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desperately need advice on behaviour issue


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Hi all,

 

Desperately need some advice please. We have some children who are physically aggressive towards other children and staff. Two children are particularly challenging throughout the session but become much worse at the end of the session where they will throw boxes of toys across the room, up turn chairs and attempt to tip tables, push, punch, kick and wrestle to the ground other children, One child in particular is very aggressive at this time and will laugh at staff who attempt to address any unwanted behaviours. we give a 5 minute warning using a timer that it will soon be time to tidy up and as soon as we do they begin their assault. ABC obs have identified that they seek adult attention as we have tried ignoring them and praising children around them and they will then laugh and shout staff names and say "look at me" as they jump up and down on units or tip out toy boxes, some behaviour we are unable to ignore as it involves hurting the other children. We praise them for good behaviour throughout the session and have tried making tidy up time more of a game, use puppets, sing songs as we tidy, play beat the sand timer and offer lots of praise but nothing works. The other children are now copying their behaviours and more and more children won't co-operate and flatly refuse any requests to put toys away. We finish the session with a story and these two children will completely disrupt it, hitting and kicking the other children even though the children are divided in to smaller groups and are offered a choice of stories. All staff are at the end of their tether, we are working with parents and have sought advice from the sip and sts but no one is offering any advice that helps us manage the behaviours, they just tell us to identify triggers which is what we have done and offer praise for wanted behaviours which we do as much as we can and have clear boundaries so the children understand what is expected of them. We do all that but things are getting worse and staff are feeling really inadequate and on the verge of quitting because they are feeling so exhausted every day. Pleeeeeeease help oh knowledgeable people.

 

Thank you in anticipation.

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Crikey Minks, just opened this and see Im the first!! What to say? I can empathise as have been in a similar situation....we brought in Family Steps ( do you have access to this organisation) with parents permission. The advisor worked with the child at home and gave strategies for us in the setting. Was quite harsh in that there was little 'pussy footing'! We too were being kicked and punched and children were witnessing this, so we were told to remove the child from the room, two adults at all times, remove his shoes (to save our shins) and then basically ignore - chat between ourselves- and repeating 'John' when you are ready to go back and play we will take you.

Eventually the anger/behaviiour would stop and we would take him back, saying no more. This action was repeated over and over until eventually the child stopped. Obviously this strategy was advised and parents agreed but as your situation is very much a Health and Safety issue now and other children are suffering it will need strong action. Perhaps you could ask your Sip to sanction such a behaviour plan? Unfortunately kind words and deeds are not always enough to stop such disruption and agressive behaviour and firm action is needed. Very difficult and I can just imagine how demoralised your staff must feel. I would definately demand support from experts in the field. Good luck

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blimey!

 

i guess i would try to divide and conquer! can you remove them from the room into separate areas. Time out?

Have they had a snack by this time that includes carbs and protein (blood sugar levels?)

Time to get tough i'm afraid. This is completely unacceptable in my opinion

(just read rafa's post sounds a bit similar!)

Hurting anyone is not allowed and you would be entitled to remove them to protect staff and children. I had a toy thrown at my head today....one look at my face and the child burst in to tears!!! I didn't say a word but he knew it was wrong and he was sorry so fine (we made friends again later ;) )

A simple rules list is a good idea too so that you can deflect and say "but the rules say......"

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Crumbs minks I do sympathise, it gets very very wearing doesn't it (and our situation is not that extreme) like you there is lots of great verbal advise....yeah right they should try coming in for a 3 hour session and showing you how they would handle the child displaying this behaviour....which may be ok to a point even but they'd be supporting on a one to one basis which often helps but not everybody has the luxury of being able to do this without specific inclusion funding, and i can see how removing the child with 2 adults to give them some thinking time is a good strategy if you can afford having 2 staff out of ratio.

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Perhaps on top of all of this advice, very good advice I might add it s time to try sanctions that mean the parents have to take some responsibility or help?

 

If it is tidy time when its the worst, could the parents of the children come in at that time and provide you with at the very least extra pairs of hands?

 

If it was one child doing this I might be worrying about what was behind this behaviour but two doing the same indicates to me that one is copying the behaviour of the other and so maybe splitting them up ( divide and conquer as previously mentioned) would be a good place to start.

 

Squealing for extra actual help rather than a kind word from someone would be good too.

 

A couple of years ago we had a child who became a safety issue and no one wanted to help us. I put everything in writing to the head of inclusion team pointing out the dangers and it caused a right ruckus but it made folks sit up and listen. It took 12 weeks when the staff nearly pulled their hair out but eventually with us keeping on (!!!!) we did get one to one help. The child is now having his needs met outside of mainstream education.

 

I do feel for you and your staff.

 

Good luck with it. Keep us posted.

Edited by Scarlettangel
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I was fed up with trying to get support for a child from diff professionals, so just submitted a pre-caf (think i mentioned on another thread that we were going round the houses with others passing the buck )and 3 days later a TAC meeting is being organised...I got the job of organising but at least we now feel some support may be on the horizon, so could be worth a try. Good luck

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Awful time, and have been there in the past, with no other help offered than what you have described above, (which didn't work for us either) plus the parents weren't that supportive as they also had the behaviour at home and pre-school for them was a break!

 

If there are 2 of them could 1 tidy up outside and 1 help inside just to split them up?

 

This is not ideal - We actually stopped giving the 5 minute warning, because it became the trigger and just started to quietly tidy up ourselves, those children that are helpful join in with you anyway - we saw it as 'damage limitation' !!

 

Interestingly this child is now in main stream school and has been diagnosed with ADHD - we knew there was something and we needed support but in our area support for PVI is very limited

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not easy or pleasant to deal with..

 

Not sure on the kind of setting or staff ratios etc but a few suggestions

 

you say it is when you give a warning for tidy up that seems to be some of the trigger... change routine.. don't give the warning.. if it is causing part of the issue then a change may help.. I used to call all children together and give them tasks when I had tidy up issues.. and those that caused the problem were sent with a staff member to tidy a specific set thing .. apart if 2 gave trouble .. and try to identify which is the instigator and which copying..target the instigator the most... the other may calm down without his role model.. it may seem like giving attention but it is a positive way of getting it with the tidying up, can be in a small group or pairs in an area but the child causing issues always had adult support.

 

Not sure on if they are eating anything during the session or what it may be.. but check any bread if he is having it for calcium propionate 282 which has been shown to cause aggressive behaviour in some children.. i say this because we had a child who was always angry and aggressive to all second part of a session.. we worked it back to about half an hour after snack that it started.. only thing they were having was toast and fruit.. no one believed us... but on research and checking the bread we changed brand and it stopped... as a trial we went back to the first brand and unwanted behaviour returned... checked with mum and we all agreed to change bread to ensure it was not included... child settled and behaviour changed.. not saying it will help but worth consideration and checking.

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That's very interesting Inge, just googled 282, very insidious additive because it is now in so many items - not just bread, but anything with a breadcrumb in it or covering it and so many children eat breadcrumbed meat items.

 

My young granddaughter who generally slept so well in her first year has not been sleeping so well during her 2nd and I have just checked the bread she has and sure enough 282, her mum gives her fish gougons or fishcakes which are in crumb too, but haven't got any here I can check on but I will certainly point this out to her. 282 is a mould inhibitor added to bread so that the large bakeries can put bread in plastic bags before it is cooled down properly or so that they don't have to clean their machines quite so meticulously.

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I did a lot of research into additives as my son was having behaviour issues and always had sleep issues, no more than 12 in 24 hours sleep since the day he was born.. very tiring!

we had to have a very additive free diet for him, his triggers were the blue colouring.. which is found in loads of things...but he also reacted to caffeine, and lots of stuff, even into his 20s... even now he is careful with some things although outgrown a lot of them..

 

We taught him from a very young age to be aware of his behaviour changes when he had certain foods, by 5 he knew what would happen and how to avoid it.

 

After dealing with a child in the setting we found that 282 had an effect on him too.. his mates at uni would comment and knew whenever he had some in his diet..once eliminated he was fine... it is a very little commented on side effect of this additive which as you say is in so many things.

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I'm shocked, but also quite confused. Why add something to stop mould, if its fresh it wont go mouldy, if its not fresh, I dont buy it.

My youngest son has always suffered with eczema, but a few years ago it changed to become a rash that rarely leaves his face. We tried cutting out different things from his diet for a couple of weeks at a time but it rarely changed. We eat Warburtons, 282 is in it. I cant believe its could be something so basic.

I have no idea what he's eating while he's at Uni, but I'm going to suggest he looks at the labels and then see if there's a difference.

Now I'm on a mission again!

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Hi just a thought to add minks everybody else has really said it all but I guess the other option would be to ask parents to get the children early for a while not sure if you could do that, or maybe do something else with these children while everybody else tidies up so when they come back into the room it is all done.

 

I really feel for you minks, we have a child with very challenging behaviour (and to be honest we have had so many children through our doors with challenging behaviour we feel we are used to dealing with this but this child is like nothing we have had before!) in a three hour session we were having over 106 separate incidents and to be honest I just kept on phoning everyone and emailing (so I had it all in writing) laying it all out and asking for help. We have finally got the inclusion team in and they will come in and work for six weeks with us but cant get to us until after half term (second week back) we are very grateful for help I hope it will be useful but getting to that point is really hard work and we are all already tired, coping until help arrives can seem very hard when you have children for three hours every day!!!

 

good luck

xxx

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How often do these children attend? Can you alternate them so you only have one in each session? Temporarily at least? If the parents are working with you, they may well see that this might break the cycle of poor behaviour, if the children don't have each other to feed off.

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I was just thinking about this and could it be the child doesnt want the session to end or play to finish?

Maybe like Johanna says, get the parent to come in early to pick the child up if possible for a while to see if that improves behaviour.

Sometimes we just send all the children outside for some active song/storytime without them tidying up at all and a couple of staff stay in and tidy. I know they need to learn to tidy up but sometimes just getting away from the chanting group 'tidy up time, tidy up time' whilst tipping anything into any box is worth it!

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I actually removed and banned the words tidy up time in the setting... Conkers post reminded me of the dreaded running in circles telling one and all it was tidy up time chanting away and the children not doing the job. Once we removed the phrase it took a while to teach them we did not use it, was easier at the beginning of a year with new children.. we told them it was time to put the toys away... and made up a song with mulberry bush tune to go with putting things away.. it was a much calmer setting one it was the routine.. and only ever got disturbed when a child started who was used to the tidy up headless chicken routine... didn't take long to change the occasional child as others somehow did not follow.

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Hello

 

I had a child who was similar a couple of years ago so I'll tell you about him in the hope it may help.

 

He was a very angry little boy who used to throw items and slam doors, hit children, kick staff.... As you can I tell you it was a challenge.

We wondered if there was something we were missing.

 

However mum was young and struggling herself, so as his next Carer we stepped in to try to help, offer support. It was hard work at first but we soon realised what he really craved was someone to listen and hear him. We put many things in place for him, 2 min warnings of changes, timers, visuals, he was allowed special items at sitting down times, his own space on the carpet, reward charts.

 

When he has tantrums we removed everyone else and left him, completely ignoring him, he didn't like this once he realised no one 'cared'

 

It took many weeks but each day got better and by the time he left us he was a different child.

 

Mum still thanks us for our support to this day.

 

I can't promise it'll work for your situation but anythings worth trying. At the end of the day, he needs support rather than being turned away.

 

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Guest sn0wdr0p

My 12 year old has ADHD and autism and 9 year old is autistic and we have found that sodium metabisulphite and sodium benzoate are massive triggers. Its a preservative found in dilute juice so we have to buy organic juices and I think Morrisons have a range that do not have it in. That might be one to try omiting. Thanks for the info about 282 didn't know about that and we always have Warburtons loaves.

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Some really good advise as always. Having had a child with challenging behaviour last year and understanding how exhausting it can be just want to add a few things which I hope will compliment what others have said. Our little boy has just been diagnosed with Aspergers, although I knew this was highly likely, we didn't have a diagnosis at the time. We too had a parent put in a written complaint, others wanting exclusion, which although we understood parents' concerns we did not want we just needed help. Had to jump up and down a bit but got the help we needed in the end. Portage came in to support and we used strategies from the Webster Stratton Incredible Years behaviour management strategies.

 

Our little boy was very controlling and liked adult attention but his behaviour was also his way of communicating his feelings with us. When his behaviour deteriorated to hitting other children, throwing things, hitting staff we called a code word which changed on a weekly basis so the child did not become familiar with it. This code was for staff to call other staff for support. So the code word was called - let's say 'nellie the elephant' - staff would remove all other children, calmly, the adults in the setting need to remain calm to show that they can cope with the child's emotions even if he could not.

 

The child was told calmly that when he had calmed down then he could rejoin the other children. His behaviour got worse before it got better because he felt he needed to escalate his behaviour. Staff had to sometimes be a human barrier, carrying 'effective ignoring', being hit and trying to push past, ignoring everything, and talking positively and loudly about what the other children were doing.

 

We had to make sure the child was truely calm before he returned to the other children otherwise there would quickly be another incident. Once we could see the child's beginning to calm down, we told him that we could see that he was beginning to calm down, and using a 5 minute sand timer we told him that when the sand had got to the bottom, then he could rejoin the others, using when and then commands.

 

If the child trashed the setting it was ignored but we eventually got him to replace some of the items before returning to the other children. We took small steps.

 

Your child's needs and behaviour may not be as extreme as ours but we found we could use some of the stategies with other children. It took some weeks but things did improve, some improvement almost straightaway, but consistency is the key.

 

We explained to the parent exactly what we were doing, this took some persuasion but eventually the parent was mostly on board, we put the strategy in writing and explained the reasoning.

 

Hope this is of some help.

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