Difficult behaviour in nursery - how to deal with it?(11 Posts)
My DS has just turned 3. He has always been 'high needs' from birth. High needs baby, high needs toddler, and continues in the same way.
He is extremely stubborn, and wilful, as many toddlers are. He can be extremely difficult to manage, but generally, I can cope with him.
I'm aware he has a few behaviours which are outside the range of normal stuff. Or at the least, the extreme end of normal.
I am at the beginning of the process of having him assessed to ensure if he needs extra help, he gets it. I am currently doing a positive parenting course, as without this, he can not be referred (according to the HV). I'm coming to the end of the course, and nothing has changed during the 14 weeks. Everything covered is basic, simple stuff that we've already 'seen there, done that'.
However, my biggest challenge right now is his behaviour in nursery. I feel sick with dread collecting him each day to be told he's had another bad day. Today was no exception. He bit his keyworker, because he had snatched a toy from another child, and she removed it from him and reprimanded him.
In nursery he is biting, pushing, and having continual tantrums, including headbanging.
At home, he has never bitten, or pushed other children. We've had occasional toy snatching, but I have stepped in and it's been okay (no biting or tantrums).
He was having tantrums at home that escalated to headbanging. But in the last 4 months, these have reduced, and now I can't remember the last time he was headbanging at home.
I'm at a loss as to how to deal with this behaviour. I have asked nursery to remove him from the room, to allow him time to tantrum/self regulate and cool off. They said they can't do this because of staff ratios. This is a tactic I use at home, with good effect. It stops the escalation that he can quickly go in to where by his behaviour deteriorates and the tantrum becomes continuous. I have provided him with comfort items, a teething ring to bite on, if that's what he needs to do. These have had no effect as yet.
One of the issues he seems to have is overstimulation in the environment. The room is a big room. He struggles on days out with me, and the weekly toddler group we attend. But he is okay in the shops/supermarket, park, etc. If the nursery is busy, his behaviour is usually worse, but not always.
A lot of his behaviours are attention seeking. He is actively seeking attention whichever way he can get it. Even at home, no amount of positive praise stops all the attention seeking behaviour. I use ignore for unwanted behaviours, and time out (cool off) for dangerous behaviours either to himself or others.
Quite honestly, I'm removing him from the nursery in a few weeks. But I am concerned that this behaviour will continue in a new setting, and I'm going to end ul needing to remove him from chuldcare.
Right now, it's optional. But come July, I'm back at work, and he has to go to a childminder/nursery combo. I'm a single parent, and I'm terrified I'm going to lose my home if childcare can't cope with him. Nursery have rung me on several occasions to collect him as they couldn't manage him.
Where do I go from here?
Sorry for the irritating iPad autocorrect fails!
I have a similar child although a little older, I thread started tonight, so will watch yours for advice too.
The only thing I can think of is when my some was in day nursery, they made him a quite corner (it was maybe 1.5ft between a wooden den thing and the wall) they but cushions in and netting say 3ft high across the top that came down over the opening.
so if he needed quiet time or time to cool down he could go there, it may not be practical in the room but it is worth asking, possibly speak to the new nursery before he starts and see if it would be possible and if they have any other suggestions to help him.
(ps it is not a place for the nursery nurses to put him for a time out, but a place he can chose to go to for quiet time)
is it possible to put him with cm and nursery that will follow the same +ve parenting methods that you are being trained in? Consistency will make a difference and hopefully when he goes to school full time they can also coordinate with you.
At the minute, I want him to stay in a nursery setting.
I'm looking around for somewhere more suitable for him. I'm having some issues with finding a place that can offer us 15 hours over 2 days however. They want us to use a 10 hour day and a 5 hour half day. I need him to do 2 7.5 hour days so he isn't missing out on his hours. 3 5 hour sessions don't work for us either as he will have to miss out on hours either at the start or the end of the day.
He really does need to be completely out the environment. Quiet places etc don't work. I've tried. But he needs to come away completely.
Time out is time out to cool down, not the naughty step thing. That's what he needs, time out to cool off and self regulate. Nursery are aware that's what in asking them to do.
I know you want to keep him in a Nursery setting but maybe a CM will be able to cater to his (and your) needs better?
I would suggest that a childminder might be better for you. You'd need to be up front with how he can behave so that the childminder can assess whether they are able to care for him properly alongside the other children they are responsible for.
Alternatively, have you looked at any nurseries attached to schools. My DD1 was challenging at that age. She did 2 terms at a private preschool and then moved to a preschool that was part of a school. In hindsight the school was so much better equipped to deal with challenging children and the staff so much more experienced.
Different settings work better with different dc. If they've not been going to nursery as a baby, it would be hard for any of them to start on long days I think at age 3.
I found I had to wean one of mine in by starting on five mornings. It then became routine to them. They got used to the dc, the staff, the setting and if they were feeling stressed, only had a few hours to cope with. Then later on I changed to 2.5 days per week.
I had friends who's dc didn't settle in the nursery setting at all at age 3. So they took them out and tried a different setting a few months later. One went to a childminder who just had one other dc there. Another went to the pre school attached to the school which was more formal, less noisy, smaller group.
It's just about thinking what works for him and trying to find something suitable. It might be that he'd get used to doing long days if you had say six months of doing mornings only. Or it might be about the choas, noise, too many other dc in which case the quieter environment of a cminder might work. It's not forever - it's a year or so until they start school. If you are going to need before and after school care following that it might be good to get him used to a cminder. I know you've said you would prefer a nursery setting, but certain personality types just don't cope well with hoards of people for extended periods of time.
He's been going to nursery for 11 months, after a month with a CM.
I probably didn't make it clear, he actually enjoys nursery. He loves going. So it's not that which is the problem if you know what I mean.
He started off doing 2 7.5 hour days, but I'd just take him for 5 hours at a time maximum. Gradually he did the full 7.5.
Then I upped him to 2 days plus 2 afternoons after he got some funding.
I can't do it from January as I'll be on no pay. So he's going back down to just his funded hours for 3 months.
I've thought about a school nursery - this may work better for him. There's no places at the minute at any suitable school nurseries. He will be going to school nursery from sept 16 however.
Sorry if I'm missing any points. I'm on my phone and it's a pain to keep scrolling back and forth!
A cm isn't an option right now for a couple of reasons, but in 8 months him and his little brother will be doing 7am-8.30pm twice a week with a CM, with nursery for him during the middle of the day.
So really you've done what you can to ease him in. You're working with the nursery so that there are consequences for his actions. You're trying to get him assessed. And you're using recommended techniques to try and help his behaviour.
If you havent already, would it be worth sitting down with the manager and just trying to sort out some strategies? They must have seen this before. They ought to be able to provide some sort of quiet area for him and recognise it happening before it escalates. It sounds like he needs extra support from them really to cope.
I'm really not experienced but I'm hoping someone will come along who is. I feel for you. I have a friend with similar issues and she finds it so wearing. Every time they call her in her heart sinks and she feels it's her being told off. When she does everything possible at home, has been on numerous child/parenting behaviour courses. Now her dc is at school they have various strategies in place so that all staff are dealing with the behaviour consistently.
My ds had a terrible time at nursery ans like you I dreaded picking him up. He is at a different nursery now and his behaviour ia transformed.
Join the discussion
Please login first.