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Behaviour ! Help Needed!


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Hello,hope somebody can offer me some advice.As you may be aware I work in a private day nursery in Pre-School.There are two members of staff although some of the time I am alone in the room.We feel behaviour is becoming a big problem at the momemnt.We have a few children particularly boys who are boisterous and are hitti g a lot a few are swearing which isn't good!feels as though even though they do listen can be really hard at times them refusing to tidy up,eat and telling tales on eachother,hitting,even saying sometimes children are hitting them when they aren't.We have a time out chair we useto sit children out on as a last measurebut doesn't seem to be working.I have tried ignoring unwanted behaviour but others don't do this so mixed messages.on a course soon so that should help!!any advice would be appreciated thanks!!

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You need a behaviour managemnet policy that ALL staff agree to and stick with otherwise the children wont know what behaviour is acceptable on any given day. I dont agree with the time out chair and am of the firm opinion that bad behaviour is the fault of the adults. Rules and routines that are difficult to stick to, rules that differ from adult to adult. Are they being asked to tidy up when they are engaged in play? Do they really need to tidy up just to eat lunch or to go to the mat. I understand that rules are needed and toys have to be put away but sometimes I think if we were to stop and look at the real issues we'd have a much happier environment.

If tidying up is necessary do you give them a 5 minute warning that play will have to stop? It can help little minds to know whats next rather than have it sprung on them. The fighting is unacceptable but are there reasons for it that maybe havent been noted first? I feel some places I have been to are rather negative with the words stop, dont and no being used far too often. If you know for certain that the the child who says he's been hit actually hasnt, dont give attention to the story. For the ones who are hitting, ask them why they did it, was a good thing, how would it make them feel if it happened to them? Divert them with games etc. If they swear give them 'the look', but dont make an issue of it.

 

I'm also not sure of you being in the room on your own. How many children are you with? Have you got a way of contacting another adult if you need aid?

For any behaviour management to be effective you need firm boundaries that all the adults understand and I think sometimes we should look at exactly what we are asking the children to do. I've heard children being told off for things which in different circumstances arent wrong, if they throw toys give them bean bags and a bucket, if they fight give them a story line to follow to channel their boistrousness. Above all, be consistant. :o

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The most important thing has to be cooperation between the staff. Whatever your approach it has to be consistent.

 

Using praise loads whenever you catch one of them doing something good. It's really hard work to keep that one going but it does get through.

 

Individual sticker cards with a reward activity for getting ten stickers?

 

Be dissappointed by the behaviour not cross with the child.

 

More outdoor play if possible.

 

You are probably already doing all of these but just in case.

 

Good luck

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yes,i agree.however timeout is in our policy to ensure children know that they are doing wrong.also the mangement don't want othe children to go home sweaaring as parents will not be happy.Reward cards are a NO NO in our setting however stickers are rewarded ie for tidying up,beig kind,good listening etc!!

yes i agree bad behaviour is our fault to an extent. I personally do try to ignore bad behaviour to an extend but then children do need to know what they are doing is wrong- i can't really leave a child strangling another child.I do praise as much as possible-will have to work on being positive more with the children and praising thos with acceptable behaviour more-it is hard with boisterous children what do you do in your settings where children may show unwanted behaviour!!

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Just a thought.

 

Some of these kids must be nearly ready for school. Could it be that you need to re-think your activities? Do they need a bit more (or less) of a challenge.

 

Perhaps try some things you have not done before or at least not for a long time.

 

Maybe a big junk modelling project or a trip out? They would have to show you they could behave well enough to be trusted first of course.

 

Sometimes a change of focus helps.

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Usually a quiet chat about my dissappointment and a few questions about how it might feel to be on the recieving end does the trick.

 

I also use "what a shame we won't have time to do x because it took so long for us to tidy up".

 

Some music like Amarillo to tidy up to helps with motivation.

 

I am working with a little guy with behaviour issues and some self esteem activities do seem to be helping him. Try looking for SEAL resources on the DCSF website.

 

Wouldn't a magic wand be lovely.

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If a child is consistantly badly behaved I usually resort to ignoring his/her behaviour and at the same time find something really exciting to show or tell the others. The child who has done something bad usually stands and watches looking for a way in and thats when I invite them over with a really bright voice. The behaviour isnt mentioned I just involve them in the new activity. Children dont know how to manage their emotions so as adults we have to do it for them, diversionsary tatics, one to ones when ever possible, praise or a thumbs up.

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YES it is good advice!it is hard in practice may have to speak to others because mixed messages are going around -ignoring behaviour which is negative and praising positive is sound advice and yes-a new focus is needed -also giving attention to hrt children rather than the child who hits!! i hate myself for raising my voice and getting stressed by what theyare doing and i will look at these SEAL actvities definitely!!

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My youngest sons teacher was fab. I once spent an afternoon in her class and commented at how calm and quiet she stayed even when things got a bit loud. She said 'I decided to be a teacher to prove teachers could be nice'. When the children got loud she quietly said 'And stop'. It worked too. Another teacher I knew quietly shook a tamborine. When we get loud it causes us stress, the children pick up on it and get louder, knowing we've 'lost it'. Noise levels rise with everyone trying to be heard. Have you tried playing soothing music during the session? Calm classics, Motzart for meditation or Beethoven at bedtime were my favourites.

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Just to let you know I've moved this topic from 'Introduce yourself' to 'Nursery general issues' :o

 

 

Peggy

 

p.s. If you're not in a preschool let me know and I'll move it to a school forum

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Im just thinking about when we have bad session and everything goes pear shaped and what we do to get the behaviour back on track....(please forgive me iff I waffle)

 

Rea made a good point about warnings when tidying up I notice a big difference when I remember to tell the children they have 5 minutes before tidy up time compared with days when we are in a rush and just start to tidy up.it helps prevent confusion the childen know to expect tidy up time rather than a sudden shock of toys being taken away.

 

I know time out chairs are frowned upon but sometimes when a childs behaviour is totally unacceptable then something needs to be used to let the child know that bad behaviour has consequences , we tried the time out chair/naughty step but didnt have much sucess so after some research into time outs we made a quiet area out of sight for children to have time out I think the phrase "time out" does indicate a need to be out of the way, we call it quiet time and its important that iif you want time out to be effective then it needs to be carefully thought out before you start to do it. (it more than sitting on a chair for however many minutes they are old)

 

where you put the child for time out is very important, your time out needs to be away from the hussle and bussle main room in a privete quiet space where they are not on view to the other children and definately not a "shame" corner or chair on full view or somewhere the child can sit and watch the rest of the children play, dont use the book corner or other quiet activity area either, time out is different to a distraction activity they need to be in space where they can calm themselves down, without fidgetting with toys and books, (which can also become missiles!) also which ever member of staff took the child to the time out area and set the time out also needs to be the member of staff who goes to the child when they have calmed down, the child is not a boiled kettle that anyone can tend to and they need the consistency of the same member of staff dealing with the whole of the situation from start to finish (I dont mean always have the same member of staff deal with their behaviour but each event should be managed by one member of staff from start to finish.) it helps to let the child know that after the event that member of staff still cares about them. Time outs should be more for calming a child than as a punishment.

 

 

I would monitor the behaviour during the session and look at what the staff are doing as the behaviour deteriorates, I know in our setting it is usually a sign that the staff are too busy to play, typically just befor tidy up time when there are all the nappies to check the children tend to seize their moment and turn hyper and we really have to be on the ball at this time of the session or what might have been a perfect session can become bedlum in minutes as the staff change duties from engrossed with the children's play preparing for hometime making sure all the chores are done.

 

ask yourself if the children are bored, frustrated, emotional, or unwell and that might help you decide a couse of action to change the situation in general swapping the activities around can change the mood of the room sometimes the activities are the wrong level(too easy too hard) or there is not enough variety, have the children has a chance to physically let off steam? and have the children justt had their drink? all these things can drag even the best session down hill fast if not spotted and adjusted accordingly

 

.....ok ramble over ooops look at the time!

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i went on triple p training

the suggestions they give:

PRAISE as mentioned - therefore reinforcing the desired behaviour.

instead of saying don't ....throw, shout etc say lets be gentle, talk quietly. sometimes children need reminders what is expected of them.

give children warning - possibly a consequence NOT threats. try stay calm.

quiet time- child stays in the same room but no attention given.

time out as last resort - child taken into another room

 

maybe talk to their parents to find out what they do, what they recommend and see if this behaviour is a pattern. maybe look at strategies to follow at home and school so child can see you all working together.

 

children will test you to see what they can/cant get away with. the theory is hopefully once they know what is expected of them they wont have to go to time out or quiet time.

 

really hope this doesn't get you down as u can do it....

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also which ever member of staff took the child to the time out area and set the time out also needs to be the member of staff who goes to the child when they have calmed down, the child is not a boiled kettle that anyone can tend to and they need the consistency of the same member of staff dealing with the whole of the situation from start to finish (I dont mean always have the same member of staff deal with their behaviour but each event should be managed by one member of staff from start to finish.) it helps to let the child know that after the event that member of staff still cares about them.

 

At the same time, though, it often helps if it is a different member of staff from the one who the initial conflict has been with who deals with it as sometimes children's anger or embarrasment leads to more behaviour issues when the original member of staff is there. Also, when we're talking about severe, extreme behaviours, sometimes the original member of staff also needs time out to get over the incident. Sometimes and adult who wasn't directly involved can bemore dispassionate and objective in dealing with the situation, and the child doesn't have the same context with them that makes them want to continue the behaviour in order not to lose face etc. This does tend to be with more extreme behaviours, though.

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Hi eclmmcca

just wanted to give you a litle praise too as you have recognised that staff inconsistency is a big issue. I think once you have addressed that you should see big improvements.

As far as how I deal with behaviour goes - I never, ever raise my voice, I may change my tone to firm and serious but shouting is ineffective as it provides children with a negative atmosphere in which bad behaviour is far more likely to occur.

I also do not reward with stickers or charts - I do not feel that encouraging good behaviour to get a reward is effective as it does not teach children the value of good behaviour - to make ourselves feel good, to make others feel good. The reward should be a smile, a nice comment etc.

I also think it's useful to say to a child who is displaying an unwanted behaviour, "can you remember how gently you did that yesterday" "Can you remember how great you were at tidying up this morning" in a light and pleasant tone.By doing this you are not reminding the child of a negative behaviour you don't want repeating and you are also not demanding a certain behaviour from them but you are subtly getting them to feel positive which should encourage them to repeat the wanted behaviour so that they repeat the positive feelings and feedback they had from it.

I would also advise some planned activities for the boisterous/hitting children - using photo's of children getting hurt, crying, happily playing as a focus for discussion. I also had some advice from an O.T who gave me brilliant ideas for sensory play to help children who are often boisterous, overly physical with others, lack of concentration etc. for eg. wrapping up in heavy blanket/rug and playing 'sausage roll' (the child is the sausage and the other children push firmly on the rug to add ketchup, lightly for apple - the child in the blanket chooses what sort of pressure he likes by saying sauce or apple - we added lots of other types of touch and the child could make up their own fillings eg. tapping for mustard) this is a also a good activity to support children's developing awareness of touch, their own strength and the difference between gentle touch and touch that we don't like.

hope that's useful;

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I love the sausage roll activity, dcn.

 

What a fab way of focussing on how we use touch. Also good for emotional literacy when you talk bout how it felt.

 

That's definitely one to add to the list.

 

Thanks

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Can you feel some SEF coming on? I can't!

We will get 'removed' for getting off subject!

 

But no - not feeling remotely motivated - banking on the fact that we really shouldn't have a 'visit' until end of next year - how hard will I kick myself if they come earlier than anticipated!!!

 

Sunnyday

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The being disappointed really does work with nursery children.

 

About 2 cohorts of children ago a child in nursery did something (I can't actually remember what now!!) but anyway, whatever.... but one of her peers stood there hand on hips and said "MRS G......... IS GOING TO BE SO DISAPPOINTED WITH YOU"

 

Made me smile!!

 

I don't stand with my hands on my hips though I should hasten to add!!!!!!!!!!!

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We also comment

 

(childs name) had made me very sad, upset etc. which can work.

 

also use a quiet voice , ignoring behaviour, etc mantioned above.

 

I was also told that children often dont hear the first word you say , so a phrase like 'dont run' becomes run to them! so we used the childs name to begin any instructions given to get attention as well as it being the first word they hear.

 

Inge

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thanks for all thisadvice!it's very good!well today was quieter than usual so my plan was 2 be over positive!it really worked the ignoring bad behaviour as far as I could tell!!i dont know whether it was because there was less children!!for instance one child drew a picture for another child-the other child was like 'i don't want it'so i suggested for the child to give another child it' i then made a big fuss of how beautiful the picture was and how kind it was-the child who didn't want it soon wanted a picture

aldo ignored tantrums as much as possible and diverting children's tales to something exciting.Children who tidied up were able to choose the story which really worked .also the 5 minute rule worked well.

a good day all round but a bit more work to be done as there is inconsistency to behaviour for instance a child in our cae is toileting frequently and laughs whwn she does this-some staff ignore the behaviour others sit her out and the manager gives her a lot of attention for this.

i think being overly positive and ignoring behaviour which is negative but being firm is the way.definitely must do this sausage roll activitity.love my job so much though oooh the fun!! :o

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thanks for all thisadvice!it's very good!well today was quieter than usual so my plan was 2 be over positive!it really worked the ignoring bad behaviour as far as I could tell!!i dont know whether it was because there was less children!!for instance one child drew a picture for another child-the other child was like 'i don't want it'so i suggested for the child to give another child it' i then made a big fuss of how beautiful the picture was and how kind it was-the child who didn't want it soon wanted a picture

aldo ignored tantrums as much as possible and diverting children's tales to something exciting.Children who tidied up were able to choose the story which really worked .also the 5 minute rule worked well.

a good day all round but a bit more work to be done as there is inconsistency to behaviour for instance a child in our cae is toileting frequently and laughs whwn she does this-some staff ignore the behaviour others sit her out and the manager gives her a lot of attention for this.

i think being overly positive and ignoring behaviour which is negative but being firm is the way.definitely must do this sausage roll activitity.love my job so much though oooh the fun!! :o

well done you! you sound really positive and im glad you are loving your job again after your recent conflicts with management, keep it up!!!!

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have you tried some traking obs on the children that are causing the problem? it often will give you an insight to what is happening prior to the bad behaviour

 

i also feel that bad behaviour can come from being bored

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