Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Dealing With Challenging Behaviour In Children

While reading up on Theories of Cognitive Development (sounds fun, I know!), I came across something very interesting:Challenging Behaviour

‘Punishment has to be severe, consistent and immediate to effectively stop challenging behaviour in the long term.’

Of course, anyone who deals with children will know that each of these 3 factors is a handful in their own right:

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BabyBook: The Pregnancy And Baby Care Guide

Having a baby is easily one of the important milestones in a couple’s life. It’s also one of the most challenging! There are so many things you need to know (or rather, worry about): salt content in food, choking hazards, SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME!

How are new parents supposed to know about these things?

  • Your parents? They may have done a superb job raising you, but let’s face it, where did they get their knowledge from? Their OWN parents, 60 years ago?
  • The internet? I love Google too, but are you really going to put the most important period of your little one’s life in Google’s hands?
  • Your friends? How reliable is their knowledge? You’re not really going to raise your pride and joy based on what your friend heard from her sister’s neighbour’s aunt’s brother’s colleague are you?

Wouldn’t it be great if someone already collected all the information you need to know, and put it in a nice little convenient book? Well, since I’m writing this, obviously someone already did!

What book? Continue reading

Schemas – How To Understand And Extend Children’s Behaviour

This article has moved here.


The Secret To Choosing A Good Nursery

Already know about The 3 Most Important Things In Choosing A Childcare Provider? Well maybe it’s time to go into more detail on how to spot a good nursery.

Like myself, a lot of people work in childcare because they’re passionate about it and want to make a positive difference in children’s lives. However, a nursery is still a business, and like all businesses, you can tell how things are doing by taking a close look at the staff.

Uh-oh. Too Many Kids?

If The Staff Aren’t Happy, The Children Won’t Be Either

It may seem obvious, but scientists decided to study it anyway:

Depressed Caregivers Hostile, Not Warm, To Children

So unhappy staff will have a negative effect on children. Simple. What’s less simple though, is judging how happy staff are.

How Do You Tell If Staff Are Happy?

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to have a private chat with some of the staff. However, don’t expect them to come to you saying “Hey, this place sucks, get me out of here!” Other things you should look at include:

  • Turnover. Staff leave if they’re not happy, so check with the management what turnover is like. On the flip side, management will also brag if they have staff who’ve been around for a long time, so if they don’t do that, alarm bells should be ringing. And don’t just believe whatever management says; double-check with the staff.
  • Staff benefits. Good employment packages and opportunities for career development  go a long way in keeping staff happy. The current  nursery setting I’m in has booked a hotel for a training day, which has been great for morale.
  • Staff ratios. Nobody likes to be doing more than they should be, and staff ratios help to ensure that a room isn’t understaffed. Not every country has a legal requirement for staff ratios, but in the UK staff to children ratios are according to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is 1:3 for under 2s, 1:4 for 2-3s and 1:8 for 3-5s.

These are some of my personal views from a staff member’s viewpoint. I wonder how others feel about the issue?

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Why I Don’t Like Rewarding Children

I recently read something interesting about reward systems: The greater the reward for an activity, the more we’re programmed to believe we dislike the activity.

For instance, 2 groups of people were told to pick up rubbish in a park. One group was paid more than the other, and then both groups were asked how much they enjoyed the activity. The study found that the group which got paid more found the activity less enjoyable.

So the more someone is willing to reward us for something, the more we must dislike doing it right?

Probably. But does it apply to children? Well, in a childcare environment, I can’t exactly force children to go around picking up rubbish. And there’s not exactly a lot to offer them in terms of rewards either, nor can I survey them at the end!

Nonetheless, here are some of the experiences I’ve had with reward systems:

Reward Finished? Good Behaviour’s Finished Too!

The children were asked to sit down nicely, and whoever sat the nicest would be allowed to feed the fishes. One child who is normally very “strong-willed” thus sat extremely well, and was given the reward.

As soon as she had fed the fishes however, she started being disruptive and  challenging, and was put in time out within minutes!

Stickers, Pee And Poo

A less isolated incident would be a child’s toilet training experience, where he would be rewarded with stickers if he did well. This led up to the point that he would be eager to go to the toilet, and as soon as he’d performed his “task”, he would immediately demand a sticker.

Meanwhile, at home, not only did he have frequent accidents, but he actually hid under a table to do a poo!

Please feel free to share any success stories of your own though. On a separate note, the children actually enjoy picking up rubbish, because they like putting things in the bin.

I know, I’m not a big fan of either punishment OR rewards, so how do I get children to listen? I like the methods in the punishment article for instilling self-discipline, but it’s a gradual process which takes a lot of patience and effort. At least it feels like I’m building a proper relationship with the children, rather than just constantly threatening or bribing them.

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ARGH! Darn You Children!

First off, I’d like to say a big thank you to all my readers. I used to feel like I was just talking to myself, but recently, many of you have connected with me via comments, email and Twitter. You’ve really made my day by showing your support not only for this blog, but for my new reflective journal as well!

So now that I’m not just talking to myself, I thought I’d ask for a little audience participation. In fact, it’s more along the lines of asking for advice. Maybe even a cry for help.

You see, for the past week, a couple of boys have been throwing rocks at my windows…Every. Single. Night. There’s no punishment or reward involved here, I’m not as young as I used to be so I doubt I can actually catch them.

What do you think I should do? Pause for a moment and really think about it before you carry on reading.

Got your answer yet?

Great, do carry on reading, and tell me (please!) at the end.

Aren't Kids Just So Loveable?

At Least They're Having Fun...

The first night rocks started banging against window, I decided I was just going to ignore them. They were probably just bored kids exhibiting challenging behaviour to try and provoke a response. If I refused to be part of their game, they’d stop. And they did.

For 20 minutes.

Then they started throwing harder. I tried to ignore them again, but the banging against the window was getting louder and louder, so I thought I’d better put a stop to it before they smashed the window (it’s been broken 4 times already). Anyway, I opened up the window and yelled at them to stop, causing them to run off while laughing hysterically.

Half an hour later, I heard a crashing noise. Fortunately, it wasn’t the sound of another window repair bill, but instead they’d thrown a coke bottle. I must say they have very good aim…must be all the practice.

The attacks stopped for that night, so I thought the worst was over. But they’ve returned every night, and they’re so bold that they actually target the window of the room I’m in (seeing the light from the outside).

As far as I can tell, my options are to:

  • Report them to the police (I even have them on CCTV)
  • Yell at them each time (I think they like it though)
  • Try and catch them (Yea, and then what?)
  • Find out where they live and throw rocks at their windows every single night (Maybe we can be friends!)
  • Ignore them (Who needs windows anyway right?)

OK, so that’s the story so far. I’m hoping that they’ll tire of their game, but just in case they don’t, what do you think I should do?

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5 Awesome Hand Shadows

I’ve always been amazed at people who can entertain kids no matter the situation.

Give them a sheet of paper and they’ll fold an origami Transformer. Sing any song and they’ll know the lyrics AND the dance moves. Put them in an empty room and they’ll fill it with children’s laughter.

Well, if you’d like to be a step closer to becoming one of those people, here are some cool hand shadows you can learn to entertain kids and adults alike!

They’re taken from a free eBook called Hand Shadows To Be Thrown Upon The Wall by Henry Bursill. There are 17 hand shadows in total, including everybody’s favourite, “bird in flight”. If you’d like to see them all, feel free to download the eBook at the end of this post.

Hand Shadow Boy

Hand Shadow Boy

Hand Shadow Tortoise

Hand Shadow Tortoise

Hand Shadow Rabbit

Hand Shadow Rabbit

Hand Shadow Dog

Hand Shadow Dog

Hand Shadow Elephant

Hand Shadow Elephant

Click here to download the free eBook:

Hand Shadows To Be Thrown Upon The Wall by Henry Bursill

Any success learning the hand shadows and showing them off to others? Take some time to practice them, try them out in front of an audience and come back to tell us how you did!

Hand Shadows to Be Thrown upon the Wall by Henry Bursill

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