Negotiation Strategies to Support Misbehaving Children: The “Deal” Strategy

Purpose To negotiate behavioural changes with children, while developing an attitude of personal accountability for progressing the kindergarten program. Method The child is asked about their favourite fruit, the name of which is then used as a code for a deal on a behavioural change. The child becomes excited to share what their favourite fruit is, e.g. banana. When this child misbehaves, a negotiation process commences that entails asking them to demonstrate an improved behaviour. The agreement will then be known as the “Deal Banana”. Henceforth, calling out “Deal Banana” prompts the child to modify the behaviour specified in the “Deal Banana” agreement. Each deal is linked to a specific behavioural change by a specific child, e.g. “Deal watermelon” equals “child X not to throw rocks at others”. Results Children were excited about the strategy and started negotiating their own deals with peers. Furthermore, they held each other accountable for their actions and behaviours, by reminding each other of the deals they negotiated. Conclusion This “deal” strategy proved to be successful in managing children’s behaviours, while involving them in a negotiating process. Children felt they were given the choice to decide, and they indeed would decide to honour their deal and adhere to the negotiated behavioural plan. Furthermore, the strategy fostered a sense of collaboration and teamwork among the children, as they became more autonomous in collectively honouring the deals they negotiated, thus facilitating their daily routine and curricular activities.



Author Information
Mariana Boules, Australian Catholic University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2017
Stream: Curriculum research and development

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