Supporting Children's Behavior

With adult support, preschoolers are learning how to regulate their emotions, attention, and behaviors

Child and teacher high five and smile

At a Glance

Children are supported to manage their behavior when they know what to expect, their needs are met, and they are valued for who they are. Adults can help by establishing consistent routines and clear expectations. When they are aware of children’s needs, adults can meet them where they are and provide support. Then children can develop the skills they need to be aware of and manage their behavior. When adults focus on the behaviors that help children to succeed, they are more likely to occur. It is important for children to be actively engaged and have a say in their daily lives.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at how you can clearly communicate expectations and help preschoolers engage positively in the classroom

Reinforce Positive Behaviors

When children are displaying behaviors that you want to see, acknowledge the ways in which they are in control of their movement and behavior.

Use Cues to Transition

Cues help children know what to do without needing a lengthy verbal explanation. Use cues, such as songs or lights, to prompt or remind children about what they should be doing and how they should be doing it.

Support Following Expectations

When you provide clear expectations and routines, children know what to do and how to do it. When they follow these expectations and routines, positively reinforce their behaviors.

A teacher pointing at a schedule


Supporting Children's Behavior

Explore four research-based strategies for supporting positive behaviors in the classroom. Learn about the key elements that make these strategies work and see educators using them to help young children engage successfully in the classroom.


Supporting Families in Managing Behaviors

Dr. Rosemarie Allen from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations talks with two mothers about their experiences with school suspension.


Disrupting Implicit Racial Bias

This NPR segment describes research on preschool educators’ implicit racial biases and how it can cause them to expect more problem behavior from Black boys.


You Are a Lion

You Are a Lion, written and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, guides children through simple and relaxing animal yoga poses.

Front cover of the book You Are a Lion
Front cover of the book Listening to My Body


Listening to My Body

Listening to My Body, written by Gabi Garcia and illustrated by Ying Hui Tan, helps children practice calming down by noticing their bodies’ signals and feelings.

Activity Cards for Preschool Classrooms

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways you can help children to practice focusing their attention, movements, and behavior
Move and regulate


Encourage children to engage in various movements and “freeze” when you call out.


Kicking Goals

Practice concentration and coordination by passing and scoring goals.

Transitions with music

Drum Cues

Use musical cues to signal that it is time to transition and to help children stay on task.

breathe and move

Yoga: Animal Poses

Calm down by connecting movement with breath in an animal yoga flow.


Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of the Core Skills