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Aahhh Just Want To Scream! Still Not Listening To Me!


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to scream and scream and scream. We have had 4 days like this now and it is driving us up the wall.

 

We are a small playgroup (11 max) in NI and there is myself and my Deputy as well as a volunteer and we work from 9.15 to 11.45 each day Monday to Friday. We have a mix of children - those in preschool year number 6 in total and then there are 5 who are just turned 3. As in other posts I have problems with 2 boys who do not listen to us no matter how much reemphasising of rules we do or changing the tone of our voice so that we do not seem hassled, engaging and distractive play as well as ignoring what they are doing - AND NOTHING IS WORKING!

 

In fact it is leading both my Deputy and I to pull our hair out.

 

Yesterday it was me - I came home knowing that how I had handled things badly so resolved today to come down low in my voice, speak to the children softly, tell them again that we really do not like the behaviour they are displaying, engaging with them in play, ignoring certain behaviour and praising good ... This was on advice from my Deputy as she felt I was too loud and aggressive as well.

 

Then today it was like all hell broke loose. I followed exactly what I planned to do and my Deputy got all upset with me - at the end of the session she let me know in no uncertain terms that how I handled things was completely wrong and I should have put a stop to things quickly and did not work with her.

 

We have 2 little boys - one aged 3 who is big in every sense of the word, nature and physicality. Doesn't in fact know his strength and when you get a push from him you will know about it - compare that with some of the little ones we have and you might begin to understand what I mean! Then there is the older boy who is coming 4 (in fact just 3 months between them) and he will apologise to you saying "sorry will not doing it again" but 5 seconds later is back doing the same things we have asked him to stop doing.

 

The younger of the 2 will lead the other on and the older one gets him so ragged and incensed that it is a case of lashing out at everything and everyone including resources, people etc. Today one other child got hit on the side of the ear with a torch which he swung about despite us telling him how to use the torch properly. Then at snack time these 2 boys along with another younger girl decided they were going to march around and around the room with magnifiers. I tried to engage them in asking what they were looking for - the little girl was fine she understood what I was saying and talked to me whereas the other two got so raised that they were pushing, shoving, marching and shouting all at the same time. This is where my Deputy said I should have stepped in and asked them to refrain from the action.

 

I was playing with a child in the block area and we were making an aeroplane so I was asking the child all sorts of questions - my Deputy said this was wrong because there were 10 other children and this child was thriving on the fact that he had me all to myself. I guess I just go so engaged in play and was thinking of all the great learning opportunity available!

 

My Deputy decided not to allow these 2 boys out to snack as they were not behaving in the way she felt was appropriate. What way was that? The younger child came in and was half running/walking around and around an area shouting flailing the arms etc etc and the other boy had been sitting at the dough table when he got up and joined this boy - causing the problem with safety risk to others and noise level being raised that it took us quite some time to settle both down as well as the other children in the Playgroup. My Deputy's response when they get this raised is to tell each child to go to play in different areas and try to engage them in play but the older one of the 2 has got wise to this and just stands in the area not playing. The other one is a different story as he just ignored her and continues with the play or else shouting "no" in the loudest voice possible.

 

We are both at a loss how to handle things and are scared that we ourselves are going to fall out about it all. I think I have got a thick skin now as I let my Deputy's words to me run off me - I prefer to just listen and ignore her little rants but I know I should stand up to her a bit more but it just makes life easier. Basically I come home and spend the rest of the day and night worrying about how things went and try to work out a way to improve things. Then I go in the next day and my Deputy just says "that will not work, we are not doing that" and we are back to square one again because I haven't the ability to say "no we are going to try this whether you like it or not". She never comes up with any suggestions how to change things which is infuriating.

 

Is it time to talk to parents (again!) about this younger child's behaviour but what can we suggest they do? This child comes from a home where there is a severely disabled older child who has epileptic fits and normal behaviour for him is not normal for us. When we pulled them in last October they more or less told us it was our problem to teach him how to behave as they couldn't replicate it in the home with the older child being the way he was.

 

Do we then refocus on the older child and try to teach him (some way but what) that he shouldn't follow this younger child and show him that whilst he says sorry to us that he doesn't really understand what he is saying sorry to (now how do we do that!)

 

Should I not be playing with one child on their own? Do you think I should continue just keep moving from one area to another - surely it is easier to extend play by conversation with a child rather than just letting them play and discover things on their own - how exactly are they going to learn about size, shape, colours etc??

 

Sorry for the rant but I am at my wits end as you can tell!

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Hi have you tried a thinking chair, we tried this and it does work eventually, when they get boisterous or our displaying a behaviour we do not want to see, we first give them a warning that if they do not stop we will sit them on the chair and they wont be able to play, if it carries on we sit them on the thinking chair with a sandtimer, we explain why we have sat them there, give them the timer and when it has finished we go and speak to them, we put the chair in a quiet corner and the adult is never far from them when they are on the chair but it did give them a chance to calm down and it removed them from the situation, just a thought!!!

 

Have you spoken to the parents, if not i think i would speak to them to see if they are behaving like that at home and whether they had concerns, when i spoke to our parents they were also concerned so they used the same strategy at home so it was consistent........................

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We too in the past have used a 'thinking chair' sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't depends on the child.

We do always speak to the parents before we get to the point where we are going to give it a try though, we usually come to this decision as a staff team with everyone in agreement that we've tried everything else.

I do think you and your deputy need to both be 'singing off the same hymn sheet' with this though.

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Guest terrydoo73

We are both agreed that we think the Playgroup room is not attracting these two enough - that our activities are just not what they are interested in. We used to be able to engage the younger boy in something like painting, sand or dough which really calmed him but it had to be on a one to one basis - he would have excluded others joining in but we need to develop his socialising skills. The older boy absolutely hates anything that gets his hands messy although we have introduced him to dough and it has worked. We were just wondering if we could introduce circle time and see if the children themselves suggested something they would like to play with in the playroom that day. That way they focus their thoughts and we ourselves could manage things better rather than having individuals playing on their own and us feeling sorry for them and therefore going to that area for one to one.

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Might be suggesting things you have already tried but have you used a personal visual timetable where the boys could plan their session, filling it with what they want to do, maybe if they are 'in control' they might settle down a little. We have 5 boys using them at the moment for various reasons including behaviour issues and they seem to be really effective. A side effect from using them is that we have been able to find out exactly what does 'grab' these children and have, in some cases, been able to extend the interest.

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Cripes....firstly I would comfort you and say I am sure that most of us have had this kind of experience. Secondly don't be too hard on yourself....if children came with a manual on how they ticked...then life would just be so much easier! I cant really give you much advice apart from saying that clearly you recognise there is an issue and are trying different approaches....hopefully one of them will work. You are definitely not on your own here though as where I am at the moment we have several children who are challenging and whether its the time of year, the apres Crimbo malaise or just old age Im not sure but like you I feel I am not handling things as well as I could......I think maybe where I am I shall arrange a staff meeting so we can make sure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet because if there is one thing that is NOT the way forward that is for inconsistency in whichever route is deemed appropriate! :o

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Do you have an outside area? Maybe these boys just need to let off steam? When we had a "challenging" little boy (he's still with us, but behaviour has improved) one of us regularly had to take him outside to give the other children a break! We had a no tolerance policy for any hurting of the other children, using a time out chair: he didn't like it, but it worked, especally the complete withdrawal of attention from adults.

 

You and your deputy do need to be supporting each other though.

 

good luck!

 

Jo

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Guest terrydoo73

Unfortunately we are now allowed as per our registration to take a child on our own outside - there needs to be at least 2 of us present at all times and as there are only 3 of us in staffing terms this would leave our inside vulnerable too. We did consider perhaps changing things in terms of having outdoor play when the children come in each morning but that leads to more problems as these 2 boys start chasing and slapping each other around the outdoor play area.

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Unfortunately we are now allowed as per our registration to take a child on our own outside - there needs to be at least 2 of us present at all times and as there are only 3 of us in staffing terms this would leave our inside vulnerable too. We did consider perhaps changing things in terms of having outdoor play when the children come in each morning but that leads to more problems as these 2 boys start chasing and slapping each other around the outdoor play area.

could you swop your day around for a couple of days and do the outdoor play at the beginning of the session?

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Could your volunteer not count as an extra adult inside or out?

 

I don't really have any new advice but please don't beat yourself up, it does sound a little like you and your deputy are expecting a solution that will suddenly make things better in a day. Please remember that any strategy you try is going to need consistency over a week or two before you see it having the desired effect. You can't expect a child to change their behaviour in a day.

 

The thinking chair sounds like a good idea but again you have to be prepared for the child jumping off, screaming, crying, being rude etc until they realise that you're just going to keep putting them back, not reacting and restarting the timer until they stay on it.

 

As for the one to one, unless you are constantly favouring one child for a large amount of one to one every day I don't see how this can be wrong. You saw a good opportunity to extend a child's learning and took it. I can't see how, with three other adults present, the rest of the children were missing out! Every child likes and needs some one to one at times and we should give it to them. What better way to show we are thinking of the 'unique child'? On the flip side although I would say this is good if it isn't excessive and detracting from other children I don't think there is any need to join a child's play on the basis that you feel sorry for them playing alone. The child is probably absorbed in what they are doing and not feeling at all sorry for themselves! If they were then they would seek out companionship. Unless a child is very lacking in social skills the choice to play alone might be very deliberate, especially in such a small group where interests might not overlap as much.

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could you swop your day around for a couple of days and do the outdoor play at the beginning of the session?

I did this as a result of the child study I did for my degree. When closely observing a child who was very bright but never really got involved with planned activities, preferring to run around, recruiting other children to his role play games which seemed really to just involve running around. I quickly realised that he spent all of the period spent indoors rushing around running off his energy, when our routines required him to engage with the lovely activities we had planned. Then, just as he was ready to settle down to whatever we had on offer, we'd whip him outside for outdoor play and he felt really frustrated because he wanted to paint, or whatever.

 

So I changed the routine, we went outdoors first and I found that not only did this little chap engage in more quality play both inside and out, everyone's behaviour was so much more manageable.

 

If your routines and activities/experiences aren't meeting these children's needs, perhaps you need to closely observe them and see exactly what is happening for these lads and identify what you could change?

 

I agree with Kariana about the one-to-one situation - it wasn't as if 20 other children were being neglected and unsupervised! Well done you for finding time to spend some focused time with a child extending their thinking and supporting their play!

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You absolutely should be having 1 to 1 conversations with the children at times. Sharing ideas, wondering aloud, modelling thinking and language are crucial roles for Early Years practitioners and you need to hear where a child is in his or her learning in order to extend it.

 

My first thought when reading your post was could you do with having some sessions where you do something unusual and exciting to really grab the children? I'm thinking of things like bringing in a load of sheets and making the tables into tunnels, building a fire to cook sausages on outside or filling the room with cardboard boxes and giving the children a roll of masking tape each to build a mountain or an igloo.

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