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I have a little girl with me who will be 3 in May. She is finding being around other children quite challenging. Parents have raised their concerns and Although I know she's only little I feel she does need additional support from me in this area. She doesnt like other children being in her space or touching her and finds it very difficult to tolerate - although she is very tactile herself and likes to sit close to adults, touching and stroking them. She is inconsistent in her responses to children - sometimes seeming scared of them sometimes being hostile towards their attempts at being friendly - eg. shouting "NO" fiercely or pushing them away. I'm a small childminding setting and at the moment the children are all still behaving in a freindly way to her but I worry that if they keep getting a negative response they will stop trying.

She loves stories and small world play so I've chosen lots of stories about emotions and being a kind friend, I also join in her imaginary play and support her when she acts out her experiences - eg. being scared of going to the doctor. I have selected a child who I think would be a good pairing and would like to have soem more ideas of the sorts of games that I could plan fir them to do together to support her in developing a positive relationship with her peers.

Would be really grateful for some new ideas to try :o

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Hi,

 

This can be quite challenging, I know!! What you are doing sounds great - if you've found a friend for the child it's good. I would sort of wait to let them establish the friendship, then perhaps encourage imaginative play - lots of talk, collaborative play and sharing - she is still very young!

 

Please let us know how it goes :o

 

Sue

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Thanks Sue

it's going pretty badly, I feel like lying down in a dark room after the sessions - I feel like she needs my support 100 percent of the time, I find it hard to make any focused observations on any of the children when she's here. She wants to direct and lead the play completely and have me at her beck and call so the quality of the experiences planned to meet the needs and interests of the other children feel spoiled by her constant interruptions and demands. When following her interests the constant negative responses to other children who try to join are really draining.

I suppose these are some of the challenges of being a childminding setting - i feel sad that one child is affecting the experiences of the others in this way

I know everyone has to deal with behaviour that challenges them I just find it really hard to switch off at the end of the day

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Do you need to get tough with her? Is she demanding your attention all the time rather than playing with her peers? She might just need to know that its ok for you and her to play seperatly and that the other children have just the same right to demand your attention. She sounds like an only child who has always had her parents/family around her? so playing with children her own age might not come so naturally to her. Once she knows she has to play either with them or alone for at least small amounts of time, maybe while you change anothers nappy, or prepare a meal, then she might be more willing to play alongside if not actually with the others. The home corner is usually a good place for chatting and interactions, you could pair her with the other child and slowly move away over time, to do other things, but go back regulary at first. Could you give her and the other child jobs to do together? Polish the dolls house, count all the cotton reels for you? Anything really that gets her a reward (I only mean a thumbs up or a smile) for spending time away from you.

It must be difficult in a CM environment, theres just you isnt there? Enjoy your lie down in a dark room :o

 

That wasnt meant to sound harsh by the way. I'm not an monster, honest.

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That wasnt meant to sound harsh by the way. I'm not an monster, honest.

 

it didn't sound harsh at all - reassuring actually

i like the idea of getting them to share a job - not expecting too much of her socially, as you're right this is all very new to her - just to feel comfortable about being alongside another child

 

thanks

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Oh dcn - I SO know where you're coming from! Exhausting to be "the one" all the time isn't it?- a definite downside to childminding!

 

Sounds like you're doing the right things and Rea has offered some good advice, too.

 

I wonder if you'd benefit from a spare pair of hands when this child is with you? When I was pulling my hair out last year, an experienced Nursery Nurse put me in touch with a level 3 student, in her final year, looking for a placement. She was brilliant!

 

The college tutor visited before she started, the Childminding Network provided the Induction Pack and the lovely student provided an extra pair of hands, a distraction when the child in question was at their most demanding and, perhaps most importantly, a second opinion when I doubted myself! She did separate obs, picked up the same things I had, ran them past her Tutor for extra advice and took part in meetings with the Early Years support team when they came to take an informal look. (She even knew when to step in and put the kettle on! :o )

 

I'd highly recommend it - in fact I've got another student starting after halfterm and another in June xD I'd always thought it would be more trouble than it was worth but was glad to be proved wrong!

 

Nona

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If she has a problem tolerating other children being in close proximity to her, perhaps you could try and engineer some game or activity that you can set up quite formally - maybe a table top game or creative activity where they sit on opposite sides of the table. This would enable her to enjoy an activity with other children nearby, whilsl protecting her personal space. It might also help her to understand that you are there for all the children, and not just for her.

 

Is she tactile defensive in other situations too? Although if she is happy to initiate physical contact with adults then that might suggest a control issue because she obviously can't control how other children use touch to gain attention or make friends etc. That could be pretty overwhelming for a small child to contend with and might explain her treatment of the other children, even if sometimes she appears to want to seek out their company too. Its a bit like wanting something but not being too sure of how to get it.

 

I agree with Rea about being firm - if she is demanding attention from you and you're talking with another child then there is no harm in letting her know that you'll be with her when you've finished talking to the other child etc. Maybe its just part of the normal process of learning all about delayed gratification.

 

I agree with you that being a lone practitioner can make these situations very difficult to deal with because you can't walk away and ask a colleague to take over when the going gets tough.

 

I'll be interested to hear how things proceed!

 

Maz

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Thanks Nona - I did used to have Norland nannies on placement with me for a year but they have more placements than students this year so haven't had one this term, but i was thinking that would help.

 

Thanks Happymaz - you're right I think it is a control thing, she is very used to leading on everything at home, there are good boundaries in place for behaviour at home so that isn't new, but she doesn't respond well to them with me.

This week I made jam tarts - she chose not to and insisted on saying "come on" whilst I continued the activity with the other children,it was distracting but I suppose it will help her learn that I am here to support everybody.

I like the idea of setting up a game with a barrier - my Ikea banana/moon comes in really handy for that.

This week I also gave her somewhere special to put her chosen toys from the dolls house and this seemed to make it easier for her to tolerate playing next to another child as her fear that her toys would be taken lessened

 

She is a little tactile defensive - likes touching me a lot but doesn't like messy activities

 

Another query - at home parents have said they often ignore when she is doing something she shouldnt - Although I think this is a good technique when you are 1:1 with a child, I feel that I have to be clear about what is acceptable and what is not in my home and in front of the other children who aware of the boundaries but may join in if another child is doing something and not being asked to stop eg. throwing a toy, shouting, being unkind etc. I can't ignore that, can I?

eg. In the car she began rubbing her feet on the seat and getting it dirty and then telling me "I got your car dirty, you'll have to clean it" How would you respond to that?

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I think for the last bit I would say " Well, I have a rule, if someone makes a mess they help to clean it up or they won't be going anywhere nice in my car again". When you get home you could leave the children in the car whilst you get some water and a cloth and she has to clean it.

 

I have always found with very controlling children that there often needs to be a bit of a 'showdown' where they get upset and hold out for 30 mins plus but eventually conform and after that are much better.

I know this is difficult to follow through in your situation without spoiling things for the other children.

If she continued to refuse I would say 'okay, you'll have to clean it with Mummy when she comes to collect you" and at home time let Mum know what has happened and ask her and child to clean it together before they go home thereby giving the clear message that you and Mum are working as a team.

I agree ignoring is generally a good technique but maybe in your situation you could ignore but loudly praise the other children and talk to them about what's happening 'Oh I'm so sorry everybody, Betty is not doing the right thing so I'm not going to be looking at her or playing with her until she starts playing with the toys properly (etc.)We like people to look after the toys don't we? Come on let's play this..." This may lead the girl's behaviour to escalate but that might be a good thing because it may cause you to reach the 'showdown' point which will eventually bring about some huge realization for her and an improvement in her behaviour.

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