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Strategies To Help Children Gain Your Attention And Really Listen To T


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Hi

 

This may seem an odd query but here goes anyway.

 

One of our children (4 year old) said to me recently that she sometimes found it difficult to stop me (when she wanted to make something). I had a chat with her and came up with ways she could gain my attention, such as holding my hand and saying 'can you help me'. She used this strategy to good effect. However, it got me wondering if there could be a better way for children to gain adults' attention when they really need them to listen to them, especially if the child was not so able to articulate their needs.

 

Do you have any strategies you use in your setting - such as a visual sign, maybe?

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Oh, thanks Steve, and to think I nearly didn't ask it!

 

Well, Cait, I was thinking of a strategy to use during freeplay, hadn't thought of asking children to put their hands up because that is something I perceive (incorrectly perhaps) children doing at school rather than pre-school but actually it would be a simple, instant and visual solution.

 

Any other suggestions?

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It is a great question Deb, one I cant recall anyone asking before!

 

I used to have a deaf girl in my class, who would gently stroke my arm (If I were sitting down, (it was often my leg if I wasn't) to gain my attention. The only time I can recall ever using a symbol as such was when we had a child who lost their mum and she carried a small pink heart around when she needed space or talk time (or a cuddle).

 

Id love to hear also what others have done.

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We have a little girl who feels she needs support going to the loo, she makes a 't' with her hands to one of the adults when she needs to go. Our children with limited spoken english tend to take an adults hand or if we're sitting, stroke our face. Because of the layout of our setting I think it'd be difficult to have something for them all to carry around and use successfully.

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I think this is a important, I often find myself torn between finishing helping/conversing and the need to help or talk to someone else.

As for how to attract attention we use a variety of methods depending on the children

- some will ask for help directly, we model asking using names

- some are 'persistent patters' so we ask them gently stroke the adults arm

 

for specific things children may need to ask for

- we have photos and objects (eg a cup) that can be taken to an adult to show what is wanted,

- some children have used laminated pictures on a treasury tag to ask for things, our older EAL and very shy children have found these useful.

-We did have a child who was selectively mute who would sign.

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Last year we had a little boy who choose to be VERY quiet but not quite mute. When he went to the loo he just sat until someone came to help him xD . I put a bell on the loo cysten top which he used when he needed help. No-one abuse it but a few others used it when they too needed help. :o I had a girl who took along time to settle. She held my hand but that limited what I could do and she paniced if I let go. I came up with a ribbon with a tail tied to my waist which she held as we moved about. Eventually she settled but I carried on wearing the ribbon and it was tugged gentley if I was needed. Again other children used it to attract my attention and I would use both again if needed.

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Hi Deb

 

What a really interesting question which I can link to my setting where I do peer observations and sometimes think that adults "help" too often or too early; I have also noticed that sometimes adult help is just not wanted as some children vote with their feet if they feel adults are not wanted. A very difficult one to judge at times.

 

The other thing I often focus on, and feed back to staff, is when I am observing practice in my view all too often I hear mostly adults talking. Well meaning and intending to move conversations on but now we are trying to say less and let the children's voices be heard more. Try it and see what happens in your setting, I do video recordings which I play back without the picture and really listen to the voices.

 

I such be watching this post with great interest.

 

BMG

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