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Behaviour management - I need suggestions please

(10 Posts)
Runoutofideas Fri 14-Feb-14 14:13:32

I am a CM to a little girl who is challenging me at the moment. She is 3 1/2 and is pushing the boundaries. Generally I try a very positive approach with her such as "If you sit nicely and eat your lunch then you'll get a sticker" rather than "no, don't run around - sit still" etc etc This tends to work and keeps her in a happy frame of mind.

The problem comes when she does something wrong. (This week she has put her hands around the 18 month old's neck and squeezed, as well as woken up two sleeping babies on purpose.) When she does this, if I tell her off I seem to start the "spiral of doom" where lots of unwanted behaviour follows. If I send her to time out/naughty step or similar she just grins at me and says "I like the step - I want to be here". If I say "I'll take your doll away and put her in your bag" she says "I don't want to play with it anyway". I have explained to her why I don't like what she has done, and when appropriate, why it is dangerous and what could happen but she just doesn't seem to care.

It seems to be a dominance/jealousy thing. She is only like it with the smallest children, rather than with any older or bigger than her. She has plenty of 1-1 time so it really isn't about lack of attention. I'm a bit stumped as to what to try. (The parents are lovely, but not particularly firm and seem shocked by some of the things she does, but don't have any suggestions .) Any ideas?

CheesyBadger Fri 14-Feb-14 16:39:48

Can you get her to help with the younger children, make her a special helper badge and try and build a bond between them so she cares if she upsets them. My daughter is like her with the spiral, and I have found the only way is talking to her in times of calm about her feelings and trying to build bonds. Also I try to give her coping techniques eg if you feel cross, do something which makes you happy. In her case, books

CheesyBadger Fri 14-Feb-14 16:40:20

Make a note of it all too so you can look back and see what works

ForgettableTampon Fri 14-Feb-14 16:56:00

I think you might need to turn your thinking around a bit and take away the conditionals

So - sit nicely please, feet forwards, well done, super THANK YOU <beaming smile> no reward other than your approval and shed loads of praise

talk about kind hands, be super vigilant and ready to block or parry an attempt with your body or forearms

waking sleeping babies, can you rethink sleeping arrangements/engage her in an absorbing activity in another room

basically keep her busy with no bribery becazuse for this vhild it's just not effective.

Is this any help?

ChocolateHelps Fri 14-Feb-14 17:08:32

Have a read of 'how to talk so kids will listen' gives really positive ideas of things to do without punishing

Runoutofideas Fri 14-Feb-14 17:17:25

Thanks - the ideas do help.

Forgettabletampon - I do try to do a lot of what you suggest, most of the time. It is not all conditional. I often say things like "lovely sharing", "I'm really pleased with your great walking today" - that kind of thing. It doesn't feel as though she seeks my approval though. She's generally lovely it is just as though sometimes a switch flips and she turns into a different child!

The unwanted behaviour comes out of nowhere. When she squeezed the little one's neck, she just calmly walked over to her and did it. There was no previous altercation - we were all playing happily together and I was within 1m of her. She grinned at me as she was doing it. It didn't appear malicious - more of an experiment to see what happened......

When she woke the 2 younger children, I was playing with her in a separate room, doing a jigsaw. She was fully engaged so I popped to the loo. When I came out she said "I've woken up X". I said something along the lines of "Oh no - you mustn't wake people when they are asleep. X is sad now because she's been woken up and she was tired". (at this point X is screaming her head off!) While trying to get the little one back to sleep, child says to me "Is it time for Y to wake up now" I said "No - we need to let her sleep. She'll wake up later. Don't wake her up." As I turned my attention back to the screaming baby, she slipped upstairs and woke up Y - despite fully understanding that she had been told not to. At that point I was really cross with her - but felt a bit powerless to know what to do with her for the best. What would you have done at that moment?

ForgettableTampon Fri 14-Feb-14 17:20:29

plough on my dear

HTT is a really good book

Stairgate could be a really low tech approach to the sneaking up to poke the babies?

ForgettableTampon Fri 14-Feb-14 17:22:18

standard stairgates are quite simple for a nifty three year old to finangle open but the roller styles are a bit trickier, bwa ha hah this style

Runoutofideas Fri 14-Feb-14 17:22:21

x-post chocolatehelps. I have read the book and do try to follow a lot of the principles, however sometimes behaviour cannot just be ignored, I feel - especially if it is dangerous to other children. I find it hard as there is no lead up to some of the behaviour, therefore no chance, it seems to me, to nip it in the bud.

Runoutofideas Fri 14-Feb-14 17:25:40

Thanks forgettable - she can indeed open my stairgate....hmm maybe I need to make it more difficult somehow! I'm hoping that was a one-off, but she's keeping me on my toes working out what she might try next!

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