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Attention Seeking Behaviour


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

We are a small 12 child Playgroup running for 2 1/2 hours each day during term time and started back again on Monday past. We cater for 3 and 4 year olds so have had 8 returnees who now turn 4. One of the children has reverted back to his habits of last year which we know is simply attention seeking but again we want to nip it in the bud early to ensure we get past this problem. We cannot and I stress cannot leave children on their own in the outdoor area whilst we take all the rest inside. Mainly because the gate where parents come in is through the outdoor area - if the child is left out there and we open gate to parents he will leave the premises before mum arrives and with the 2 of us as staff we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to the other remaining 11 to have 1 member of staff watching them while the other watches him. Also we believe strongly in the principle that children should listen to us and follow our instructions so when asked to do something it is all part of the process of learning that they learn to obey. This is not as it might appear regimental but I think a little discipline is necessary even at this early age - after all when they go to school the teacher will not leave the child outside the room simply because he chooses not to come in with the rest?? This child of ours "hides" in the slide/tunnel purposely when we ask the children to start to tidy away toys and then line up to return inside for a brief 5 minute of nursery rhymes before parents come in through the gate and take them home. We believe it is attention seeking because we have to focus on him and him alone while the other children stand waiting to be able to go inside.

 

Before you say it we have tried the method of 1 person working with him to ask him to do special jobs for them - he simply does the job and then returns to the tunnel. We have reasoned with him asking why he wants to stay in the tunnel but he stays silent. We have left him outside and kept a watchful eye going out and in but to no avail as he remains there. We have reminded him of the consequences of his actions ie mummy cannot come into playgroup because the gate cannot be opened while he remains in the tunnel but this has not worked either. Today I had a quiet word with mum to ask her to talk this through with him at home but I doubt if this will have the desired effect either. What do we do to ensure his and the other children's safety and for our own peace of mind in knowing we are doing all that is possible? He is one of our older children turning 4 now in the next few weeks. Now he is drawing another child in with him to stay in the tunnel too which makes it doubly difficult for us as this child is younger and does not really understand why he cannot do this.

 

This same child who "hides" has difficulty also in rhyme time as we sit in a circle and he will shake his head, thrash with his arms and legs, roll on his tummy etc etc We believe it is all attention seeking behaviour but are very cautious in terms of risking someone else getting hurt - we resort to moving every child away from him which defeats the whole purpose of enjoying time together as a Playgroup and other children labelling him as "bad and naughty".

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Guest terrydoo73

How do we cope then with having to get the gate open for parents and children rushing out the gate before we are able to sort them out? I have visions of every child disappearing rather fast and parents very distraught!!

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I feel for you terrydo, I never understand how any setting (regardless of numbers) can be expected to operate with only 2 staff, I do understand it comes down to money but there are always going to be times, whether through accidents, disruptive behaviour or even just a phone call or visitor to deal with, and what happens if one of those staff is suddenly taken ill or called away to an emergency, that means 1 person is left with a group of children by themselves, do you have parent helpers in ? I agree that you could ask parent back 15 mins early or you could ask a diff parent to come back early to help with main group(not necessarily singling his parent out), whilst the other staff member handles disruptive child, not easy I know, and quite wearing, have you tried the reward chart so he could choose his favourite thing to do at end of week or whatever (and no I don,t necessarily agree with these, I feel they can be unfair on the ones who just get on with all you ask/expect of them but sometimes they work)

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Have you looked at what is happening once you are all inside to see if there is some aspect of that routine that he finds particularly difficult? Is he expected to sit quietly in a group at this point?

 

Why does he thrash his arms and legs around when the other children are sitting close to him? Does he have a sensory difficulty, perhaps hypersensitivity to touch or smell? Does he need a sit and move cushion to allow him to move in a more appropriate way?

 

How do you know for sure that this is simply attention seeking? If it is, why is he so in need of your attention?

 

I would be looking for the reason behind the behaviour first rather than ways to make him comply with the rules.

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I do agree that perhaps there is a strong message in his behaviour i.e. hiding in a tunnel, not wanting to be close in a circle situation - perhaps a chat with the area senco could be useful?

 

On a practical note as of course you have to deal with safety as a priority - could the tunnel be quietly put away ahead of the full tidy up to pre empt the child rushing into it. It might also be useful to see what he does instead.

 

good luck

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Guest terrydoo73

This child has an older brother with severe mental and physical problems so obviously is copying behaviour - one reason why mum and dad wanted him to be with us to let him be amongst children of his own age ability etc etc. The Little Tikes slide/tunnel/house is massive and cannot easily be slipped away - it took about 6 to get it into the playgroup so is a sort of permanent feature! When we do nursery rhymes he sings the loudest! As I said already he has returned to us for his preschool year before school and 6 others have now moved onto school. We spent most of last year trying to work out what was wrong in terms of perhaps not wanting to sit in a circle etc but he never gets up and moves away from the circle rather will ask us what is wrong when we look his way whilst he is doing this behaviour hence our decision to ignore the behaviour - he is trying to gain a reaction otherwise why ask us what is wrong.

 

Today he didn't go into the tunnel but several other children did and we see this as their way of copying him because he got away with it yesterday.

He came in late today to Playgroup. Mum explained that the Fairy had left him money for his tooth that had come out which he subsequently lost before coming and that led to a mad hunt to find it and calm him. They didn't find it and after much persuasion he came in. He then started to play with another child in the block brick area building them up and tumbling down. The other child left the area having put away his bricks and he was left. He wanted to move too but refused to put the blocks away which were at this stage strewn across the floor. He then lay full stretch out on the floor for some considerable time making it difficult for any child to get past him and when they tried he kept moving around so they had little way of getting around although some negotiated eventually. We totally ignored him and he moved to the couch stretching full length on this. Again we ignored him and it came to our rolling snack time. He got up to go to the snack table and I explained that he had to put his toys away just like everyone else. He did put them away and then we let him go to the snack table. We had some difficulty with him outside playing with the other children in terms of anger release as I think all his emotions were pent up inside over what happened at home this morning but we just had to keep one worker with him all the time distracting encouraging praising etc. It is exhausting and you feel so guilty that he is gaining all the one to one work while you have 11 others in the same setting.

 

Mum never comes to collect child on time - he is always the last to leave and that makes it difficult for us too as we have to remain with him despite our best efforts to prevent him from simply walking out on his own. She does understand all the problems we encounter but with a severly disabled child at home and another one aged 1 years it is exhausting for her too - he comes to us to give her a couple of hours relief!

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Could you move tidy up time forward a bit and when the children have tidied perhaps get out one interesting activity like a parachute perhaps for a couple of minutes before you all go indoors? Don't ask him to come out of the tunnel to join in, just have lots of fun with the other children.

 

I would still be wondering why he feels the need to disrupt the circle time activities and call attention to himself? Why is he not engaged in the story/song/conversation?

 

I wouldn't assume that because he sings loudly he does not have any sensory issues. Have you tried giving him a fiddle toy to hold during times you'd like him to sit still? You could also try giving him a cushion or beanbag to sit on to give him some extra personal space and some sensory feedback.

 

 

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Do u still have your volunteer? At 2 of our local playgroup the children leave from outside! At one a staff member mans the gate and lets the children out one by one! At another one staff member does the tiding inside and watches that no children leaves without a parents! Seems to work well for them!!

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Guest terrydoo73

Just revisiting this nearly a week on. We are still having problems engaging this child at circle time. Yesterday I tried the tactic of getting him up beside me to help me turn the pages in our very large story book. He did well holding on but became tired half way through and sat down while still trying to hold the book. We do a few rhymes at the finish of our story time just before mums come and today I gave him a picture of a nursery rhyme - it was a big red double decker bus and he was able to tell me what the rhyme was but did not participate when we were singing preferring instead to throw himself about over the floor with arms and feet waving about - I was conscious of the other children in close proximity to him getting hurt, thankfully none did. Anyone any other suggestions of how to engage him during this time? He also has a habit that when we open up the door and mums arrive, we usually call the children to the door so that not all leave at once and he keeps repeating "going now mummy here" and despite us repeatedly saying "only when your name is called can you leave". He will leave where he is at and walk to the door and if we didn't stop him he would be outside within a matter of minutes. We always have to encourage him to return to the story corner to wait for his mum and refuses to take out a book until mummy comes. It is very difficult as mum is always the last to arrive to collect him and there is no way of preventing this as mum is the farthest away with a little baby to care for too.

 

We use cushions that are filled with beans giving the children the option to sit on these on the floor or else sit on the couch during story time. This child will use the bean bag to throw it about and again we are repeating repeating repeating to try and stop him from engaging in this behaviour as other children could get hurt.

 

Just cannot get him engaged with this story time routine at all and I don't really know why. Is it a case of perhaps wanting to draw attention to himself but for what reason really. We have tried the tactic of ignoring the behaviour but have to step in when another child invariably gets hurt as he continues to thrash about. He just does not seem to react even when a child gets hit continuing the behaviour as before. What else could we be doing??

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I wonder why he doesn't like to join in the rhyme. Will he join in singing or rhymes at other times during the session.

 

Could you ask him to bring in a book for story time one day just to help him engage and see it as positive?

 

If he really can't engage with story time could he help a member of staff with a clearing up job instead? Making him sit every session if he doesn't enjoy it could be rather counter-productive as he'll begin to associate books with boredom and frustration.

 

Have you tried offering him a fiddle toy or chewy toy?Lots of children benefit from these.

 

Also have a look at this link.

 

 

Is there a special activity which could come out when there are only a couple of children left at the end of the session? I have a 'nice things' box with lots of little items for the children to explore. I have bits of wax, interesting buttons, paper clips, tiny cracker toys, bits of ribbon, a weight off a helium balloon, an amber bracelet, swirly marbles, a string of paper clips, etc. The children love to explore it and because there are so many things they always find something new to examine. Maybe looking in the box could be earned by sitting nicely.

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Hey, Upsy Daisy!

 

What a super clip!! I've left work now, but am forwarding your link to my ex-Manager - really useful for staff training as everyone has always got at least one of those of behaviours to contend with!!!!!

 

Sue

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The squidgy/stretchy centipede things or bobble balls are good they're in Morrisons for 99p, blue tac is amazing and I imagine you'd have it, a ballon with flour in(tied of course :P)

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Blue tack/white tack is really good and cheap to replace but could be a choking hazard for chewers.

 

You can get Tangle in metal, fuzzy and tactile versions too.

 

This candle wax is excellent for a calming, quiet, sensory fiddle but again it could be a choking hazard and makes a terrible mess if it melts in a pocket http://www.bakerross.co.uk/src/ADWORDS/product-Candle-Making-Kit-EV948.htm

 

http://www.sensorytoywarehouse.com/All/TOUCH/Fidgets/SMILEY-STRETCHY-MAN/p-135-95-104-1501/

 

http://www.sensorytoywarehouse.com/All/TOUCH/Fidgets/MANDALAS--METAL/p-135-95-104-1846/

 

http://www.sensorytoywarehouse.com/All/TOUCH/Fidgets/KEY-RING--SPIRAL-STRETCH/p-135-95-104-1591/ You can get these as bracelets and necklaces too

 

These are really good but not for times when they are sitting amongst others because they're noisy and have small pieces http://www.sensorytoywarehouse.com/All/TOUCH/Fidgets/MAGNETIC-POWERSTONES/p-135-95-104-1900/

 

A string of beads makes a very good fiddle, especially if the beads are quite dense.

 

HTH

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Having watched the clip - my son of 25 still chews his t shirts every now and then and ever since he was about 5 this started due to anxiety I believe when I spent a month in hospital, he began chewing all sorts of things.

 

Just sitting here thinking back over the years to a few children who must have been experiencing this type of sensory problem. Thank you Upsy Daisy this has been very enlightening!

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That was really interesting to watch, thank you for posting it. My friends son has been diagnosed with SPD finally (he is now 12) I have watched his behaviour since birth and been confused by it but knowing a bit more about this disorder now it all makes sense. That clip also puts it into perspective. My deputy is going on a days training about it soon and I look froward to her sharing more info when she gets back. I had a little girl last year that chewed her clothes and I feel a bit cross with myself that I didnt make a connection and think about a fiddle toy.

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Inge those are brilliant! Why didn't I think to mention weighted pads?

 

Weighted lap pads are often useful for children who need to fidget. Our OT suggested buying wheatbags when they are cheap in The Works or similar and then sewing them together to make a wider pad. She also recommended using a single one across DD's shoulders as a calming weight.

 

Those sock critters look great, although I might be tempted to buy plastic pellets from eBay rather than use sand. My friend has recently made a weighted blanket for my DD using those and it is great.

 

Another idea which works really well for my DD is a small but heavy rucksack. It needs to fit snugly so have straps which go really short. Our OT suggested one for hospital visits and it helped a lot. When we go out as a family now we often have our DD who is 9 carrying the drinks & snacks in a small rucksack. This might be awkward in a classroom but could be used for short periods, outside or on trips.

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Hmmm.... I feel a bit out of my depth here as I'm pretty old school on my opinion. I understand the reasoning behind fiddly things etc and yes we have used them but have found that it is a snowball effect and children begin to associate if they fidget, wriggle, and generally don't do as asked they get a "toy" to play with at group time which in my opinion is feeding the negative and not rewarding positive.

 

*waits for SENCo's to throw fiddly things at me in disgust....*

 

My reaction was if you have given this child your behaviour expectations and a warning and he still insists on "playing up" then I would give him a choice to either join in with the rest of the group or explain that he will be removed from the group to sit with an adult. You have then clearly defined his choices and he is in charge of which option to take.

It is detrimental to the rest of the group who are behaving and feeding the attention that he seeks as he will distract others. If he chooses to again be disruptive then he should be removed from the group to sit quietly with an adult to look at a book etc, the adult with him would not feed the negative by giving too much attention and would continue to role model interest in the group activity. This would then ensure that the other children can enjoy the group time undistracted and if little johnny wants to join back in again because he sees how much fun it is then by all means he is allowed to but if the behaviour continued I would repeat this process again.

This has been hugely successful for us and although our group times are short and sweet we have had praise from schools and parents about how the behavioural expectations have helped their child at home and at new schools because they are able to actively contribute to group times and understand the behaviour expected.

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I am with you hoolahoney - children of 3 and 4 can and should be expected to start 'towing the line' in nursery. I wouldn't expect 2 year olds to do this but as they get older they need to learn to sit for a few minutes when asked.

I too will probably get lots of tutting at my 'non progressionist views but I dont care lol

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Guest terrydoo73

Thank you Hoolahoney - this is what I think I was looking for. We have had an Independent Early Years Specialist in with us who advised something similar. I feel that we are only asking for a maximum of 10 minutes every day when they listen to us and do as we ask - they have 2 hours to do what they want in terms of choice in play. Our biggest concern is the worry that he might hit a child accidentally and we are quite anxious throughout the whole 10 minutes worried where he sits, how he sits and what he does. He is a "big" child in terms of weight and height, he has been known to hurt myself and my assistant as he thrashes out - not intentionally you understand, it is what he normally does. Momentarily he will stop and may even say sorry but he soon returns to his waving of hands, kicking with the feet and moving around on the floor. My only concern about removing him from the group is you may be considered isolating a child and in some senses he has gained the attention he wants. I think for us to isolate him would be seen as a reward to him and he may continue with this action every day.

 

This week we have changed tack slightly. We used to only do rhymes but on advice we started to do some books. We used this child on the first day to hold our book and he had no objections on the days after to let others help. He seems calmer but we have to constantly engage the children asking questions and asking them to remind us of things that are happening in the story.

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You don't have to reward negative behaviour. You provide the fiddle toys as a way of preventing the unwanted behaviour. The whole point of them is that they help the child to focus on the discussion or story.

 

If you feel that you need to give the child a choice perhaps you could offer a different one. They can choose a fiddle toy and use it to help them sit nicely for a few minutes but if they start to make others uncomfortable they must put the fiddle toy away because it obviously isn't working. All children have to learn that they must be careful not to hurt each other whatever their own needs.

 

If this particular child is better engaged by books rather than rhymes perhaps a good next step could be to introduce a puppet to 'help' with story time, thereby giving stronger visual and interactive elements to the activity.

 

Could you have a complete rethink and introduce a couple of voluntary story times during the session which the children may choose to participate in but they don't have to. A child who finds it hard to sit still could then perhaps choose to join in for a short time and then go to a different activity when he or she has reached his or her limit. This could help them have a more positive view of story time and maybe they would then start choosing to stay longer.

 

As a childminder I don't have a set story time. I read books when I pick one up and a child shows interest or when a child asks me to read one. We keep going as long as someone is interested. We often spend more time talking about the book and sharing experiences they remind us of than we do reading the story itself. They usually sit for longer as they get older and I get very positive feedback from the teachers because they are very ready for story time and circle time activities when they leave to start school.

 

Learning to enjoy books, discussions and whole group activities doesn't have to be something the children are required to do in a particular part of the session or for a particular length of time if it is causing problems to do it that way.

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