Having disruptive behaviors within the classroom can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Using the Rhithm App to both support students displaying these behaviors and assist with your needs can help.
With a set amount of material to cover each day and schedules to follow, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to manage disruptive behaviors within the classroom. For older students, these may more commonly be: cell phone or laptop use, having side conversations, leaving the classroom without permission, or sleeping. For younger students, disruptive behavior may more commonly present as behavioral outbursts, talking out of turn, yelling, or acting silly.
It can be helpful to remember that disruptive behaviors can have a variety of underlying causes, such as nutritional deficits, poor sleep habits, a lack of social skills, under or over environmental stimulation, developmentally appropriate boundary testing, or greater mental health challenges, like anxiety, exposure to trauma, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Often, disruptive classroom behaviors stem from unmet needs.
Using the Rhithm essential check-in
Although some disruptive behaviors may be developmentally appropriate, they may also impact the learning of the student engaging in the behavior and the students around them. So, where and how do you get started in supporting your student?
Using the Rhithm Essential Wellness Check-In can help you begin to understand potential patterns for disruptive behaviors and underlying causes, and maybe most helpful, provide students with an in-the-moment intervention to aid their self-regulation.
For example, you might find that your older student who is always on their cell phone is consistently reporting feeling anxious, and to provide them additional coping skills, the Rhithm App provides a calming regulation video after their check-in, such as “Diaphragmatic Breathing”. Or, your younger student who is acting silly, may report having few social connections and first receive a regulation video, such as “Rainbow Breath” and later a social lesson video like “New Friends” or “Saying Hi”.
Using the Rhithm Essential Wellness Check-In consistently within your classroom can increase your classroom’s readiness to learn and overall regulation levels, including the management of disruptive behaviors. Check out the article The Neuroscience Behind Getting Into Rhithm, or view our Science of Rhithm videos, to learn more about how engaging in the Rhithm Essential Wellness Check-In helps rewire the brain for lasting regulation skills.
Many of our campuses encourage daily usage; others have found that using Rhithm three times a week is helpful for them. It is up to you and your individual campus or district to decide what is going to work best for your classroom. The below graph displays how increased usage correlates to higher tempo scores.
The graph above shows the relationship between completing more check-ins and higher tempo scores.
Additional Rhithm resources
Receiving an individualized regulation activity after their Rhithm Essential Wellness Check-In can have in-the-moment benefits and teach long-term self-regulation skills through habit formation. And as you know, students can display disruptive behaviors all throughout the day and may need additional support regulating. The Rhithm Toolkit is a helpful resource to provide students with the regulation skills they need, whenever they need them. The Rhithm Toolkit houses regulation and lesson videos to support a variety of student needs, and the search feature makes finding videos easy.
For disruptive behaviors, you can use the “Calm” filter to populate calming regulation activity videos, like “Beach Getaway” or “No Problem to Solve” Or, specifically search a keyword, such as “focus”, to receive videos like “Shake It Off” and “Brain Fog Jog” to regulate and reengage your student. Some students with disruptive behaviors may actually need to release energy, and a movement activity such as “Windmills” could be helpful.
More information on using the Rhithm Toolkit can be found here: The Rhithm Toolkit
Additionally, if you are a Hero Rhithm App member, the Teacher Tips resources can be a helpful tool in supporting your students with disruptive classroom behaviors. Informational videos like “Supporting Students with High Energy” or “Creating a Calming Corner” can be watched when convenient and helpful for you.
For all you do to support students with disruptive behaviors, it is important to remember your own feelings and needs. Managing disruptive behaviors can be physically and emotionally draining and finding ways to support yourself is key. The Rhithm Wellness Check-In allows teachers to take the check-in and ‘get into Rhithm’, providing you the space to reflect on your own needs and receive a video to support them, such as a brief relaxation video.
By tending to your own feelings and providing yourself some empathy and grace, you are also modeling healthy self-regulation skills to your students. This modeling and co-regulation skill can have lasting impacts on students with disruptive behaviors and on your whole classroom environment. To learn more about co-regulation, check out our article: Using Co-Regulation to Manage Anger.
There may be times when disruptive behaviors require more support in or outside of the classroom, as ongoing disruptive behaviors may be signs of a greater mental health need or learning disability. If you notice your student’s disruptive behavior is consistently impacting them academically, socially, or emotionally, you can speak to your school’s support staff or counselor.
When considering additional resources, it is important to keep in mind potential cultural differences between students. In some cultures and communities, large movements of expression, such as dancing, using an increased volume of speech, or desiring strong community connections, that may lead to side conversations or excessive talking, are culturally normative.
You can be developmentally and culturally mindful when supporting students in the moment or when referring them for additional support, by including your student and/or their family in the conversation when expressing your concerns around their needs.
We hope you find these strategies around supporting disruptive behaviors helpful. If you have any feedback or want additional tips, please do not hesitate to contact our support team to let us know!