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DS age 3 being unkind to other children in Nursery for no reason

(41 Posts)

I had to stay back today on collection to speak to his teacher, she said he has a lovely nature but by about 11.15am he seems to switch and in free play time for no reason will approach other children and push them. They have spent since 4th Sept intervening and trying to keep him busy. She tells me he is a bright boy but struggles sometimes with following the rules i.e. to stop playing and sit on the carpet, sharing etc. She wants to know what is going on in his head.

I'm now sitting here blaming myself, as my ExH and I separated when he was 11 months old and I do my best as a lone parent but is this him working through anger issues due to the past? Am I not strict enough with him? I do time outs and rewards or sanctions depending on behaviour. I do not let bad behaviour slide at home or when out and about.

The only thing he does at home that I've noticed, is to sometimes wind his sister up, there is a lot of sibling rivalry or he causes trouble when bored i.e. snatches toys off his sister and other attention seeking behaviour, which I deal with swiftly.

He's never been in day care, he just did the hours at pre school, prior to Nursery, he was tricky there too at times but improved massively during that period.

The teacher said she's going to be asking the professionals for their advice on what to do next but wanted to let me know. As with only 2 of them in there, they cannot spend the whole academic year in this situation. Which I do understand of course.

I feel like a failure. He doesn't randomly hurt his sister at home for no reason sad He was a late talker and still struggles sometimes to express himself and to say it with words not tantrums. The issues begin when in a large group of children it seems sad

WWYD to help improve things? Am I over thinking and this is a good thing to get him support now and resolve issues, before he's doing it in Reception or Year 1.

ChoccyJules Fri 21-Sep-12 13:28:22

Maybe he needs strategies for certain situations, like playing with other kids. He may know he wants to join in but isn't sure what to do or say next so he pushes them instead, like physical contact in place of verbal? You could do some pretend play with his teddies etc at home and talk about sharing, letting everyone join in, making up rules of games together etc.

Also I would get his hearing checked. Lots of kids his age get glue ear which can fluctuate. This would mean on some days his hearing is down and he may miss instructions or explanations. Then the teacher will expect him to do something the next day and he didn't really get it the first time. If there is a hearing issue it can be an explanation of the stuff mentioned in my first paragraph (not overheard enough other children playing to ingrain the how-to's in his head).

Hope some of this is useful. If he does have glue ear it's usually fixed by antibiotics, occasionally grommets.

EvaPeron Fri 21-Sep-12 13:29:28

Does he get a snack during the morning at nursery? He may not realise that he's suddenly getting hungry or feel able to express it.
Presumably there is something that triggers a sudden change in behaviour which might give some clues.

Yes he has two pieces of fruit at snack time apparently.

I know he is very tired by late morning, which may not help.

He is incredibly tall and towers over the other Nursery children, so it's not ideal if he is pushing them. Or is it play fighting? He is like a tiger cub with his sister and they muck about a lot together.

expatinscotland Fri 21-Sep-12 13:37:01

My son, age 3, is doing this as well. But the situation with us is that last year his elder sister was diagnosed with cancer and I went away with her to live in another city whilst she underwent treatment. She died in July.

Hopefully the ed psych can help us get some strategies for him.

I'd go for the professional advice if it's offered.

expatinscotland Fri 21-Sep-12 13:37:52

My son is also larger and taller than the others in there.

pickledparsnip Fri 21-Sep-12 13:38:24

Sounds like a normal tired 3 year old to me!

Pancakeflipper Fri 21-Sep-12 13:42:13

Tired and hungry won't help.
I think he will adjust.
Try a reward chart at home that if he does behave at nursery then you do a happy dance and tell him you are so proud.

My DS2 behaved appallingly if ever someone new comes into their room - staff, new child, a trainee nursery nurse. He pushes the boundaries. But he reacts well to positive praise. Perhaps the nursery could do a reward chart system? Ours does and my son is encouraged by it.

Tiredmumno1 Fri 21-Sep-12 14:17:38

Mome I would second the other poster who said getting his hearing checked.

It was also a good idea about using the reward/sanction strategy at home regarding his behaviour whilst he is not with you.

Does their dad put the same things in place when he has the kids for visits? Does dd have the same rewards/sanctions for good/bad behaviour?

He doesn't have them for visits nowadays. He comes here a twice a week. Don't ask <sigh>

Tiredmumno1 Fri 21-Sep-12 14:28:23

Could it be that if your ex is having to come to yours, that it may be causing any confusion for him? (sorry trying not to delve to far into your personal life)

I don't think so. ExH has come here for visits regularly in the last 3 years and we do do stuff together with them occasionally, we're very amicable. But he's moved out of the OW's and back into a flat again recently, as they've broken up.

I know DS misses him and often asks when he'll see him next.

Oh I don't know, I am looking at my own parenting and questioning if his current struggles are my fault. But maybe it's a culmination of things. He's not had an easy ride being party to my marriage imploding and with me coping with two children 17 months apart on my own since. But I try my best.

Tiredmumno1 Fri 21-Sep-12 14:45:48

Oh mome please don't blame yourself, you are a great mum, don't you dare think differently, I am really trying to think what else you can do. I know things have probably been difficult since the split, but you are doing a really good job, I know you spend a lot of time doing things with the kids and taking them places, so it's not like he is fighting for your attention.

DutchOma Fri 21-Sep-12 15:07:14

Good idea for the nursery teacher to ask the 'professionals' if she feels she can't cope.
You are doing a hard job and shouldn't blame yourself.
You know your mother wasn't right when she said you should smack him; give yourself some credit for sticking to your guns. Id you hadn't you might now have a child that thinks it is right to push, hit, whatever. Just let it go, at least till the half term holiday. He must be so very tired and you becoming a bit despondent isn't going to help.

Elmofan Fri 21-Sep-12 15:56:21

I think he should be given lots & lots of praise when he is being good . Really send the message home to him that his good behaviour is lovely , so then when he is naughty removing him from the playtime to a time-out and removing any further attention until time out is over should hopefully make him want to be nice to get a positive response iykwim .

"The teacher said she's going to be asking the professionals for their advice on what to do next but wanted to let me know. As with only 2 of them in there, they cannot spend the whole academic year in this situation." OK this bothers me tbh . His behaviour really doesn't seem that bad to me hmm it's what a LOT of 3yr olds do . Also the fact that his sister is close in age to him it could be learned behaviour , as in he has learned that by pushing his sister he gets control of the toy/situation he wants .

Surely they are trained to handle such things ? Are they fully qualified ?
Does distraction work with him ?

You are a fantastic mum x

ChoccyJules Fri 21-Sep-12 16:20:45

What Elmo said.

And sorry, OP, when I was blathering on at the beginning, I didn't also say what I'd planned, which is please don't blame yourself. There'll be a reason somewhere and until it can be found, yep, he's not the only 3 yr old who can behave like this!

Elmo She used to teach year 5 and has only taught Nursery for a couple of years. I think DS is more spirited than her usual child sad So she's ran out of ideas.

AngelDog Fri 21-Sep-12 18:57:31

Giving him more protein at breakfast might help - for many children, a bit of fruit isn't enough to get blood sugar levels on an even keel by mid morning. It helps reduce feelings of tiredness and irritability too.

Breakfast is usually porridge. Fruit is the snack Nursery give him.

gomummygone Fri 21-Sep-12 19:37:01

Firstly, please don't blame yourself Mome, you are a great mum!!!

Don't know if it's at all helpful but DS has a friend (almost 4yo) who often behaved as you describe at a group we attend. She is so lovely but about 11am would change quite dramatically - pushing, hitting, grabbing toys, screaming, etc. Her poor parents took her for all kinds of investigations and after many months of struggling with it, found out that she had quite a number of food allergies, including many of the items we usually have for snack, which is at about 10:30! I have no idea how it works, but her mum says that avoiding these things has improved her behaviour immensely.

I used to have horrendous reactions to food colourings but he doesn't eat anything like that tbh confused

CheerfulYank Fri 21-Sep-12 21:44:47

Awww, Mome, it's not your fault. Some children are just naturally more spirited than others.

Have you asked him why he pushes? What does he say?

He's not articulate enough Cheerful, he can't explain it yet. The teacher asks, I ask him. He cannot answer it.

Pancakeflipper Fri 21-Sep-12 22:25:01

That may be part of the issue OP, he cannot yet put into words how he feels so he is physical in an inappropriate manner. My DS2 has calmed down a lot recently as he matures in social nuances.

Don't worry too much. If they want to bring in other people let them because if there are any issues then it's better to be aware of them or they may have some ideas for the teachers to try to help your son settle

I still would go with positive praise at nursery and home

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