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I manage a day nursery. 2 girls in my pre school room are the very best of friends. ...indeed they are each others "rock".....however recently 1 of the 2 has been "picking" on the other one......not constantly and it appears to be totally unprovoked. The mother of the other child is become very concerned saying the child is crying in bed, not wanting to come to nusery and indeed she does start crying when mum takes her into her room. Mum will stay, trying to calm her down.

We have spoken to both children particularly the aggressor in a way we hope she understands. Mum has spoken to me and my deputy separately saying she isnt happy. We have tried keeping the girls apart but they are best buddies and always gravitate back to each other. The other day the child who "cries" came in the other morning absolutely fine had a little chat with me....but when they got in the room she started crying and clinging to mum. I went into the room and asked if she would come to me which she did quite happily letting go of mum who then left. She was a bit upset for about 10 mins but soon calmed down.


I have a meeting with mum and dad next week to discuss "issues".....i dont know the parents well as i have only been there 2 months, i want to keep them on side. Any suggestions as to what i could say about this situation?

I also had to send the child home the other day as she vomited....the policy states 48 hours away.....which mum wasnt too happy about either so no doubt that will come up though I'm ok with this.

Any suggestions etc gratefully received x

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There is a term for this "relational aggressions".

There are lots of articles on the net which explain it but supporting children through it seems to be very much a case of helping children develop emotional literacy particularly encouraging the "aggressor" to recognise the hurtfulness of their actions and encouraging the "victim" to develop their self confidence and readiness to engage in more balanced peer relationships. The article below is quite readable (don't be put off by the term bully)


This is also a good read:


and some of the stuff from the SEAL programme can be quite useful - we made a "Feelings Finders" treasure box and use it to help the children become "emotions explorers"



In terms of the parents there are two separate issues

The 48 hour sickness exclusion is just that.

The "peer relationships" is something else - perhaps it is worth drawing up an individual support plan where both the setting and parents help support your "victim" to develop her self-confidence. If it is a shared plan you can reassure parents that you are "doing something" in the setting and if they have a part to play they are also being supportive of their little one. Your part of the plan could be to put in work with both your "victim" and all the other children in your setting about emotional literacy - maybe part of their plan could be for them to encourage their little one to have some play dates with other children that your "victim" is friendly with so that she can broaden her circle of friends. It wouldn't help for you to come up with a joint phrase for the "vicitim" to use when her "aggressor" starts on her e.g., in a loud voice "stop that I don't like it" - that way she is "standing up for herself" and also using a loud voice will help draw adult attention to a situation that they might not otherwise notice in the setting.

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