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How should a nursery worker deal with a crying/tantruming child?

(26 Posts)
Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:02:50

I originally posted this in the relationships board but thought perhaps bits worth posting here too, particularly for answers the my second question.

Yesterday I overheard a daycare worker shouting (well at the very least using a raised voice) "stop that crying <child's name>, stop that nonsense!" several times at my 20 month old.

(I'd been was asked to leave more nappies outside for her as they'd run out).

I didn't know if she was crying because of being left there (though she doesn't cry when I leave, she's recently become subdued/unhappy looking when I leave) .. or because she'd been stopped doing something and was tantrummig, as she often does. It's more likely it was the latter. The worker told me she'd read her a book to distract/settle her when I left; but she could literally make people read to her all day and the worker evidently had to stop to deal with the other children; she was the only worker in the baby room with six of them; a ratio I've never seen before yesterday.

Can a 20 month old really understand "stop that nonsense" ( other than knowing she's not going to be comforted), it didn't seem very constructive.

What are the best/recommended techniques (other than distraction, which the worker really sounded like she wasn't doing).

I had to force myself to walk out and not say anything there and then, but thought it i did, it would be the end of her attendance there and didn't want to go into that rashly. I went out to discuss it with my husband in the car, he felt very strongky that we shouldn't go in and pull her out there and then and essentially pulled a fast one by driving off while we were still discussing it (this is mainly because I am extremely fiery at times and he knew what was likely to happen). We're going to have to make a decision about speaking to the manager or just giving notice this weekend.

She currently only does two full days by the way.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:08:55

My second question is about combining different aged children in one room, including school age.

They do this at breakfast which seems ok, but but they also do it after 5pm; when they move all groups into one large room.

It worried me a bit re. it being potentially intimidating & overwhelming for the little ones (and also the potential for bullying/roughness from older children if the assistants didn't see it).

I thought whole point was to divide by age for safety/confidence etc.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:11:33

When I collect her from that room, the assistants almost always have the kids her age (and younger obviously) on their hip; which makes me think the circumstances are making them clingy/wanting reassurance or protection.

Is this scenario normal, or even legal. I can't find anything on it (though I haven't searched extensively)?

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GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Sat 25-May-19 09:18:15

Illegal?? grin

I’m a childminder and have a mix of children from 9 months to 9 years. They get on like siblings, sometimes caring and lovely, somethings wrecking each other’s games and arguing over toys. They develop skills to negotiate, empathise and become tolerant of others.

Towards the end of the day the younger become tired and clingy to me because they are ready for home and bed and seek comfort from me. I carry them to provide it not because they are being bullied.

Smellbellina Sat 25-May-19 09:18:31

I don’t know about the second bit of your question although I think they do mix at DS’s children after 330 but a lot of them are siblings/know each other. The baby’s stay in their bit.
But, with regards to the first bit no that’s not on at all, I would have gone back in and said I heard and asked what the problem was. I work with older children and would never respond to crying like that let alone to child under 2. If your child tantrums a lot (what toddler doesn’t) you need to consider if you are happy for her to be treated like that every time she attends there. She obviously didn’t settle her from what you over heard.

Nonnymum Sat 25-May-19 09:33:35

I think you should definitely talk to them about the wsy they dealt with the crying it sounds bad.Also I am pretty sure the ratio is illegal i think it should be 1 adult to 3 children for under 2 year old. Was it temporary while someone left the room?

MyKingdomForBrie Sat 25-May-19 09:37:13

Christ I would definitely have gone in straight away, if course that's not an appropriate way to deal with a baby crying at nursery! I can't believe your DH drove off in those circs, mine would have been straight back in to find out what was going on.

AuntMarch Sat 25-May-19 09:43:18

Mix of ages is fine, if well managed. I would not expect toddlers to be carried though which I agree suggests things aren't great.

How the staff member spoke to your child is not ok. Ask to read the policies, behaviour management and anything they have on development and understanding age/stage.
One member of staff should also not have more than four children if any are under two. If she really was left with six (and it not that a colleague popped to the loo or something) that is concerning but also may go someway to explaining why she might have snapped at your child (still not ok)- one pair of hands is not enough to comfort a child and safely supervise 5 others of that age.

Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:44:07

@GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat

Yes, what little I've read online about it said the advantage was a more realistic, family-like environment with older 'siblings' and it was a positive thing.

But I didn't know if it's common/standard practice in a nursery/day care centre.

My reservations were that the older kids are very tough/domineering (I nearly got trampled myself by a herd of them running into the room the other day grin) and from seeing older kids behaviour in soft play areas - where my toddler would've been injured if I wasn't going around the entire thing with her) I just worry she could be a bit scared/overwhelmed or even be bullied while the busy childcare workers are distracted.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:44:32

*rough

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:46:47

Also the older kids aren't used to being around all ages inc the little ones (unless they have younger siblings) all day like you're - they are separate all day at school and then on their own room after school and then come into the room around 5 like a herd of wild elephants.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:47:46

* like yours

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:48:33

Thanks for the responses everyone.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:53:34

@Nonnymum

That was the first time I've seen a ratio like that.
I imagine the manager, who also works with the children directly, was going to go in to the baby room at some point soon. She arrived while we were in the car "discussing" the situation. That would have brought it down to 1:3. But when we dropped her off around 9am and when I returned with the nappies shortly after, one girl was on her own with 6.
I've never seen that before, to be fair.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 09:57:19

I can't believe your DH drove off in those circs, mine would have been straight back in to find out what was going on.

I was annoyed and uncomfortable when he did it; but I am extremely feisty and I think he thought (realistically) if we'd gone back in the end result would be she was leaving that nursery, end of story.

He felt it needed more, calm discussion and consideration - which we have done since. I've read the entire other thread to him and will do with this one too.

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lilbubsmama Sat 25-May-19 10:10:24

If I'd have overheard them talking to my child like that there is absolutely no way I could have walked away!!!!!!!

Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 10:15:27

Ask to read the policies, behaviour management and anything they have on development and understanding age/stage.

Will do.
I'll look through what they've given us, though it may not be in there; the manager said due to the volume and length of policies some are just kept in files in her room, but are available to look at by parents.

It will be important to do if we decide to raise it and keep her there, as I have a feeling the worker (whom I didn't even like before this, and she's a "supervisor" to boot) will say I'm wrong, my child's the issue etc.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 10:20:58

If your child tantrums a lot (what toddler doesn’t) you need to consider if you are happy for her to be treated like that every time she attends there.

She does.

When I heard it, in one way I thought "you bitch" and my mummy bear instincts kicked off. My first impulse was to storm in and lift my daughter. But I hesitated because I know I have a very bad temper and can be rash, esp when I have PMS. Recently my husband was frustrated and pissed off that I went round to tackle our neighbour about their noise and ended up in a shouting/slanging match. That was in my head, so I went out to speak to him, and he drive off while I wax speaking to him.
I do understand why he did it though.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 10:21:40

*drove off

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 10:24:00

On the other hand, I know what it's like dealing with her tantrums and gave been guilty of saying "stop that" and cracking occasionally too. I knew she was in there with 6 babies/toddlers too - however I think she'd a childcare worker, were paying her, she's supposed to live what she does and she's supposed to have techniques to deal with things .. that didn't seem like a constructive technique.

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 10:25:23

*she's a childcare worker, we're paying her, she's supposed to love what she does and she's supposed to have techniques to deal with things .. that didn't seem like a constructive technique.

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itshappened Sat 25-May-19 12:34:30

I think the mixing with different ages is a good thing actually. They will do this if they play outside and actually little kids always love older ones. They can sometimes be a bit boisterous in comparison but they will be watched by the care workers, so I wouldn't worry about that.

In terms of the way they spoke to your daughter. I guess it depends on how loud and/or aggressive her tone was. I think you should highlight what you heard, and listen to what they say about it. I have to say at my child's nursery, the staff are so patient and where as I might start to raise my voice, they have amazing distraction techniques to stop my daughter's tantrums and cries. I would imagine it was a one off thing, where they were for some reason temporarily understaffed and the nursery care worker was feeling stressed.

Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 13:02:39

I think the mixing with different ages is a good thing actually. They will do this if they play outside and actually little kids always love older ones. They can sometimes be a bit boisterous in comparison but they will be watched by the care workers, so I wouldn't worry about that.

I get what you mean - in one way I think it's a good thing, in another I worry about roughness/bullying - workers can't watch every child all the time. I think my lo finds its a bit overwhelming because when I collect her she's either on the hip if one of the workers, or once she was on a sofa her own at the other end of the large room, and the assistant said she thought all the noise was a bit too much for her.

Her tone wasn't really aggressive, more telling off/haranging I suppose. I understand it, but aren't they supposed to be a bit more tolerant and constructive (and educated in techniques) than some of us sleep deprived, hassled parents (not to say they couldn't be the same).

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Moralitym1n1 Sat 25-May-19 13:08:37

I would imagine it was a one off thing, where they were for some reason temporarily understaffed and the nursery care worker was feeling stressed.

I hope so. I don't get a good feeling from that particular worker at all.

I was totally honest with them and said she can be a poor sleeper (very poor if teething, unwell, unsettled etc.) and they are now saying that she's cry-y and bad tempered because she's so tired. Even though she wasn't crying much until recently. Also this week her sleep was relatively ok; the first question out of this worker's mouth was - 'how did she sleep?'. Its almost like she assumes she'll be a handful and she's being burdened with this tired, grouchy child. She had this attitude that's hard to describe and might make you think I'm paranoid!

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Chaosetc Mon 27-May-19 00:26:53

Ideally, no, a nursery worker should not be raising her voice to children. I would probably cry if someone was shouting at me too. Using a firm tone and appearing stern are totally acceptable for discipline but raising a voice to a child who is sad and needing comfort isn't going to achieve anything. If you're concerned, it's ok to discuss the behaviour policy with the staff and to make suggestions on how best to deal with your daughter when she's throwing a wobbler.
I'd monitor the relationship a little, watch interactions. Maybe pop in unexpectedly once in a while. If the general feeling is negative then it might be better for you and for your child to find alternative childcare.
If you have ongoing concerns, please discuss these issues with your nursery manager. It's their job to ensure the care provided is excellent. If they can't provide satisfactory answers and resolve it, there may be a problem within the culture of the nursery. If they try to blame the staff members response on your child's behaviour, please escalate a complaint.

I work with children and we all have days where the Mary Poppins face slips. We repair with the child and move on. I've apologised to children for getting it wrong so many times in my career. I've apologised to plenty of parents too. It's part of what makes me good at my job. Every moment is for learning, for children and for grown ups. I don't know anyone who is 100% perfect in their job, no matter how much they love it. But the children in our care shouldn't be scared of us. They should feel loved and valued. Consistently shouty adults can't provide that.

Staff should definitely not be left with double ratio. Certainly not for longer than a few moments. It compromises the quality of care and isn't acceptable. It's ok to ask staff about their ratios and if there is another member of staff helping.

Mixing children isn't unusual. There are pros and cons. The ratios for each age group still need to be met. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to provide some engaging experiences that are age appropriate your child during that time. If she needs a quieter space, they need to find a way to provide that.

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