To cope with poor behavior, have a child become be your helper.

There can be many different reasons why a child may struggle to be still and to focus and concentrate. No matter the underlying reason, if you are able to support them with improving in this area, your class flow and progress will be so much better.

Teaching movement is the area where I come across the challenging issue of lack of focus. So here are my top five tips for how you can manage movement classes positively with improved learning outcomes and more enjoyment for all.

1  Monitor behavior

Place those who are often restless in a spot where you can immediately see if they are losing focus. You can then quickly and simply draw them back in by saying their name. For example. I may say: “Are you ready, Jack?” or, “Oh wow, do you think you can do this, Sara?”.

It is important this is done in a way that is not calling them out for bad behavior, but rather calling them in to focus.

2  Keep those who struggle close

Children who struggle to learn new movement skills often require additional help and support. If you are doing a stationary activity place them nearby so that assisting them is more manageable. As an alternative, have an assistant to observe and help when needed.

3  Have your energetic children be helpers

Children who are energetic often have a negative impact on those around them without meaning to. Make them feel important and channel their energy positively by having them be your helpers or leaders. Praise them for doing a great job.

4  Giving instructions

When giving verbal instructions or demonstrating an activity to the whole group, place those whom you know struggle with retaining information in front. If needed, mention their name while explaining or demonstrating. When the activity is in progress, continually observe and give verbal prompts to those who need the extra support.

Be sure all children are listening and that those who need extra support know what they need to so.

5  Raise expectations with praise

Positive praise given in advance makes a world of difference to children who struggle. For example, at the start of a class I might say to a particular child: “I know you are going to do really well today.” or, “I cannot wait to see how well you will do this activity.”

This positive interaction gets you both on the right footing. Thereafter, ensure you notice and give praise to that child throughout the lesson.

This is also a good strategy to motivate the whole class.

With experience and time we all find our own way of teaching and coping with different personalities and situations. I hope that these suggestions will come in useful as you find your own methods.

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Let’s keep our kids moving!

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