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Quick And Effective Behaviour Management Strategy


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I am in a nursery setting within a school! I am asking for help on behaviour management strategies in my setting when trying to gain children's attention.


Now that the children have attended the nursery for 1 term, they now seem to have found some new confidence and are testing the waters a bit by raising their voices, talking to each other during circle time and some general distracting of the group!


Each child's behaviour is not severe and usually they are angels, I dont just want to get into the habit of raising my vioce to try and get them to listen to the group- I have tried using hand signals such as hold my hand in the air and they copy me, but sometimes they see me and continue to talk to each other!!!



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Have you tried praiseing the children who are getting it right, young children usually want to please, my class respond well to me saying things like....I like the way that xxx is sitting and showing me that she is ready or xxx is looking at me and ready to get on etc...

usually it works as all the children want to be the one who is being praised. just be quick to respond if the chatterboxes suddenly do the right thing and praise them for being ready.


Sometimes it can be the length of time children have to wait for all children to come to the carpet so I usually d one of the following.....


a song that you sing and when it is finished everyone needs to be ready to listen, do copy patterns e.g. touch head then shoulders, tummy etc and the children to copy, do a count down fron 5 to 1 and once you get to zero all the children need to be ready to listen- although all of these take a little bit of training for the children to understand.


You just have to try different strategies and see what works for you.




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I don't know if this will suit you, but in my Reception class I have a set of wind chimes which I ring to gain attention. The children respond brilliantly most of the time but I occasionally have to get naggy! If I'm not near the chimes I will clap a rhythm and the children join in - once captured I can give my instructions! :o

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When I want my Reception children to be ready we sing this song:


!, 2, 3, 4 come and sit down on the floor


5, 6, 7, 8 hurry up and don't be late.


1, 2, 3, 4 is your bottom on the floor


5, 6, 7, 8 show me who is sitting straight?


Also sing - are you listening - reply - yes we are.

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We have a little toy dog who is sitting, with pricked up ears, he looks just like Fergus the farm dog hence his name. He sits next to me on a chair as a reminder to do GOOD SITTING, GOOD LOOKING, and GOOD LISTENING. The children make sure he is in place we remember what he is reminding us to do - What we are sitting on? Who we are listening to? Who we are looking at?

Fergus came from M&S but I don't think they sell them any more.

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Not reception but pre-school, however we find the following rhyme helps to focus attention and can be used at different times according to the need.

need I say Actions according to rhyme


Sometimes my hands are by my side

then behind my back they hide

i can wiggle my fingers too

wiggle them fast.... wiggle them slow

sometimes my hands go clap clap clap

and then I lay them in my lap

where they are as quiet as quiet can be

because its(circle time, story time, song time etc etc) now you see.


It works this year but failed last... does depend on the group as always.......



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I also use a quick rhyme;


I,ll shut my eyes ( I cover my eyes with my hands)


and count to three, When I open them i'd like to see,


legs crossed, arms folded, backs up straight.


Are you ready... 1, 2, 3,


then I open my eyes and look amazed, pleased at all the good sitting.


Sometimes if I can hear fidgeting etc I change the count to french

this gets their attention quite well.



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I've also used a rhyme, with actions


Open them, shut them

open them, shut them

give a little clap


open them, shut them

open them, shut them

put them in your lap


after explaining to the children that it is the signal to stop, look and listen etc! Usually works well although one year I had a NN who found it hilariously funny and it wasnt as easy!


I've also used the wriggle rhyme but found this was often abused (Reception) so dropped it in favour of above but it could work for you


I wriggle my fingers, I wriggle my toes

I wriggle my shoulders, I wriggle my nose

and now there are no more wriggles left in me

I will sit quiet as quiet can be!


Alternatively any song will usually do the trick and Ive made up songs to suit the need and vary the routine


Are you ready x3

yes I am


I am sitting quietly x3

as quiet as can be


etc etc

Good luck Amy.

Dont let them beat you!

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lots of lovely ideas as ever :D :D

I use this one to the tune of frera Jacques (so sorry I've no idea of to spell that first f word!! xD )


It goes like this


Active listeners, Active listeners

Eyes on me :o Ears on me

Are you listening carefully (or looking or sitting)

Are you looking at me

Eyes on me

Learn with me


it really works well eith my reception class and sometimes I only have to sing the first bit and they are there with me... I insisist that it is my song and that only I can sing it this way I have there attention (hard as they want to join in but we have other rhymes for that)


Like Lorna I also have a windchime to signal that I need there attention and they must put their hands up to show they are reacy to listen. I've found the quieter the chime the harder they have to listen... doesn't always work :( but on the whole they are quite good

hope this helps

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Peggy, Today I used the rhyme you posted - "I'll shut my eyes and count to three"....... . It worked!! They stopped chatting and when I opened my eyes they were all sitting very still and had huge smiles!!!! :):):):)


Sue J

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i have an extremely challenging yr 1 class most of the chidlren are fine but i have 5 with extreme behaviour who seem not to react to any adult direction. It means all adults and i feel that on most days i'm just keeping a lid on the behavorr, not addressing the isue and sometimes not getting much teaching done. Please advise, help/

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Thanks for letting me know, glad it worked for you. First time I did it I peeped, :o but the children know, so now I trust, and cover my eyes completly :D



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Thanx so much for the lovely ideas guys- I have tried the rhyme that glmaidment and the children loved it- I will be trying the rest of your ideas too! sometimes all they need is a change! Thanks :D

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We also have a talking Ted the only person who can talk is the person holding the bear. this works quite well with some reminding at the start of term, even staff have to wait a turn - quite good if you have adults who natter when you are trying to keep order.

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