Problem Kids? Check the Environment!

Here’s a post that would be especially helpful for teachers… but parents, it will definitely help you too!  In class the other day, we were talking about the physical environment and how it affects children, especially infants and toddlers, and the subject of colours came up.

Colours. Do you get affected by colours?  Sure you do.  Look at this picture.  How does it make you feel?


Now look at this picture.  Do you feel any different?

kaleidoscope picture

This is why a sunset at the beach or a quiet afternoon in a park makes you feel so peaceful inside… and it’s also why you feel energetic (or even frenzied!) in a children’s gym or in a shopping centre during a holiday.

If colours can affect you this way, so much more for children.  They are powerful! Bold, bright colours tend to stimulate a child (too bold and too bright = overstimulation!), while pastel colours have the opposite effect.  This is one reason why many nurseries and baby accessories use pastel colours.

My lecturer at school recently pointed out a chain effect caused by colours that I wanted to highlight.  It’s very interesting.

Strong, bold colours can overstimulate the children. -> When they’re overstimulated, they are overactive. -> When they’re overactive, they cannot focus -> That is when we teachers tend to say, “Why are you all so naughty today?!”  -> And having decided that it is all due to their naughtiness, we decide that “it’s not us, so we can’t help it”, and we give up -> And that is when they really become naughty!

So the next time you wonder why the children in your class are so naughty, add the environment to your checklist.  Is their working space overstimulating?  It does affect them!

I’m by nature not a permissive person, and I don’t subscribe to the theory that children are born angels.  But I have learned something that has changed the way I handle children:  it does not help to be overhasty in deciding that children are misbehaving because they are naughty. It does pay to find out why first!  Sometimes, there are causes other than mischief.  Try it out, you’ll see what I mean. :)

Thank you for reading!  If this has helped you, feel free to share it!


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