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Mine, Mine, Mine!


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

How do you deal with a child who claims everything is his!

 

We have a fire engine station and lots of different sizes of fire engines and people on shelves beside it. This particular little boy is mad about fireman Sam and apparently has quite a collection at home. He refuses to let others play in this area so much so that he drives everyone away before too long. He gets quite upset if anyone does come near him and starts to play with the personnel and puts a fire engine into the station.

 

Before you say it we have done the chat about "these are playgroups toys and everyone plays together at playgroup" but to no avail. He is quite violent in that he snatches the engines or whatever out of others hands and even resorts to physically pushing children away.

 

If he doesn't want a particular engine or person he will throw it out of the way. I have asked him quietly to pick them up and put them on a shelf if he doesn't want to play with them as they could get tramped on or broken having gone through the "we look after our toys in playgroup so we can play with them tomorrow" chat and the child does respond.

 

The thing is it is creating the problem of not allowing other children into the area, having to have a person in this area when he is there and there is the aspect of learning to share more importantly of all. Whilst I could say it is a development problem - he will be 4 in September but surely there is a way around this situation?

 

We are not seeing any progress as this child has been with us since last September and we have this type of conflict with him continually not just in this area.

 

My Deputy I believe is heavy handed and wades in determined to get him to realise all the above issues but when I try it just seems to me that it is way above his head although a few minutes later you can see him turning to see if I am watching before he does some of the above actions.

 

On Friday I was sitting at the snack children with this child and 3 others - the remaining 8 were playing in the room with my Deputy and volunteer. One of the children in the playroom started to use the fire engines mimicking the sound. The little boy at the snack table started to shout and road "my engine, my Fireman Sam". I tried quietly to tell him that A was playing with the fire engine while he was having his snack, that the toys were there for everyone to play with etc etc. He reached for a piece of banana and before I knew it he had the whole lot in his mouth and kept shouting. I continued to repeat what I had said thinking that if I kept cool and repeated it something would get through. He finished the banana thankfully without any coming back out again, swallowed the rest of his milk and moved quickly away from the snack table having taken his cup and placemat to the trolley. He raced into the room and in my Deputy's words "it was like all hell broke loose" as he snatched the fire engine from the other child. She started to holler and it took us all (3 of us!) some time trying to settle him down again!

 

Our patience is exhausted with him some days and it causes a great deal of friction with ourselves and the rest of the children. The children will tell us "M is bad, a really bad boy". We want to get away from this impression and are scared we ourselves re creating the situation but with endangerment to other children we have to step in??? We are trying desperately the tack of keeping calm, talking quietly and repetition but just wonder are we really seeing progress?

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Ouch, this is horrid for everyone! Generally speaking, if we have a situation like that, we remind the child that toys are for sharing and that if s/he can't share, then THEY will have to go and find something else to play with as they won't be able to play with the desired toys. This usually works; I wouldn't remove the toys, just the child who is having trouble sharing. I'd give them a little while away then ask if they'd like to go and share the toys again, but being prepared to remove them again if they started to cause problems again. I think if they see you mean it, they generally get the idea that it is best to share rather than do without. Does this child have brothers or sisters at home? Maybe he just doesn't have to share and finds it hard at the setting.. You could also use a sand timer to set the amount of time each child has with the toy, but try not to let this child be first with it, so he can see others willing to share.

I would also nip the idea that M is bad...........in the bud, quickly and firmly. I would say something like 'no, M is not bad, he just finds it hard to share sometimes, so we all have to remember that the toys are for everyone and to take turns. ( here I would remind everyone that if THEY can't share, then THEY will be the ones to have to play with something else).

Like most things,Terrydoo, children will test boundaries time and again; you just have to be consistent and firm...........an so does your deputy in this.......apply the 'rules' to everyone equally and fairly. Good luck

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I am wondering if the fire engines, station and people toys should just be totally removed for a while so that the child has to play with something else? I say this presuming you have already tried removing the child from the toys? Tried explaining about sharing and consequences of not doing so?

 

Perhaps reintroduce the toys at a later point?

 

Whilst this doesn't solve the issue it removes it if it really is wearing you and your staff down.

 

I shall be interested in hearing how you eventually solve this!

Edited by Scarlettangel
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Good advice Narnia as usual, but I would also be noting his behaviour on some version of a ABCC chart as it could be that if you can record the triggers then you can intercept before the situation deteriorates as well as collecting some evidence in case you need professional intervention at a later date as to me this sounds worrying extreme behaviour from your description.

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I think it's vital to ensure that all staff have agreed on a strategy and are behaving in a consistent way regarding how the issue of sharing and taking turns is handled. As suggested using a large sand timer is a good visual way for the child (and other children) to see when they need to let another child have a turn. Does this child enjoy books about fire engines/Fireman Sam etc. Would it be possible to laminate some Fireman Sam/fire engine pictures and create a storyboard, to hopefully have another firestation related activity for him to go to ? Maybe fire engine playdough cutters etc.

Edited by Guest
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Maybe he does think its his fireman Sam and engine. His is out of sight at home. He hasnt quite grasped the concept that there can be more than one of something. A little girl went quiet ballistic at me when I said I had a mommy, 'MY MOMMY!!' was screamed at me.

Ask all the children to bring in a favourite toy and compare them to what you have at playgroup so he can see there are two or more of something. :1b

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Something that has helped me is understanding the difference between sharing and turn-taking. It may be easier for this child to understand that he doesn't have to give up anything he can't ever have again - like a shared cake, but that after someone has had a turn he will get another. Might be a start.

 

And the other children need to be supported to understand that although one child is having difficulty learning to share and take turns, doesn't mean that we can be un-friendly.

 

H

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We had a child who was obsessive over a particular toy - exactly like this...in the end we had to encourage the child to choose something else first and, if they played well and shared that for a while, then they were allowed their special toy as a reward - but again we had to limit the child to 10 mins or so (with a timer so they could see how long and knew what to expect) and then it was the next childs turn.

So they still had to share.

We used a now and next board to help the child accept this.

We found that once we began this and were limiting free access to the toy the child was able to enjoy more of a balance of resources and after a very short time the obsessive behaviour did reduce a lot. Access to the toy still needs to be limited though - cannot have it out as cont provison still.

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Hi Terrydo,

 

If you feel you've exhausted all the usual steps and tactics to remedy the situation why not call in your area senco to observe and comment? The obsessional behaviour and the fact you have seen little or no progress could possibly mean he needs some extra support ie a behaviour plan or even an IEP.

 

Just a thought.

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