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Behaviour management


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Hi,

I have been reading the document 'Supporting children with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties' and it has made me evaluate (further) how I've dealt with a particular child recently.

I have a child in my class who sometimes refuses to come to the carpet until you count down (something I don't particularly like doing) and then will come just as you finish saying 1 (while looking intently at me! So on one particular occasion, when she did this, I decided to take her to the other side of the room after she had shown this behaviour. She started to have a tantrum on the way, throwing herself to the floor, so I tried to pick her up but she struggled so I asked her to take my hand and took her across to the chair -which she did. I we spoke about her behaviour. The document about quotes the part of the EYFS statutory document about picking up children, and I now worry that I shouldn't have gone to do that (although she could have hurt me with her flailing arms and legs!) I can't remember another time that I have picked up a child to deal with behaviour but I'm now wondering where the line is?

I was reading this document as I had found it for a fellow EYFS practitioner who is writing an essay on behaviour management and is coming from it from a 'no punishment' theory. Again, this is got me thinking about how we deal with things, we simply remove the child from the situation if repeated unwanted behaviour is occurring or a significant unwanted behaviour (very rare). We always try to talk to the child simply about the behaviour (not asking 'why').

Is this similar to what other's do? I understand that unwanted behaviour is most often about expressing (often overwhelming) emotions when the child hasn't been able to verbalise it but I do feel that some children need that physical removal and not just words. But I am open to all ideas and certainly don't want to be authoritarian!

Grateful of any replies of your thoughts.

Green Hippo xxx

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I have a very challenging child in my setting.....refuses to join circle time.......storytime...or do anything she is supposed to do......we have tried everything......time out doesnt work.......kicks shouts screams to get her own way....removed her to other area and still didnt work...a colleague suggested taking the child outside the room..we have a corridor and ignore the child,,,,,,this worked and so second step....... asked child do you want to go outside or sit in storytime......she sat in storytime....so thatworked xxxxx

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When we have a child like that we leave them.

A member of staff shadows, keeps and eye, but so long as they play quietly and are engaged we dont move them. We find eventually they learn to follow the routines and if they dont, we start the usual obs in case there's an underlying reason.

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In my setting its not easy as staff are doing other things whilst storytime is on..setting up outside etc....so not easy to let her wander off and we tried letting her do what she wants but that unsettled others in the group who wanted to know why they couldnt 'go play' .

I can see there point. I feel that circle/storytimes are important as that where some teaching goes on.Suppose you have to find what worksfor you and each child. :mellow:

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When we have a child like that we leave them.

A member of staff shadows, keeps and eye, but so long as they play quietly and are engaged we dont move them. We find eventually they learn to follow the routines and if they dont, we start the usual obs in case there's an underlying reason.

What to you tell the other children who say that it's not fair x is still playing?

 

We have a little boy who every carpet time since last June had always refused to sit with the others; we used to say well they are only little or they are new but it was still going on in October so we started to take his hand and lead him to the carpet (which he does with no fuss?!)

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We find the others rarely mention it, it can make 1 or 2 try their luck but we usually explain quietly that Billy hasnt quite learnt the rules yet but they can help him, but like you we do help them to learn the rules after a certain time!

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The child who I am referring to is 3. I have another child who is a very articulate 4 year old who can also be extremely defiant but is capable of sitting for a period of time but sometimes chooses not to. We do give them a choice to either come and sit down or to sit just inside the door of the next room. We try to do this in a non-confrontational way. Sometimes, the 4 year old does choose to do this and I think she possibly needs this time. She then comes back in when she is ready.

We have got a few children this year who I think are seeking attention - they like to hear their names to be asked to come to the carpet individually and I now remind these children individually as soon as I've given the instruction so as not to create any tension when we're all waiting for these 2 or 3 children.

All the children who are presenting challenging behaviour this year, demonstrate similar behaviour at home and often come into school with themselves and sometimes the parents in a bad mood (for want of a better phrase.) We have had some success with working with the parents but I'm also aware of not going over the top with this (depending on the parents) as it can create a negative affect - the parents always asking about behaviour before anything else, asking "have you been a good girl/boy today? Or what have you done today (with a negative tone)."

An interesting discussion...

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I’ve been thinking about what’s going on for this child some questions have come to mind....

 

  • Is coming to the carpet in time for the end of the countdown really unwanted behaviour?
  • What is the issue for you of her looking intently at you as she does so?
  • Does the child perceive doing what she’s asked by the time you reach 1 as unwanted behaviour?
  • Did she understand why you took her across the room after she had done something she may feel was what she was asked?
  • Is she trying to communicate something by this behaviour?
  • Why doesn’t she want to sit down with her peers?
  • Is there a change you could make to carpet time to make it more attractive to her?
  • Is there a wider issue with carpet time for all of the children?
  • Is carpet time appropriate for three year olds?
  • If some children are feeling the need to seek attention by not coming to sit down, what could you do to give them the attention without them having to prompt it? Call everyone by name maybe?

 

Obviously I don't expect you to answer to me in any way by responding to these questions. It's just that these are some of the things I might be asking myself in this situation.

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Thanks, Upsy Daisy, for your questions. These are all the questions that have been flying through my (constantly evaluative/self-critical) head! I will answer these questions honestly - unfortunately, I'm not perfect so I will probably have made some mistakes in the way I have dealt with her - any feedback will be appreciated!

1. She is coming to the carpet after I have finished saying 1, and starting to get up. I hope I have been clear about what I expect but maybe not.

2. When I say 'looking at me intently' - I mean looking at me as if testing me and the boundaries. I've had it with my own children - they wait until they know that you really mean what you say. Having it written down, makes it sound harsh. Sometimes, she comes on '3'.

3. Yes, she did understand as I spoke to her (on her level of language).

4. This is what I am trying to fathom - what is she trying to communicate other than a need for attention. She is in a settled family situation but is effected by change (e.g. if dad brings her instead of mum she will cry coming in.) There was a week when mum was away and we saw a definite change in her behaviour. We always try to adjust how we deal with behaviour depending on each child's situation (without being inconsistent). So, in this week, she got more cuddles and the TA sat with her when necessary.

5. (and Finleysmaid's question also) - She does like sitting with her peers and loves joining in. She knows a number of our books very well, and loves reading along with me! She joins in with other games and songs well also. Once she is on the carpet, she is often no trouble at all. The worst she does is sit on her knees so the child behind can't see. She doesn't push her peers away or have any particular peer that she needs to sit with. It's as if it's the actual process of coming to the carpet that is putting her off or creating tension for her.

6. I think this is answered by the above. But I will be thinking about ways of making actually coming to the carpet more attractive. At the moment, I haven't identified a pattern to her behaviour apart from those days that we know her routine is different. Her parents told me that she has lots of tantrums at home, feet stamping etc. I wonder if she has learnt to deal with situations which she is in this way. However, that still doesn't answer the question of why.

7. I don't feel that there is a problem with carpet time at the moment for other children, however, it is something that I will consider more closely. I will get one of my TAs to do a observation for me or video a few.

8. I do feel that some form of whole group gathering session is important and I believe it happens in most settings even just for practical purposes - at a transition time, for example (but I maybe wrong). We try to keep these sessions to a minimum and as interesting as possible, nearly always including joining in in some way or another and often with props.

9. This is my train of thought at the moment. I don't really want to get into called 24 children my name. However, I could maybe ask one of my TAs to calmly offer her a hand to bring her to the carpet.

 

I think I may have painted a poor picture of this little girl. She is often very well behaved and has been trying extra hard to follow the rules recently (e.g. coming to show me that she's only mixing a little paint or that's she's holding the scissors correctly.)

 

Thanks for all your replies, questions and advice. It's nice to think through things with understanding people.

Green Hippo xxx

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I wonder if some of the strategies we use to help children with Autism might help her.

Several of the things you describe about this little girl feel familiar to me as a parent of two girls who have Asperger's Syndrome and whose symptoms were similar and very subtle at this age.

I wonder if a 'now and next...' type reminder at the beginning of the activity before carpet time plus giving her the countdown from slightly earlier might help. Think of the countdown as support rather than behaviour management.

 

Also perhaps find a way to get her seated first so there isn't a demand on her to join a large group would make it easier for her.

 

You could experiment with giving her fiddle toys or a weighted lap pad during carpet time and making make sure that she has a bit of extra space around her. It could be that, despite appearances to the contrary, she finds this activity harder than her peers.

 

Also try moving to a different area of the room if possible. She could be having a sensory issue with something like the texture/smell of the carpet or a noise from a piece of electronic equipment.

 

My younger daughter found carpet time a lot easier when she was allowed to sit inside a hula hoop to give her a little more personal space. She didn't understand herself that she needed space around her but when they all did it on one occasion, she liked it and asked if she could carry on using hers.

 

Try to make sure you warn her in advance of changes to routine. Feeling more relaxed throughout the session might help her feel more cooperative about carpet time.

 

I'm not suggesting that this child has huge difficulties or a diagnosis in store for her. In fact I sincerely hope that I'm well wide of the mark. I do think, though, that it's worth trying a few of these strategies and bearing their success/failure in mind if she develops more difficulties further down the line.

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We have children who for different reasons find group activity not to their liking , I would at one time do everything to encourage them but now I just explain that it's ok if they wish to sit out and watch. I reassure them now rather than reprimand them and found that this has worked and they are now joining in of their own free will, I suppose sometimes it's understanding that certain things aren't their bag but also knowing when the behaviour is just testing the boundaries and seeing how many buttons they can push , children need boundaries and they also need to understand that life is not always about choices but also that we respect their differences and interests .

 

It was suggested on one training exercise that all other children should be removed not just the one causing the problem , which personally I find ridiculous and not possible and why should further disruption happen .

 

I suppose we all do things differently dependent on the situation but as long as the whole team are doing the same thing that is what is important .

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Thanks for your advice Upsy Daisy and lashes2508. I will definitely keep what you've said in mind. Unfortunately, we only have one space big enough for carpet time. The children also use this area during free play and this little girl does sit here. I might try using spots or hoops.

Lashes2508 - I do agree that children need boundaries and I feel settle better when there are consistent boundaries. One of my problems is that I do not run the afternoon wrap-around and I know the staff struggle with the children. Two of the staff are same as in the morning but they have only just started to use some of the same strategies and routines as in the morning even though I've suggested this a number of times.

We also allow children to join in with group time when they are ready.

Thanks again

Green Hippo xxx

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Have you tried a picture cue card with her? This little one sounds like she might have difficulties with transitions / change. We have found an individual timetable in pictures works quite well. We currently have a simple picture which shows a ring of people and that works quite well for group time.

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