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Old 04-10-2013, 12:31 PM
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jamiem jamiem is offline
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Default How to Handle a 20 Month Old Bully

I need advice on how to handle a 20 month old bully. I have been running my in home daycare for about 6 months so I am still really new to this. I started with a 2 month old, my own 8 month old, and a 14 month old. Since they were all so young I never had to worry about discipline apart from telling them no if they were being unsafe or just redirecting them to a new activity. Now that the oldest is 20 months she is turning into a bully. She takes toys away from my one year old, hits, and pushes him down. I don't know what to do or how to handle this behavior. I have tried telling her no pushing very sternly and offering her other toys, i have tried nicely explaining to her that she needs to be nice and cannot push. So far that is not working. How do you discipline such a young child/teach her not to push and hit? If you do a time out-how does that work? I'm not sure where I would put her, I know she would not just sit on a chair, I don't want to put her in her booster chair or pack n play because I don't want negative associations with either of those. Her mom is aware of the behavior and has seen it first hand but I dont think she knows what to do either, she is a single mom and this is her only child so she is new to this too. She says she is learning the behavior from an older cousin. Help!
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiem View Post
I need advice on how to handle a 20 month old bully. I have been running my in home daycare for about 6 months so I am still really new to this. I started with a 2 month old, my own 8 month old, and a 14 month old. Since they were all so young I never had to worry about discipline apart from telling them no if they were being unsafe or just redirecting them to a new activity. Now that the oldest is 20 months she is turning into a bully. She takes toys away from my one year old, hits, and pushes him down. I don't know what to do or how to handle this behavior. I have tried telling her no pushing very sternly and offering her other toys, i have tried nicely explaining to her that she needs to be nice and cannot push. So far that is not working. How do you discipline such a young child/teach her not to push and hit? If you do a time out-how does that work? I'm not sure where I would put her, I know she would not just sit on a chair, I don't want to put her in her booster chair or pack n play because I don't want negative associations with either of those. Her mom is aware of the behavior and has seen it first hand but I dont think she knows what to do either, she is a single mom and this is her only child so she is new to this too. She says she is learning the behavior from an older cousin. Help!
This is actually very common behavior for a child that age - yes you need to intervene, but I don't think you need to worry about the child being a bully years down the road. I also don't think this is something she's necessarily learned from an older sibling/relative - kids at that age see something they want and think they can take it by brute force if necessary!

Do you have enough toys for the children? Multiples of the popular items? I would not time out at that age - but make sure that when they are "free" playing I was right there with them, and ideally between the 20 month old and the other children. This way I can gently redirect or move her when she tries to take toys or hit, etc.

This is the time I make sure to talk a LOT to the child to give them words for their feelings - "I know you want the toy Susie has, but it's her turn. I know that it's so hard to wait! Let's go over here and read a book together to pass the time!" No, they don't get it, but they will.

I know some will disagree, but I believe that for young children (or aggressive ones) they need to be put in a safe spot if you can't be right there. So if you need to use a PNP for a moment while you use the bathroom, or put a child in a high chair *with you* while you prepare lunch, that's acceptable. Certainly no child should be parked all day in a device, but I cringe when I hear a provider who has a known aggressive child in their care say something like "What was I supposed to do?! I have to use the bathroom!" Um take them with you or put them in a safe spot.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:04 AM
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We do have plenty of toys and multiples so that isn't the issue. She is a really sweet girl most of the time, she just has times when she gets aggressive. I guess I willl just keep talking to her and hopefully eventually she will learn. Thanks for the input.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:15 AM
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I agree with PP. Somedays it may feel like the only thing you're doing is redirecting her. Remember to use positive like "gentle hands" vs. "don't hit" whenever possible. We are supposed to tell them what they SHOULD do, not what they shouldn't. It can be hard, though, for me, even with years of practice.

Parking her somewhere when you can't be right there is an excellent idea. It seems to me that at that age, the time they most do these things is when you're feeding a baby. Your stuck, and they know it.

Don't make it a punishment though. Say something like "I am going to feed the baby. Let's go sit in your special chair and do puzzles while I do that". You can offer the other kiddos puzzles then, too (or whatever..something you have in reserve). That way, she doesn't start feeling singled out.

I don't know what your reg status is, but as a regulated provider, you cannot use "time outs" for children under 3. Of course, it's all in how you present it.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:29 AM
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I think I saw a video about 'boundaries' being set up another seasoned veteran of this forum. I have a version of it that's a little different... All my 3 and under crowd is NOT allowed in my kitchen. It's a very wide area that's difficult to gate. It's open concept and I can see them from the kitchen, but there's a threshold separating the carpeted family room to the kitchen. (Thin strip that's barely raised off the floor separating the carpet from the wood floor) The babies learn that the kitchen is off limits (Surprisingly it doesn't take very long at all!). Every time they'd cross the threshold I would tell them "no kitchen" and gently redirect. They aren't climbing the kitchen chairs, crawling by my feet while I'm cooking hot foods & are much safer outside the kitchen.

I do use gates to block them from stairs or other dangerous things, and would not rely on this to keep them 'safe'.

I have found this also works with masking tape or towels or some other divider. They learn not to cross those barriers fairly quickly. This comes in handy when you have a 3 yr. old who wants to build a tower without having the 20 month come over and knock it down. There is a bit of work getting them to learn these boundaries, but my goodness is it worth it in the end. You could place your child in the 'safe boundaries' when they need some space. You obviously still have to work with the 20 month old to learn not to push/hit and it's not a total solution, but just something I've learned along the way that has really helped.

Good Luck!
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