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Behaviour Management Under 3's


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Hi all,

 

Help!

 

We have a child who has just started at nursery. He attends full time and comes from a previous nursery where he was full time.

Mum has said that she took him out as the previous nurseries behaviour management was appaling and they used to tell her infront of the child that he was naughty! :o

 

He is in the pre-school room, but isn't three until August. He does seem to struggle sometimes in the afternoon, so we have been allowing him time in the two to three year olds room for some chill time. He has been really benefiting from this and is calmer and quiter in the toddlers room than the pre-school room (where his sister is also untill she starts school in September).

 

He is really struggling with his behaviour in the pre-school room. We are allowing for the fact that he isn't yet 3, but he seems to thinks time out is a game. He moves the chairs around, runs around the room, laughs and smiles at us. He smiles and laughs at us when he is being told off - we are on his level, low voices, simple direct language.

 

We don't know what else is worth a try. We praise him, give stickers and encourage his positive behaviour, but he says he wants the stickers in the bin.

 

Please help!

 

Lu

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Hi Lu

Can I ask if he isn't yet three why is he in the pre-school room? It seems to me that perhaps he is being asked to cope with a situation which he is not yet ready for. And the fact that his older sister is there may not help either.

I would think that if he is coping well in the toddler room then that is where he should be and that he should be moved into the pre-school room when he is able to manage his behaviour better. You at least have the luxury of having seperate rooms for the different ages and perhaps need to adjust the move from one to another according to each child's development not just because they have reached a certain age.

We have children from 2 years 9 months to school age and they are all together in the same rooms. Our keyworker groups are split according to their ages, but if we feel a child is not ready to move up to the older group we keep them back until we feel they would cope, or if a child is ready early to move on we would do so.

Linda

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Hi, I totally agree with Linda!

 

I'm in a Daycare setting, sometimes there are specific setting pressures which mean a child is placed in a room other than the normal choice, but we do try to minimise this, and it will usually be to a child's advantage, which, from what you say doesn't really seem to be the case here.

 

Our pre-school room has children from 2.6 to school age, but if a child is ready sooner, with parental permission they move up; equally, if we feel they aren't ready, with parental permission they stay where they are. We have really good relationships with our parents and usually there are no problems, parents being happy that we know their children well enough.

I hasten to add, these decisions are NOT one-sided, but the result of ongoing dialogue.

 

Like Linda, our keyworker groups are age-linked, although if a child is ready for more, they will move through the groups appropriately (again, in consultation with parents)

 

Sue

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I've seen it from the other way round, children who are ready to move to an older group being kept where the are because they're not the right age yet. A definite difference is seen when these children visited the older room for any length of time. :)

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How long has he been with you?, Is he still settling / inducting into your routines etc? What are the behaviour issues?

You have obviously identified that afternoons are more difficult, which shows you are noticing a pattern, possibly due to tiredness?

 

I agree with others that children need to be placed in peer groups that are appropriate to their development. When he is in the preschool room does he still have access to BTTM principles and resources?

 

It does appear that the method of time out chair is not suitable for him as he appears not to understand the concept of it. What other positive behaviour methods have been tried?

 

Sorry, lots of questions.

 

Peggy

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Thank you for you help,

 

He started in the group about a month ago. His sister has settled really well and quickly and he seems to understand the daily routine and what is expected of him.

 

Although we are simplifying activities for him to access more appropriately he does not really have access to BTTM resources or planning as none of the pre-school staff have much experience with this.

 

He was placed in the pre-school room in consultation with his mum as we felt that he would settle better. He is quite reliant on his sister (who also struggles occassionally with her behaviour. We had two full on massive tantrums from her yesterday - on her back arms and legs going and screaming her head off! She also struggles with sharing). As he is three in August we felt that if he settled in one room and then was asked a month later to start settling across in the other room that this may just completly confuse him - hence the decision. As we've been monitoring him though he doesn't seem ready to cope and we're trying to help him before reaching the decision that he really does need to go down a group to the toddlers room.

 

His behaviour is: he hits, kicks and pinches the adults (hasn't done the children yet thankfully), he snatches and breaks children's toys, he doesn't respond when asked to do something, and will quite often tip toys out when asked to tidy up, he tries to escape from the room and run around the nursery whenever possible and is really wearing us out! The main thing is that he is hurting the staff alot - especially when we are explaining his behaviour to him. We talked about being gentle, which he did seem to understand, but when he hit me and i asked him to be gentle he said that he didn't want to.

 

Any help is gratefully received, but i do think i'm going to have to discuss with the manager about moving him into the toddlers group.

 

Lu

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This isn't much help with the current situation, but I would just add that you appear to have identified a training need in your PS staff, in that they have little experience of BTTM. I think it would be useful to give them some training on this as some of the children moving up from Toddlers could still need to be working within this framework.

 

Besides it's good professional development and can only help when the new EYFS comes in!

 

Sue

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I haven't got much "practical" ideas, but it is early days yet. Getting to know this young boy, his true character etc will show once he has formed relationships with staff. There are so many reasons why he may find this difficult.

I see your point about two changes in a short period, but I think, especially as staff knowledge and resources are for older children in the preschool room, that maybe he would be better suited in the toddler room. He needs to feel secure and build relationships, this will enable him to transfer in the future. Your transition arrangements could include a more gentler introduction to the expectations of the preschool room in September. I'm also thinking that the dynamics of the preschool room is often changing during the summer term as the children there are getting used to the idea of moving on to school, which in itself can cause changes of behaviour with the older children through a natural anxiety of imminent change.

 

He will also have the summer holiday break, so I think starting now in the toddler room can build relationships that will enable him to feel positive, then keep him in the toddler room september for a little while, gradually supporting the transition into preschool room over the first few weeks. he would also be an older toddler for a little while, which can build confidence. Parent pressure can be elleviated if the term "up to" preschool room, or "down to" toddler is not used. This gives the impression that one is "better" than the other. Use the term "across" as both are valid "groups" in their own right. Discuss with the parent why you think this is in his best interest, not because he is delayed in any way, because I think his behaviour appears to be normal for a child who has just changed settings, especially as his previous behaviour management experiences were not appropriate for him. It's not about "promoting" a child "up" the preschool scale, it's about meeting his transition needs.

 

Early days to tell if he does have any developmental / social / emotional problems which are causing his aggresive behaviour and you are obviously observing his patterns of behaviour carefully.

 

I also understand why you would initially have him in the same room as his sister, to help the settling in process. Is he still reliant on his sister, for a play mate for example?. If not then I personally don't think it hurts if they are seperated, sometimes it can be a burden ( for want of a better term) for older siblings to be responsible for younger ones. The sister may appreciatte her own individual time in the setting away from little brother. Do the 2 groups ever mix during the day? This is a good way to meet individual development needs within own peer group but sometimes have opportunities to mix with older/younger peers, both developing attitudes and skills alongside each other.

 

Good luck with this phase, as I hope it is, just a phase, and just keep on doing what you are doing so well, considering this childs ongoing needs.

 

Peggy

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Just another thought, what are his strengths?, What positive behaviour does he display? Build on these ( as I am sure you already know) and try to ignore attacks on staff, without a response they will cease, in time :o

 

Peggy

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