve tried and the reaction. These notes will help you find patterns in the child’s behavior. Behavior patterns might suggest actions you could take COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL