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CM and DC's behaviour(29 Posts)
Our older DC has been displaying some aggressive behaviour towards our baby DC, usual toddler behaviour towards new(ish) baby sibling. We have actually seen massive improvements at home and DC1 has been occasionally hitting other children at nursery but they don't see this as a major issue.
However it seems that at the CM where they both go one day a week she is struggling with DC1's behaviour towards DC2 (and another issue around mealtimes).
CM left me a note in DC1's diary, it's hard to discuss with both DCs there at drop off/pick up and with DC2 crying for me (very briefly at drop off and then if not cuddled immediately at pick up, in fact at pick up it's more DC1 wanting me to hear about their day, asking for a snack etc.)
I'm going to tell the CM about our strategies but they may not always be practical for her. With aggressive behaviour, we tend to cuddle DC2 and give attention there, and not do much to DC1 except possibly say quickly "no hitting remember". Occasionally we remove DC1 from the situation if it's more of a tantrum, and sit together 1-1 to calm down. DH reminds me that sometimes he also physically intervenes if the situation looks like it's escalating (mainly by removing DC2).
The mealtime behaviour is tipping over plates and to be honest we rarely get this any more, it was a behaviour from about a year ago if not more. If DC1 is getting worked up at mealtimes we usually place the plate out of reach as a preventative measure though we do occasionally remove DC1 from the table to calm down, again probably 1-1, if it's getting really bad. At home, DC1 seems to have worked out that tipping over plates = no more food, and is normally a very good eater and doesn't want meal times to end.
The problem is of course that 1-1 isn't that practical for the CM who has our 2 DCs and sometimes another child.
So I'm planning to give the CM a call but wondering if there's anything to remember/do/say or not say? Should I tell her about our strategies even where she can't really use them? Any other suggestions (I may come back and say we've tried it... we have tried a lot and not everything worked).
Quick bump now the children are
sort of in bed.
Oh dear, dropped off at nursery today and DC1's keyworker wants to bring forward parent's meeting that was due to be in a couple of weeks' time, to discuss the same types of issues.
I'm due to ring CM tonight.
I hope your chat went well, working in partnership with your childminder is a brilliant thing to do to help there child right from wrong.
Tbh I have found children behave very differently for me than they do their parents and what works at home may well not work at her setting.
How's it going drspouse?
Are the cm or nursery ABCing behaviours (looking at what was before & consequences etc?)
Thanks for your replies. My chat with CM went OK and I haven't spoken to nursery properly yet. CM is very very fond of DC2 (obviously we are too but we feel DC1 struggles a little more and DC2 can be a bit of a drama llama, crying if DC1 looks sideways for example). CM thinks the behaviour is mainly due to being told not to do something (or at mealtimes due to wanting something else to eat). I'm not completely sure it's that simple but I think CM is mainly telling me because she's worried about DC2 rather than can't handle DC1. She's very good at being calm and repeating that there's nothing else to eat, or that DC1 can't do whatever it was.
We had a pretty stressful breakfast today (wanted X, there was porridge cooked already, it was too hot and almost got flung, was yukky, then was gobbled down and more was demanded. This is really common, if the no 1 choice for a meal isn't what we are having, we get screams and attempts to tip over the plate, then it all gets eaten and DC1 wants more.
Then I had to go out for a Guide thing all day and we had another stressful screaming tea with food wrong, too hot, wrong format, grabbing everyone's plates and cutlery, and being sent upstairs for a couple of minutes having tipped over a bottle of vinegar, weeing on the bedroom floor, but then eating every bite of tea, and lovely cuddles and calm bedtime despite having to let the water out of the bath because of splashing.
Nursery say there has been throwing of a chair too as well as hitting, I haven't gone into what is leading up to this behaviour yet but will do that this week.
I was paranoid the CM wanted to terminate our contract but she doesn't, but now I'm getting equally paranoid about nursery (don't think they are about to exclude DC1 but just that they are at the end of their tether) and the same with school - DC1 needs a fair bit of 1-1 and this helps a lot, but will be at school from September.
Has he had any assessments? It might be worth thinking about (I'm not suggesting anything as nothing you have said rings huge alarms with me).
He has a lot of time to grow up between now & september but if he still needs quite a bit of 1:1 school won't cope with that so it might be worth getting an assessment now? In case that means some extra support can be put in place at school (I know it rarely works like that, but it can help schools to have more details about what's going on).
I'd ask for their written report on the chair throwing. Ask them to ABC incidents if they aren't already (let me find a link)
Thanks, I will suggest that. They are using 1-1 as preventative I think, which helps us too, but I agree they won't be able to do as much at school.
I have done a preschool SDQ and he's borderline for attention/hyperactivity but he's young for the age range, otherwise everything's in the "lovely child, very sociable" range.
An assessment might not be a bad idea though.
They can provide 1:1 at school (ds1 had full 1:1 - including paytimes) because that was what he needed. Obviously your son doesn't need that but it's better him going into school with the school having an idea of the extra support he might need. You may find the extra boundaries/structure in school are all he needs but it's far for schools to be pleasantly surprised rather than overwhelmed iyswim. They have the budget for support so it's helpful for then to know in advance if he might need some (rather than try & find it after it's been allocated elsewhere).
Hopefully not needed at all, but if nursery are struggling worth checking out imo.
(Of course there's the whole issue of is he just too young for school, but it's the system we're stuck with!)
DC1 is a winter birthday so it's not just being young for the group - but is really struggling I feel with the transition from under-3 nursery room to over-3. They had a term in their current room but all under-3s so 3:1 and then about half a term with enough of them still under 3 to have maybe 5:1 but now they have just piled them all in and have 24 in the room (it seems like more children arrive daily), we've had 2 terms of that and things have not got better.
I will see what the keyworker says and then maybe go to the HV/GP for some kind of assessment. Looking at the descriptions of children of the same age with diagnosed ADHD, though, I don't feel we are really in the same league (thankfully!). Maybe "shades of".
It's not just about birthdays though - ds3 (a winter birthday) has always been young for his age. It just takes some children longer.
Nursery meeting will have a manager there too (which is OK), but today keyworker told me they are using a positive/negative sticker chart with DC1, I'm not convinced he sees far enough ahead for a sticker for a whole morning of behaviour, or can add up days at a time, nor am I massively happy with sad face stickers.
So we'll talk about that I guess...
Ah OK - no manager- but they want to meet again with both of us and CM to make sure we are all doing the same thing..
Still not sure about the sticker chart.
with the food thing, could he be over hungry (hangry as we call it!). could you look at snacks so he's not starving by meal times?
He always gets snacks, he pesters for a snack as soon as a meal is finished or the second he gets up from bed/a rest, and the CM gives him much larger portion sizes than we do (she gives him up to four slices of bread where we'd give him one!). He does sometimes sit down to a meal quite hungry but we don't want to start the expectation of more snacks than we give currently because the pestering is bad enough as it is.
He is quite high up the centiles for weight but not very tall so we try to keep his portion sizes to the recommended size for his age, we are not going to battle CM on portion sizes as he only goes once a week. We are happy for her to give extra helpings of savoury dishes especially if they are something he hasn't tried before though as he does have a slight tendency to be conservative on what he will try, so we are praising and giving extra when it's a new savoury dish, and she is too.
(I think he pesters for the next snack/meal at nursery, but they have it under control, and he doesn't grab/fling food or plates there, though we occasionally have to put things out of reach to prevent this, at home. At home, it can sometimes happen at breakfast too, so we can't really do snacks to prevent that).
How many days a week are they at nursery?
Have you thought about maybe having a more consistent and firm answer to his behaviour at home - if he hits your youngest DC, is there a real and immediate consequence to his behaviour for example. Every time? And no warning. Hitting is not acceptable at home or in nursery/child-minder. Maybe you need to revise your tactic at home.
I am always in the opinion that hitting is an absolute no and that parents have to be very very firm on that. Think about the other children.
Erm, I am thinking about the other children. Naturally, especially about my own DC2. I don't think he's ever hit a peer while I've been there so I've not had to deal with that, though.
The consequence at home is that his behaviour is ignored and that DC2 is made a huge fuss of, poor DC2, how horrible for you, lots of cuddles.
Anything else we've tried has just led to more violence and hitting. Time out, time in, naughty step, removal of anything (well, except that removal of an object that was used to hit didn't stop him hitting without an object later). He has one very favourite softie and you can only remove it once as a consequence.
Most of the consequences led to hitting US rather than hitting DC2, with added kicking, biting, and scratching, oh and weeing on the floor, but honestly, if a consequence is making him much less calm and leading to more of the behaviour we don't want, it's not working, is it?
Telling off led to no change, more hitting of DC2, or just laughing, so clearly telling off is attention and desired, so we use warnings if getting too close ("I know DC2 took your lego, but no hitting remember") but for actual hitting we focus on DC2.
And at home, we have pretty much knocked it on the head. Not totally, and it still happens more when DC2 takes something that DC1 is playing with, but there is now almost no random "just hitting because he feels like it" and much less "hitting because DC2 is in the way or taking something".
Sorry, they are at nursery (not in the same room) two days a week, plus an extra morning for DC1 which is when I do an activity with DC2. Both at CM (together) one day a week.
Ok I see. It's a very difficult one. How is his speech?
His language is really good - lots of synonyms, complex language play. The other day I said something about "gunk" in the pumpkin, he hadn't heard the word before and asked me about "ink" and I was confused so he said "in the pumpkin" "oh yes, gunk" so then he started saying "we've got ink and gunk, gink and unk" clearly splitting and combining the words.
Speech is still a bit wobbly but it's things like "bulldover" for "bulldozer" and "Shaun ana Sheep", and "wewy wewy big", just some fairly consistent mispronunciations.
This sounds like my son who's now 6. He has not been diagnosed yet but I suspect he's somewhere on autistic spectrum as well. I had my suspicions since about 3 and then real concerns in reception which were brushed off by the teacher as just typical and boiserous. He's very bright and articulate boy and he makes friends easily. He struggles with changes ... it could be something simple like getting ready for PE or ready to go to school. One of the biggest signs for me was lack of eye contact. He does look at me but comparing with other children his age he spends a lot of time looking elsewhere but my face when he talks to me. There are always two extremes with him ... he either goes hyper to the point of putting himself or others in danger or has a total melt down with crying and refusing to go or do anything. I know now that this is not his fault and he just cannot control his behaviour at times so I always give him plenty of notice with visual aids (sand timer) so he can prepare himself. Meal times sound just like yours ... I include him in setting up the table and helping with serving tea (he likes being helpful) then when finally he gets his plate it's more of a continuation of the task rather than me asking him to sit down and the plate just appearing in front of him (which I know could set him off).
At school he has a behaviour book. There are 5 periods in school day and for each he can either earn a smiley face or I get a description about what went wrong. He knows he can get rewarded at the end of each school day if he gets at least 3 smiley faces (it's important the target is achievable).His reward is a few minutes on a school tablet doing maths games (which he loves) while other children are getting ready to go home. If you're doing the sticker chart remember to reward him often. You want to concentrate on praising good behaviour rather than going on about the unwanted one.
He also has a fiddly toy while he sits on the carpet (that's a real money saver as before that he just ate his school jumper or totally destroyed it when he was trying to hide in it because he felt so uncomfortable).
And please, please just remember that all this is not his fault nor your parenting skills. He's not a naughty boy ... he just doesn't know how to cope with his emotions...
He is 3 or 4?
I am just trying to dig deeper a bit to find out what is the root cause of the behaviour. I don't think it's food or being hungry as you answered that question. Sometimes speech delay can cause frustration and behaviour issues but that's not the case either. Was it triggered by arrival of your DC2? Or were there any other issues before?
And how is his behaviour in general is he struggling when told what to do/not to do? How is his bedtime?
He'll be 4 over the winter so over 3 1/2.
He does get really hungry and wolfs his food if he likes it (but on the other hand sometimes pick at it) so that's not always the answer. We probably need to do more around everyone starting to eat at the same time i.e. him doing something to help before his food goes on the table, because if he finishes before everyone else he just mithers for more (have just been talking to nursery keyworker about this). But that is not the only answer.
He has loads of appropriate eye contact, always has, we have absolutely no worries about him being on the autistic spectrum at all. He mainly does what you ask, as well - at least 75% of the time - though often he'll say "No!" and then go off and fetch his shoes/tidy up his toys etc.
He's also doing better at sitting and listening to stories, less fidgety. He's not particularly sensory-seeking though he likes his muslin, he doesn't chew it.
He's always been hungry, anxious around food, and he's always thrown things (DC2 doesn't have this habit thankfully, not even copying him), and he's never liked being restrained, he was the baby that cried to get down and wriggle not to be picked up, though he's also always been affectionate, will seek out cuddles, ask to sit on your lap while watching TV.
I remember having a real problem changing nappies for bed when DC2 was very little but I can't remember if it predated DC2 or coincided with that, but there was a lot of kicking, he did react to everything that was happening around then. But we already had quite a lot of problems with running off, and with sitting down in the road when walking (see my other thread!). We got a backpack with reins for times when he can walk but wanted to run off, and I remember thinking we should have got it months earlier i.e. well before DC2 came along. He's never wanted to hold hands, that I can remember, except when he's feeling insecure; quite often an outburst will be after something like grabbing his jumper to stop him running off.
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