Traditional Washington STARS

Caregivers should respond to behaviors positively and respectfully. This module will discuss a variety of factors which may influence a child’s behavior and provide examples of appropriate ways that adults can respond to misbehavior.

Discussion Board Assignment

Assignment A

Tips and Ideas

Forum: Let's Share

How does your child care program handling biting in a "positive" way?

Discussion Board Assignment

Assignment B

Maggie's Scenario

Participate in the discussion board.


Discussion Board Assignment

Assignment C

Guidance Techniques

Participate in the discussion board.



A Basic Approach to Understanding Misbehavior

This course is designed to help participants identify a variety of factors which may influence a child’s behavior and develop strategies to work with children who exhibit challenging behaviors. 



Each child is a unique person with an individual pattern of timing and growth. Children have individual personalities, temperaments, learning styles, experiences, and family backgrounds. Caregivers need to keep individual differences in mind when planning activities for children.

This course is based on information on pages 71-83 in the Child Care Center Licensing Guidebook, 2nd ed. (2006). DEL-LC 2001 (x) 10/06.

Concepts covered:

  • Influences on a child’s behavior
    •  Individual family practices/culture
    • Inappropriate adult expectations
    • Environment
    • Developmental needs
    • Caregiver’s behavior
    • Child’s physical needs
  • Understanding and responding to mistaken behavior
  • Knowing the limits of your expertise
  • Behavior policy



Learning Outcomes


Goal 1:

Demonstrate knowledge of factors which may influence a child’s behavior.


Participants will be able to:

  • List ways that any of the following may influence a child’s behavior: developmental needs, caregiver behaviors, physical health, individual family practices/culture, inappropriate adult expectations, and environment.

Goal 2:

Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate responses to mistaken behavior.


Participants will be able to:

  • Recognize goals of mistaken behavior, and

  • Identify positive strategies to respond to a child’s mistaken behavior.

Goal 3:

Identify culturally relevant community resources to assist in working with a child who exhibits challenging mistaken behavior.


Participants will be able to:

  • List the address and phone number of at least five culturally relevant resources in their community, including the following: physicians, public health nurses, school district special services, mental health, Child Protective Services, special needs, others.




Recommended Resources


Clark, J. (1999). Time-in: When time-out isn’t working. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

Crary, E. (1984). Kids can cooperate: A practical guide to teaching problem solving. Seattle: Parenting Press.

Crary, E. (1979). Without spanking or spoiling: A practical approach to toddler and preschool guidance. Seattle: Parenting Press.

Kaiser, B., & Sklar Rasminsky, J. (2002). Challenging behavior in young children: Understanding, preventing, and responding effectively. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.

Kaiser, B., & Sklar Rasminsky, J. (2000). Meeting the challenge: Effective strategies for challenging behaviours in early childhood environments. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s, praise, and other bribes.

Kurcinka, M. (1992). Raising your spirited child: A guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, & energetic. New York: Harper Perennial Edition.

Nelson, J. (1981). Positive discipline. Fair Oaks, CA: Sunrise Press.

Nelson, J., Erwin, C., & Duffy, R. (1995). Positive discipline for preschoolers: For their early years – raising children who are responsible, respectful, and resourceful. Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing.

Tobin, L. (1998). What do you do with a child like this: Inside the lives of troubled children. Duluth, MN: Person Associates.

Available free of charge in English, Spanish, Khmer, and Vietnamese from:

Children’s Home Society of California, 1300 W. Fourth Street Los Angeles, CA 90017 * (213) 240-5900 * (213) 240-5945 * Fax

  • Appropriate Guidance Brochure
  • Managing Anger Brochure
  • When a Child Bites Brochure



Online Resources


For additional information on child development, we have provided links to optional resources and articles which you may choose to read and save on your computer. The links below may be for third-party websites. We do not control the content on third-party websites, which means that the web pages can be moved or changed at any time without our knowledge. We check the links below on a regular basis, however we are unable to guarantee that they will be functional at all times. If the link does not work, you can copy the title of the resource and paste it into Yahoo or Google to search for the location of the new page.

Articles/websites are for resource purposes only and are not necessarily the opinions of Successful Solutions or our trainers.


Website Links:


Developing Responsibility And Self Management In Young Children: Goals Of Positive Behavior Management

Disciplining the Young Child, UNH Cooperative Extension, 04/02

Winning Ways to Talk with Young Children, Univ. of Florida

Differences Between Praise and Encouragement

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning

Center for Evidence-Based Practice: Young Children with Challenging Behavior

California Tomorrow Early Childhood Education & School Readiness

The Center for the Study of Biracial Children

The Program for Infant / Toddler Care

Creative Diversity

Early Childhood Equity Alliance

National Black Child Development Institute




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