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Tapestry

Flitting About From One Activity To Another


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Before I start I know this is age related - child just turned 3 at the end of February but I really want to try and settle this child to play for longer periods of time at specific interest areas.

 

She will start by coming in and going to the dressing up area. She will pick out a dress and shoes and ask help from an adult to help her into the dress. We have tried to get her to do this herself which is working to a point but still does not stop her next action. She will then float about for all of 2 seconds and spy something else she wants to go to play with. The action is then repeated with another few minutes at another activity before returning once again to the dressing up - she will get in and out of the same dress no less than 5 times in the space of the first hour of free play at our setting.

 

It is infuriating! I have been observing her as she is my key child and I cannot place her reasons for the actions other than watching for an adult helping a child in a particular area and wanting that attention. For instance today I was sitting with a child in the art area and she asked for my help to cut something out so she could paint it - with encouragement she cut it herself and then I asked her what colour she would paint. The "flitting" child tapped me on the arm and said "I want to paint too" so I invited her to get an apron on, grab a paintbrush and paper. I was distracted by another child needing my help with the small world so I left the 2 children together. No sooner had I started to help this child that the "flitting" child had the apron off, leaving her painting which had 2 strokes of paint on it into the airer and back to the dressing up area to put on a dress.

 

Speaking to mum I know she does the exact same thing at home and it is trying her patience. Even her grandad came in last week and stopped to ask if we had cured her habit of running from one activity to another!

 

 

Any help would be most appreciated.

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How does she react if you stay with her to engage her in something? You describe activities where she is seeking your attention, but not when she has your full attention

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Guest terrydoo73

OK I understand what you are saying but our problem is she never stays with us long enough to know!

 

I have followed her to the dressing up area first thing in the morning as she is often first in and stayed there helping her to put on the dress watching her twirl about in it and then she comes back to me and says "I wanna play in the sand" so I say "well what do you have to do first" She then proceeds to take off the dress which is our rule in Playgroup as we want to keep the dressing up clothes clean as possible. I remind her to hang up the dress and she does this then goes to play in the sand. I follow her to the sand and it starts all over again before long she moves on to something else. By this stage my attention is drawn to another child needing my attention as I cannot stay with this one child for the full hour - do you think I should and ignore the rest of the children in the setting??

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Hi imagine your setting is a magical wonderful toyshop full of fantastic resources for her to try, and she really doesn't know where to go first.

As your setting is new and presumably she is too i'm sure she may still be working it all out.

Encouraging her to stay at an activity that she appears to be engaged in even for a short time giving praise for doing so may help.

She is still very young and unless she is showing any other signs i would not be unduly worried at this stage.

As for the parents/ grandparents comments, i would feel a need to explain how children of this age learn and how wonderful that she wants to try everything.

A tracking observation may be useful to see how she moves around your provision.

Obviously if this continues blu tac may come in handy.

[only joking]. :o

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Guest terrydoo73

Its a rule we have which we are not willing to change.

 

If they want to dress up they can play in the home corner, read books, small world, block play, music, jigsaws so it is not restrictive we feel - only sand, water, painting, junk art are the areas we ask for them to have their own clothes with tabards for sand, water and paint provided. This particular child has a habit of not cleaning her nose and will use her clothes which we are actively discouraging!

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and how long has she been at the setting?

 

imagine being 3 and let loose in the most magical place where you can play with what you want, have not seen them before and want to experience everything now..

 

where do you go first.. ok seen it, now but that over there looks so much more exciting.. try it but see the next thing which really looks good.. ok let me have a look at that... no I liked the clothes more. want to put them on . but are they really better.. cannot decide.. so much to see and do.. it will all vanish soon.. what can I do first...want to do it all.. look what are they doing.. perhaps I can join in.. but is it really.. no want to try that over there.. would really like to wear the clothes while I play in the sand.. cannot choose between them.. why cannot I play in the sand... will have to put the dress on one more time to feel it before going to play in the sand... but look they are going to try it on now..

 

my thoughts being.. let the child flit for a while.. they will as you realise it is the stage they are at.. let them.. don't ignore but include where you can..

 

I have worked with several children who started this way.. parents too commented on the flitting... given time they settle eventually, but it took them to experience most of what as on offer for months before they realised it was always there and that they could ask if it wasn't, we used to let them flit until they knew us well and we knew what interested them, then we would set up things which took time to complete in their interests.. slowly at first but eventually they would spend longer and we could see the change..

 

 

remember that concentration is the age of the child plus 2 as a basic calculation.. often less so give them time..

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I think I would try to find a way to concentrate closely on just this child and watching closely what she is looking for in from the adult interaction. I would also look closely at her chosen activities and see if I could identify a persistent interest which crosses the activities she is choosing. I know that's a long shot but if you look really hard you may see a pattern.

 

Some practitioners find it useful to identify themselves as unavailable to the children in some way when they are carrying out obs. Some use a special hat which they wear or carry a clearly marked clipboard and the children learn not to approach that adult for support at that time. Could this help you to focus more closely on this little girl for a short while?

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Guest terrydoo73

No sorry would not go down this route - we ask children to roll up sleeves too which is impossible with tight cut outfits, there is also the issue of safety because of trailing clothes and other children catching themselves in these clothes.

 

This flitting went on for the first few weeks she was with us but she seemed to settle then to play, now it has returned.

 

We have noticed she is extremely tired towards the end of the 2 1/2 hour session with us. Today she even tried to sleep on the floor about half an hour before the finish and kept asking repeatedly when her mummy was coming.

 

When I asked mum about this she said she is up at 6 am every day and goes to bed every night at 7 - she doesn't sleep during the day just rests for a short time but then gets up and goes again.

 

I know everything is exciting to her but we thought she might settle when she sees everyone else doing a specific thing - for instance quite a number of our children will come in and stay at one thing for the first hour their concentration levels are amazing and there is only a few months difference in this one child. So myself and 2 workers will often find ourselves sitting at the dough table with 2 or 3 children talking about what making etc, another will be working with a child in the sand tray with another couple and the third with some in the home area.

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Guest terrydoo73
I think I would try to find a way to concentrate closely on just this child and watching closely what she is looking for in from the adult interaction. I would also look closely at her chosen activities and see if I could identify a persistent interest which crosses the activities she is choosing. I know that's a long shot but if you look really hard you may see a pattern.

 

Some practitioners find it useful to identify themselves as unavailable to the children in some way when they are carrying out obs. Some use a special hat which they wear or carry a clearly marked clipboard and the children learn not to approach that adult for support at that time. Could this help you to focus more closely on this little girl for a short while?

 

 

Thank you for your suggestion - is there any specific observation sheet I could use for this or just constantly take notes through a couple of sessions?

 

I don't see any problem with observing subtly as we only have 6/8 children in any one session and there are 3 of us on staff.

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I'm not trying to find fault here but just ways to help.

Firstly to be so tired at the end of 2.5 hours at her age is I feel fairly normal- esp if she is running here, there and every where.

I also feel that what you are describing in a child that has only just turned 3 and not long been with you fairly normal- even just 3 mths can make so much difference at that age. Let her flit around for a while, if she keeps taking dressing up off straight aftwr putting it on tell her she has to wait a minute or two. I think what others have said is right- it's all so new and exciting to her. Perhaps she doesn't have much at home, or maybe she is only allowed to play with one thing at a time, having to put one thing away before getting something else out- if that is so it is easily understandable why she would be unable to settle to one thing. Or perhaps she really cannot settle or concentrate yet, we have a few like that some older then her and I cant say that I see it as that much of a problem?

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terry is she worried about others taking the favoured dress? can you save it for her? or can you use it to keep her at an activity a little longer....so the i'll hang on to this and come and watch you paint and when you've done two paintings ill help you put it on again...(you get the idea!!) :o what happens if you take the dressing up stuff away?

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I.m wondering if this could be attention seeking behaviour. Maybe a bit like a child who won't go to sleep and keeps asking for more things for the attention. The result being, that Mum gets really resentful of the child, and then the child feels less secure and becomes more needy.

 

Perhaps you could see what happens if you spend a day or so pre-empting her movements so that you are ready to support her before she knows she needs it. A bit like a Mum giving up a few nights and always being close to settle the child, resulting in a child confident enough to go to sleep by themselves.

 

Also, wonder if the child could be hungry? I know I can't settle on an empty stomach.

 

Very best of luck,

 

Honey

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Guest terrydoo73

Well child was definately not as flitting today - came in and although did put on the dress initially never went near it again. She did some painting which sustained her interest for a considerable time and then water play. However her behaviour was less than exciting. At tidy up time when ready to go out to the toilet to wash her hands she mucked about nearly putting her head right down into the sand tray. She then swung herself out of it and fell backwards knocking her arm in the process. I do think it is a bit of attention seeking behaviour to be honest - poor mum she has one exactly a year older and a new baby due in the next month or so!

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