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A Simple Approach to Knowing the WAC’s:  Behavior Management Policies

Developmentally Appropriate Expectations

Caregivers must understand developmental stages of growth in order to appropriately guide children’s behavior. Caregivers should not expect children to do things that they are not developmentally ready to do. Nor should children be scolded for behaviors that are normal for their age. Doing so forces children to fail, to feel badly about themselves, and/or to feel anger toward the caregiver. Inappropriate expectations also make managing a group of children considerably more difficult.  The following are examples of typical behaviors caregivers can expect to see in children of different ages.

Note: It is never appropriate to discipline or scold infants for their behavior.

Infants (1 to 12 month-olds) tend to:
  • Communicate their needs through crying

  • Drop things, often on purpose, and expect you to pick them up and give them back to them (this is often a game they enjoy)

  • Be messy (it is inappropriate to expect them to pick up after themselves or feed themselves neatly)

  • Want you pick them up and hold them a lot

  • Put everything within their reach in their mouths

  • Not understand verbal requests to stop what they are doing

  • Practice new skills and repeat new experiences with enthusiasm and perseverance. When they learn to bang things together, they bang everything! When they learn to crawl, they crawl everywhere!


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