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Intervention techniques that can be used with young children
(Part 1)

As the days, weeks, and years go by, we tend to use the same intervention techniques over and over again. After all, most of the time, they work well. Furthermore, using these techniques means we don't have to step out of our comfort zone.


In this article, I will suggest a dozen intervention techniques that may be used in a daycare setting. Certain techniques work best in specific situations. Others may work with certain children and not work at all with others. Of course, it is sometimes possible to use more than one technique at the same time.


Trial and error and smiling through it all will make your days spent with little ones enjoyable.


1. Letting the child choose between two option

  • This gives the child a sense of control over a situation.
  • It is important that you offer two options that you can live with, carry out, and respect.
  • Obviously, these two options must be selected or approved by you so that you maintain complete control.

2. Make sure the child experiences consequence

  • This empowers the child and gives him/her the opportunity to develop an understanding of cause and effect.
  • Consequences must have a direct link with the intervention and the inappropriate behavior.
  • Examples: A child who makes a tower built by another child fall down must help him/her rebuild it, a child who bites one of his/her peers can hold a wet washcloth on his/her victim's bite mark, etc.

3. Help the child recall his past personal experience

  • Preschoolers are egocentric and have difficulty putting themselves in another person's shoes.
  • Helping the child recall a similar situation he/she experienced in the past will help him/her understand the impact of his/her actions (in accordance with developmental stage).

4. Reduce tension

  • Provide the child with practical ways he/she can calm down.
  • In a playful fashion, encourage the child to take deep breaths, try a few simple yoga positions, manipulate modeling dough, look at a book, etc.

5. Provide outlets for frustration

  • This technique is usually quite efficient, especially with very young children (0 to 3 years old).
  • Encourage the child (or the entire group) to participate in an activity that involves significant energy expenditure.
  • Activities that involve getting dirty are also great for releasing tension and stress. This is also true for noisy activities such as exploring musical instruments.
  • Water games and modeling dough are excellent stress reducers.

6. Stopping the child in his "tracks"

  • This technique is mostly used in the case of an emergency, when immediate intervention is required. It is used when the health and safety of the other children (or the concerned child) are at risk.
  • It allows the early childhood educator to intervene before the child has the opportunity to use violence to get what he/she wants.
  • When possible, the child must be warned. For example, you can say, "Stop or I will stop you." Intervene immediately if necessary.

7. Intentional ignorance

  • The adult voluntarily ignores undesirable behavior that does not pose a danger.
  • Afterwards, the adult uses words to express the child's need for attention and offers more constructive ways for him/her to fulfill this need.
  • The early childhood educator reinforces positive behavior by offering compliments and congratulations.
  • This technique is often underestimated, mostly because, as educators, we feel as if we are doing nothing. Nonetheless, this technique can be very efficient for a wide range of situations.

8. Nonverbal intervention (use of a signal)

  • This intervention preserves the child's self-esteem since he/she is the only one who knows that the early childhood educator intervened.
  • It consists of using a discreet signal to stop bad behavior. This code reassures the child without bringing him/her down in front of the other children.

9. Visual contact

  • Visual contact can be developed over time, much like physical contact. Children do not all have a natural predisposition.
  • It is important to develop positive visual contact first. If visual contact is used solely to reprimand a child, he/she will tend to avoid visual contact in future situations.

10. Decode, recognize, and verbalize feeling

  • The early childhood educator uses words to express the child's feelings.
  • By naming different types of behavior, the early childhood educator helps the child understand his/her feelings. The child feels respected and understood.
  • This technique must be used repeatedly to help the child understand and identify the different feelings he/she may experience.

11. Interpretation

  • The early childhood educator states her interpretation of "why" the child behaved the way he/she did to help him/her better understand the feelings associated with the behavior.
  • This technique can be used when the situation is not too serious and does not pose a danger.
  • The early childhood educator may say, "I think that you (state behavior) because (provide your interpretation)."

12. Lots of love

  • This technique is used mostly after a series of undesirable behavior/situations in order to prevent future situations. It works best when the early childhood educator has consistently seen the undesirable behavior occur at specific times.
  • The early childhood educator simply showers the child with affection and attention, making use of kind words and gestures during precise periods throughout the day.
  • The child knows that he/she will be hugged and therefore feels reassured and loved.


Caroline Allard is not responsible for the content of this article. The information mentioned in this article is the responsibility of the author. shall not be held responsible for any litigation or issues resulting from this article.


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