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How Would You Handle This?


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Hi

Just wondered how you would handle the following:

 

Child is 4 yrs old in pre-chool every morning and school every afternoon. Behaviour gone down hill at pre-school in that will not do as asked eg sit down at circle time, come when asked to line up etc. Have appraoched her and said she must do as teacher says etc but she says no and runs away! Have told her to sit on chair for 4 mins and think about her unacceptable behaviour, what she should be doing etc etc...but refuses to sit on chair and runs round saying no....what would you do next?

 

Thanks

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Do you know if there are any problems at home as well, or in the school?

I've had this before and tried the stern ' do as you are told' thing, and like you found it didn't work well. The best way we found was treats - positive reinforcement of the good behaviour, and allowing her time on the computer when she had either earned a couple of stickers for being good or just generally been kind or helpful. I found it good to give her some responsibility - ooh 'Jane' you're such a big girl now, do you think you could be a star and help me with ....... whatever.

 

She perhaps thinks that cos she's going to school she's too grown up for you now and doesn't need to listen to what you say anymore. Might even (and this is a long shot) have overheard some disparaging remarks about preschool from the school staff?

 

Any help?

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Hi

Just wondered how you would handle the following:

 

Child is 4 yrs old in pre-chool every morning and school every afternoon. Behaviour gone down hill at pre-school in that will not do as asked eg sit down at circle time, come when asked to line up etc. Have appraoched her and said she must do as teacher says etc but she says no and runs away! Have told her to sit on chair for 4 mins and think about her unacceptable behaviour, what she should be doing etc etc...but refuses to sit on chair and runs round saying no....what would you do next?

 

Thanks

Hi there

 

My first reaction is to wonder why the child is in pre-school and school? Are the codes of behaviour the same in both settings (and are episodes of what you call inappropriate behaviour handled consistently by all the adults who are looking after her?).

 

You say her behaviour has deteriorated - which makes me wonder if she is tired, or bored (or both - it is a very long term after all), or if something else is going on in her life which might provide a clue. What is her behaviour like at home? (although I'm guesing she probably isn't under so much pressure to sit down, line up and listen to lots of grown ups at home!).

 

I'm wondering if she has become anxious about school/pre-school and is using these distraction techniques to avoid doing the things she feels uncomfortable with. After all if I could make my problems disappear by running around and saying 'no' to everyone, I think I'd do the same! She may just have got into the habit of behaving this way, and by the sounds of it she is getting good attention for her efforts. I'm not sure how useful 'timeout' is to children of this age, but it sounds as if she needs some good role models and clear boundaries for her behaviour. Clear language about what she is expected to do and why will help her understand what is expected of her, as will knowledge about what sanctions will be applied if she fails to do what she is being asked.

 

Catch her being good and praise her for it with specific language: "you're sitting beautifully" or "I'm really pleased at how well you've been listening" are good ways of providing feedback about her behaviour.

 

However it wouldn't hurt for your setting to review how long children are being expected to sit down, line up or wait for the grown ups to move onto the next part of the session: it may simply be that she is developmentally not ready to do any of these things for very long. We have recently made changes to the way we organise ourselves in terms of getting children to sit and wait for others to finish snack/line up before coming in or going out etc and we have noticed that children are much better behaved than before: perhaps as a result of feeling more in control of their time at pre-school.

 

A colleague I used to work with had a great knack of tempting children in when they were having trouble sitting down at circle time: she was so animated about what she was doing with the children who were sitting and listening that the child who was running around often couldn't help themselves but wander over to find out what was so exciting, or what the secret was.

 

I hope this is helpful - without knowing what you and your colleagues have been doing up until now it is hard to know what to say.

 

Behaviour management is a subject worthy of a whole book in itself - perhaps we should write one of our own! :o

 

Maz

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I have done as Maz said in the past with a child who constantly said No to everything...

 

I acknowledged their choice to say no.. by letting them know this was Ok by telling them... and that they should go and do their own task..

 

then with the others I was very animated, made it exciting, lots of praise for them and when found the child was actually engrossed from a distance then went very quiet and whispered making it into a small private game between us, The child was so curious that after a couple of times joined us after a short while and then willingly joined the group.

 

I have often said Ok don't sit down then go and find something else while I do this with others, and then taken no notice of the child .. sometimes it works, others not, but providing it is not dangerous for them found it a very useful way of dealing with a child who says No.

 

Could be that the two settings are not working for her, different rules, routines, people, environment, etc etc.. does not always work , annad she is tryiong to find her feet, asserting herself.

 

As said changes at home? or is it just school/pre-school changes...

 

we don't have a circle time as such, children join us if they wish, others go and play, over a week most join us majority of the time, story is usually fro a whole group at some stage during the session, and smaller group story at other times, children often ask for this small group, more cosy and more interest in them.

 

Inge

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This happens from time to time in our setting too - no surprise there! Sometimes its because the child is testing the boundaries in which case we stick to 'the 3 f's' (firm, fair and friendly). Whatever you decide, be consistent in the message you are giving the child (I'm preaching to the converted I know.) It's possible your child is getting mixed messages from outside the setting, or maybe he or she have become more aware of different boundaries in different settings and are trying to make sense of it all?

 

Sometimes this behaviour is attention seeking, especially if they save their outbursts for when there is a captive audience. Of course you already use ignoring tactics coupled with positive behaviour management as Maz has already said. We have recently had one child who was attention seeking like this, after a few weeks ignoring the behaviour and him missing out on his biscuit he soon came round to our way of thinking! Don't forget, it is very powerful when you 'big up' the children who are doing what they should be and the child who is not conforming and challenging you will take this message on board even if outwardly they don't appear to!

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Have you spoken with school, or asked Mum, has she settled in there yet, I'm guessing she started there in Septemeber?

Could she have any concerns about school? Do her peers attend two settings? Does she experience a clear 'end' to preschool and 'start' to school, or is she experiencing these times 'alone' ie: leaving preschool whilst others are staying, arriving at school whilst all others are already there. In other words could she be feeling a bit 'different', thus 'acting up' due to not having a sense of place durng this 'transition' period into full time school.

Is there something 'positive' that she could take from preschool to school that she can share with her school peers / teachers, to help with this transition time halfway through her day?

 

Another strategy I used to use was to give the child a choice but within the goal you require ie: sit down at circle time.

Announce circle to to everyone then ask (in an inviting yet assertive tone :o ) " Clare, who are you going to sit next to Tracy or Sarah" or "Come and join us, you can sit on the red cushion or blue cushion, which one are you going to choose?"

 

Peggy

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Hi

thanks for some good advice...

The child in question comes to pre-school every day, then has lunch at school followed by outside play followed by school in the afternoon. My son also does this as do 4 others. They will then start school full time after xmas. Mum is finding it difficult at the moment and i had a chat with the teacher this afternoon. Teacher says they are having some issues with her but not like we are. I think she is actually bored at pre-school. We have tried the helper route with the little ones etc and this works on occassion. We have tried the smiley faces in a book if you are good etc and praise for when she is doing good sitting etc it works for a while . I think there is only so much we can do . We do have good links with the school and teacher did say they are trying to get her to make friends at school as she seems to be a bit of a loner. All those children doing morning at pre and then school in afternoon are all boys except one girl who is a tom boy and wants to play with the boys. The other girls that are in her class are already in little groups. All she wants to do at school is sit down and colour. She very rarely wants to play with the others and this is apparently the same at school! She has a close relationship with her brother 1 year older and mum is due another baby soon so this could be the cause (although this was happening before). The dinner ladies at school are also having problems with her behaviour (and boy are they strict...they frighten me!).

 

The circle time is really only for register in the morning and final story when we need the children to be sat down as one staff has to tidy away tables, chairs etc. The lining up is really only to walk down to school for dinner and we have them in pairs so its nothing really too difficult or too long. As i said its when the other under 3yrs see her not lining up and not sitting that they start running around too which makes it difficult to handle.

 

The teacher at school did say that this maybe the first time that the pre-school and school ahve to get together to see what we can both do.

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I think you've identified some possible causes, and tried various strategies, which are working some of the time (which is the norm).

I'm guessing now that preschool is on the school site, which hopefully does actually help with transition. Maybe she is just finding it a bit difficult at the moment. With your further info, I'm more inclined to suggest taking a step back so to speak with the behaviour issues and just try to 'chill' and find all the ways to 'enjoy' her company for the last few weeks she is with you.

The other children can learn just because one child behaves in a certain way they don't have to follow, you can achieve this by praising their good standing in line etc (before they realise what this girl is doing and copy her :o ), as previously suggested.

 

Maybe with your liaison with school you can make a point of highlighting her 'good' points, and not be too focused on the problems which will, I am sure sort themselves out once the child is more settled in school.

As for the dinner ladies, this childs first adult relationship on entering the school, maybe they need some 'transition' training. xD

 

As she may be feeling a bit lonely, confused, insecure, suggest your staff give her a bit more attention through fun interactions during her sessions with you.

 

She may even be worried about 'leaving' preschool, just like the behaviour we often experience in preschool settings during the last term of summer prior to school transitions.

 

Ah bless, if I was at your preschool tomorrow I'd give her a hug just for being her. :(:(

 

Peggy

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Thanks Peggy

Some very wise words there! Im still finding my feet when it comes to this sort of thing. Its great to be able to come on here and get advice and different points of view.

 

 

Your welcome. :o

 

Peggy

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Hi all

Well things getting no better. I wasnt in yesterday and apparently they had visiting librarians who tried to coax her into joining in...but she didnt.

I went in today to help tidy up. The story session is split up into younger and older ones. She wouldnt do something the supervisor had asked and so supervisor told me to put her with the younger ones. I had to pick her up and carry her in there where she proceeded just to come back into the main room and still didnt behave. Supervisor said she had been the same all day. I must admit I do feel like its me being the "bad guy" all the time! I suppose I have never had experience of this. This is something I would expect of a younger child? I have tried to sit with her and reason and talk with her but she wont even look me in the eye just keeps saying no, want to go home etc and wont listen.

We also now know that she is playing and not mixing with other girls at school and to be honest at the pre-school all those her age are boys so this must be awful for her. School are trying to get her involved with the other girls.

Im at the stage I think of giving up. I dread to think what she is telling her mum about all this! Especially hard as my son is in the same cass as her and mum is also on the committee!

Any other words of wisdom or stratedgies?

Has anyone used star charts with children this age?

Or hould we just let her do what she wants to do?

Help!!!

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What is it exactly that is making you feel like the 'bad guy'?

Is it because it is you who always seems to be 'enforcing' the sanctions, or because you feel the expectations and therefore sanctions are;

a) not 'fair' appropriatte to her particular needs at this time, or

b ) because they are not working,

c) a bit of both or

d) another reason?

 

Why not ask the whole team to agree to ignore all her behaviours (unless they cause danger to herself or others) for a period of say a week. See how she responds to this, then reconsider, prioratise (spl) which behaviour is the most intolerable and deal with this, then the other behaviours on the list one at a time.

 

It is so hard because human nature makes it that misbehaviour is pre-empted even before it happens thus sending out 'tension' signals /atmosphere, even though very slight children pick up on this and behave accordingly, thus the very thought that she will misbehave at certain times becomes self fulfilling certainty. (if you see what I mean)

 

 

Peggy

 

p.s. Try not to worry about what others think, this you cannot control whatever you do. You are trying your best, that is what really counts. We can't pre-empt how children will react to transitions until they are 'in' them, an you can't change the fact that a transition is taking place so the best you can do is manage them with the childs needs and feelings as paramount, which is what you are trying to do.

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p.p.s. I personally don't believe in reward charts, I think that 'reward' or feeling of achievement should come 'from within' and that a child shouldn't modify their behaviour just for the purpose of 'getting a sticker'. What happens when the sticker isn't there for the reward, they haven't learnt social skills, they've learnt if I do what these particular aduls expect of me then these particluar adults will give me a sticker. I would also imagine that this child could soon even use this strategy to gain more power, I can imagine her saying "No, I don't want a sticker, I want to play and not sit down" (maybe not in such a formed sentence structure :o ).

The reward chart, some may say, is useful in the short term, just not my personal choice of method for behaviour modification. I must admit I'm also not a fan of physically removing children unless in the event of extreme danger. To me lifting a child to 'move' them from one place to another is an adult using their adult power overthe child. Although I fully understand you were 'instructed' to move her.

 

I had a child who would not come to any mat times, itbecame more of an issue each time we tried ALL the strategies to persuade her, she was of high intelegence/maturity for her age, and I actually liked her character of knowing her own mind, and voicing her rights to make her own choices. In the end we left her to do what she wanted to do, but within 'our' rule that she respected what others were doing and 'play' quietly so as not to disturb the others.

 

Younger ones at first wanted to join her, to copy, but their characters were different and they responded to a clear, no you join the group because in reality they were quite happy to join the group, they were just testing boundaries.

We didn't say to the older child she had to join us because others wanted to copy her, we treated them as individuals, the one with the strong sense of own choice/rights to choice was given the opportunities to follow her own play interest at story time, compared to the others who were easy going with what they did, ie happy to join the story.

 

When she did play seperate from story time she experienced some excellent 'play' she was very creative and would spend a long time creating small world scenario's models etc etc. Staff and some parents and some advisors only saw the defiance in her and not the quality of what she was actually choosing to do, they would question my eventual decision to 'leave her be'. In fact remember at the time I used her as an example to my students about the importance of considering individuals 'learning styles' and needs and choices. I did a whole day photographic observation of her play, away from 'group' routines and it was very insightful as to her level of play and how her time was totally worthy in an educational sense.

 

The above example may not be the same context as your child, especially if she has been complient before and this behaviour is 'new'. Again I'd just say have agreed 'needs appropriatte' expectations known to all staff, maybe to ALL 'lay off' a bit for a weeks period, then go from there.

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Peggy, beat me to it..

 

with a better reply than my.. leave her to play.. is it a battle really worth all the upset it is causing to everyone..

 

 

II do lok at what the whole thing is about, and why it is so wrong, and if it is really such an issue...

 

As Peggy has said, we too find with encouragement otehr children tend to stay

 

And as most on here know.. I too dislike sticker charts.. some of my reasoning is the same as Peggy.. but had an issue with my own child who was 'good and well behaved, never getting 'a sticker for it- turning into a monster.returning to good for brief moments . when he realised this was how everyone else had a sticker and he didnt! He was 4 at the time!

 

 

Inge

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Hi

Sorry for late reply been away for a while!

The reason why i think im the bad guy is it seems to me that its always me that enforces the actions the supervisor wants...hence she may think of me more this way! On Fri we did just let her go and do exactly what she wanted and it was a better day than of recent times! However I was concerned that she spent the majority of time on her own. I just really feel for her...she plays on her own as the other girls (and we dont have many!) are very young compared to her. The children her own age are all boys and they are too busy being superheroes to sit with her (she enjoys creative!). Plus with the older children they are really just left to get on with it.....too few staff (3) to cope with 18 children when 4 are under 3 yrs and same just turned 3yrs (all boys.....and you know my issues on staff already!).

I suppose its down to what the supevisor wants to do. I think the ignoring for a week stratedgy is something we should look at. Its a challenge!

Thanks.

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Some children really do enjoy their own company and may not show signs of making friends until they find someone of same 'mind' or who enjoys same pleasures. Often we have one who does not appear to have 'friends' with us, but on starting school will find someone, but usually this can take time.. Lots of games and encouragement of social interaction so they have the skills to make friends may help.

 

Inge

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Inge beat me to it.... xD

 

I was going to ask if she is an only child, as my son an only child (until in his teens when we formed a step family) was in some senses forward with his social development because he had learnt to enjoy his own company, as well as the company of his peers.

 

I looked back and re-read this;

She has a close relationship with her brother 1 year older and mum is due another baby soon so this could be the cause (although this was happening before).

 

Without being nosey, do you mean this child has expereinced mum being pregnant before? yet you don't mention a younger sibling. :o

 

 

The fact she has a close relationship with her brother shows that there shouldn't be too much concern about her 'social development'. Maybe as Inge says, she is just choosing her own company, maybe her way of dealing with her current transition experience. Remember the social stages, Solo play, looking on, parallel play, then paired through to complex co-operative. When we find ourselves in new social situations we go through these stages, all individually at different rates of speed. :(

 

I really do hope you find the laid back approach is successful for her, and dn't worry about the child seeing you as the 'bad guy', she knows you care. :(:(

 

Peggy

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I have a had a number of children over the years including my own son. who really didn't play with anyone else in playschool. I think this didn't stand out too much as they were well behaved and if asked to do something did it. They eventually made friends but it was certainly on their own terms and when they wanted too. My son has no lasting issues from this, so I wouldn't worry too much about this aspect of her behaviour. Oh also they weren't all only children or oldest children.

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I've just read all the posts and felt overwhelmed by people. This little girl needs time to be do her own thing. I know there are rules and routines but if you were her, with all the demands being made on you wouldn't you feel like telling everyone to bugger off? I know I would, I rather like my own company sometimes and can feel really aggreived if its intruded on. Like everyone else says, if she's not a danger to herself or anyone else, leave her to play alone.

Another thought, when she arrives each morning make sure no-one, even mom, says 'be good', 'dont behave like yesterday'. I know as adults we understand but she may just see it as nagging. She might want to draw a line under yesterdays behavioour but not be able to with constant reminders.

Dont worry about being the bad guy, children know the difference between someone who tells them off nad then plays from someone who just moans at them.

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Do you or your supervisor ask children to bring in their fav books for story time? Just on a rota basis? Or something interesting to show the other children at circle time?

We had a very challenging group last year, so bad i almost packed it all in in february. It was like a domino effect, 1 would misbehave and the others would follow suit fairly closely, dreadful time.

I found doing small group work, sometimes only 2 chn (well chosen) built friendships & encouraged partnerships which otherwise wouldn't have happened. Particulalrly difficult chn responded really well to me ringing in something new & different or telling them about something I'd seen or heard about, but in a really animated, over the top way.

 

In a previous year, we wrote our own book and illustrated it. if your little girl likes to draw perhaps you could get her to take ownership of writing a story for the younger chn and drawing the pictures to go with it. This project was a big turning point for a little boy who used to come to us & just went around roaring in everyone's faces, with the girls screamning their heads off & running away! It turned out to be a run down of what we did on a daily basis in a nutshell but incorporated things we don't like others doing & how we get them to stop.

Sorry waffled on a bit! Hope it helps

Sam

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