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Old 02-06-2017, 11:45 PM
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Default Need Help With Compounding Issue

Hello again! I've posted a few topics dealing with this same issue, but it seems to be getting worse with even the director admitting issues.

I'm work at a Montessori inspired preschool/daycare. I say inspired because, while it does stick to traditional beliefs, its less rigid than traditional programs. The days and times I normally work are afternoons, from nap to pick-up.

My issue is mainly with one boy and his interactions with different children, two in particular (all of them age 4). The main child has had several behavioral issues since I began working nearly a year ago, many of which can just be explained by being a preschool boy. He can occasionally get aggressive with other children, if in a hyperactive play setting (whether it starts that way or he makes it hyperactive). To help with this issue, we've limited "scary" games, which sometimes works. For example, no violent car crashes and no guns or shooting, though they can play pretend pirates, cops, etc. Most of the time, all they need is a reminder if it starts going south. Other times, not so much.

Today was particularly rough. I had the two four year olds who tend to rough house together, though the rough housing isn't in anger but rather too enthusiastic fun. We had plans to go outside, but the weather turned bad very quickly and winter still isn't over for us, and it was too cold per regulations to go outside today. That was fine, it had happened many times before and had never been an issue. I asked them if they wanted to do something specific. A train set came out and they played well for about 20 minutes before more violent games began. I assumed boredom so I suggested they choose another activity or continue playing with the train set without just crashing cars.

They chose hide and seek. Fair enough, it's a fun game. Except they tried to hide in the same spot and got upset that they were squishing each other: cue fighting. When I came into the book room to help sort them out, they thought it was hilarious and started screaming in fake fear/laughter. I separated them and made sure no one was being squished and told them that they had two options. They could find a game to play quietly together, or they could choose an individual work. They choose an activity in the big play room. It was not a productive activity. Cue more upsets.

The director came down from upstairs and commented that it seemed things were going south. I agreed and she set up a game to play with them then went back upstairs, but after two minutes they were jumping up and down, couldn't stop wiggling, and obviously too full of energy and quickly lost interest in it. I expected high energy because they hadn't gotten outside all day. Normally when this happens I'll suggest a fun activity we can do indoors, usually either an art or science project, or we'll have a dance or music party which always works great! They chose music so I put on a CD. Before I started it, we briefly went over the safety rules (watch out for your dance parter, make sure your hands aren't hitting etc). They agree, I start the CD, and they start doing crazy dances, one of which is them playfully falling on the ground. Except, they got too crazy and one accidentally fell (jumped ) on the other. Cue bumped head and crying. I pick him up and take him to the other room to calm him down and get him a "booboo fruit" (colored plastic ice cube). and the director comes down to assist again. The kids (main issue one) clearly feels guilty and upset and I try to console him with the director takes the hurt dck. Both of them were fine and ready to start playing after a minute or two, but god did I feel absolutely terrible.

I still feel incredibly guilty. This was the first real injury I have had (other than one girl courtesy of same dck, though she is easy to calm down with a few giggles and exaggeration). The director stayed down for a little bit to get things settled. She told me that dance might not have been the greatest idea because they were probably more tired than bored. I completely disagree, I can always tell when they don't get any activity outside because those days are particularly crazy and the director will always warm me of that when I get there. Also, her suggestion of a more quiet restful activity had been tried twice and did not work. My first thought was also quiet activity because it was easiest and relatively low risk. I've also been told and experienced them needing physical activity after a day of being cooped up inside. Whereas when they play outside in the morning and afternoon, we'll normally spend the rest of the day quietly reading, making art, or doing puzzles and legos.

If this were a crazy once in a blue moon occurrence I might feel less frustrated. But the dkc tends to create these aggressive environments. The other kids have started to feel uncomfortable around him, and even the director has acknowledged it. She even warned me that he had been starting to go around and destroy other dcks works when the other employee isn't looking (we alternate working days). He's also aggressive with his mom. When she comes to pick him up, he'll run into her or get so excited he'll start punching and kicking, though I've noticed she had started to remind him to not do that, whereas previously she would just ignore it. We have no behavioral management plan in place, except for the directors assumption that he always listens (he doesn't) and to redirect (which is starting to not work on him as he approached kindergarten). Most people also suggest that redirection loses its effectiveness around three years of age.

My next solution if this happens again is to separate the dcks, but I don't want to do this. Most days are fine, and the most important part of preschool is learning how to interact and socialize with other tiny humans. At the same time, they tend to not listen at all if certain groupings of dcks are together. Individually, they behave relatively well for their age group.

Sorry for the wall of text, but this has become a serious issue that everyone (director, me, and other employee) are basically just hoping will eventually stop. Mostly, I'm just asking on how to manage his behavior if there are no consequences we can give. When he starts getting aggressive I've taught the girls and less crazy boys to just walk away or tell him that they don't like that. But when the other dck is also feeling the blood fever, that method doesn't work

How do I get aggressive actions to stop immediately without physical touch? Sometimes me just being very firm and telling them to stop works (today after the hiding I told them that I wanted them to stand in place while I explained their options) but other times they just laugh. I don't want to grab either child, but I also need a way to immediately stop potentially harmful behavior (or prevent it!) from happening.

Please help! I'm seriously considering quitting because of the behavioral difficulties I've been having. I have discussed it with the director and other employee, but we either have the same issue or solution and nothing works long-term.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:18 AM
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If he is being aggressive and destructive I see no option but to separate him from the group.

I would approach your director with your plan of action and if mom questions it explain to her why her son is separated. Either she will get on board and help curb his behavior or she won't. But it's not fair to the others to have anxiety from one DCB.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:49 AM
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It does sound like they need more physical activity (vs just being tired). It also sounds like there is a lack of impulse control (a bit more than typical) going on with one or more of the kids. I have a strict "no contact" rule for my daycare. Tag is fine, but touch only. No tackling. Running about is fine, and accidentally bumping into each other is an acceptable risk, but purposely running into others is not cool. I wouldn't sweat the bumped heads. I consider bumps, bruises, and scrapes to be acceptable outcomes of physically active play.

I would remind the children (make eye contact) before they start playing that they need to keep their hands and bodies to themselves during play. And be watchful for when it inevitably gets a bit out of hand.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:50 AM
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Is there something fun you can entice them with at the end of the play timeframe? Whenever I used to be in charge of the gross motor room I would always set up an obstacle course after all of the toys were cleaned up. I would devote the last 1/2 hour or more to it. The kids absolutely loved it but the rule was only if everyone played well together and only if everyone helped put toys away. The obstacle course consisted of several different objects that they had to interact with, so a chair where they had to sit down and stand up 3x and then move to a hoola hoop that they had to jump in and out of 5x etc. I would go through the course myself and show them and then we would all take turns. When kids would complete the course we would all give high fives and I woukd really dole out the praise!

The first time you do it just tell them you have a fun surprise game to play but don't tell them what it is....really build up the hype around it.

Anyway worth a shot! I rarely find negative consequences work for rowdy boys.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:56 PM
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The boys in my class (4s) can be very rowdy and hyper. They are also accomplished clowns who love attention. They rough house a lot. One thing that helps- give them a job. Kids like to play but they also like to be industrious. I give them baby wipes and tell them to wipe a table or shelf. Or two of them lift a tub of toys and carry it where it needs to go. Help the teacher with something. Etc.
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