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Riley421 06:23 AM 07-11-2019
Hello Everyone,

I've been reading this board for a long time but have yet to post.

Quite frankly, my current group is driving me insane, and I am in desperate need of some advice.

I have six children (two being my own) ranging in age from 12 months to five.

My group ran pretty smoothly until I took on two new children at the same time.

Now my days are filled with kids screaming and fighting over EVERYTHING imaginable. The kids are violent with each other, no listening....just getting ready to go outside takes half an hour as they are pushing, shoving, throwing shoes off etc. In short, pure chaos.

I know this is largely to do with the two new children and my son who is on school break.

I don't imagine kids are bored because I have a very balanced program with planned activities (I use a curriculm subscription) and free time. We have lots of outdoor play, theme days, park days. However, there is so much I don't have time to do because I am constantly putting out fires.

The obvious solution is to term the two new kids...they are the main problem. They even have the mellow kids having meltdowns. Problem is they are friends of friends kids and just on a summer contract anyway...only about three weeks left.

I guess I'm looking for tips, ideas for smoother transitions...i will take my advice!!

Thank you in advance.
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rosieteddy 06:35 AM 07-11-2019
With only 3 weeks left I would get out more.My group did better dispersed in the yard.How old are the biggest offenders?If they are old enough to bribe I would set a reward chart.Think about 3 rewards given on Fridays for the next 3 weeks.Call it "summer fun"or something(you don't want them to expect it always).Reward for things like 1get ready without fighting,2 helping a younger child things like that.You do have to follow through though.Be prepared to have an alternate activity (quiet table art or something) for Friday reward day.Also we walked more holding onto the stroller or walking rope to keep the touching each other down.Summer is hard hang in there.
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knoxmomof2 07:06 AM 07-11-2019
Been there! I ended up terming my 2 (siblings) after trying to make it work for 9 months. For you, with 3 weeks left, I would recommend separating the kids during times when they typically fight (usually free play time is the worst). I would send the older ones to separate rugs with a toy for a bit while I accomplished what I needed to, or just plain took a break from the madness. Little ones can go in a pack n play.

I can keep 4 unrelated. I had 4 (ages 3.5, 3, 2.5, 1) , plus my own 1 year old. While I could have that many, I found that it was just too many for me, especially since 1 was my own child. It definitely limited my ability to enjoy my child a bit, so I made the decision to downsize. The siblings had a special diet and other things that didn't mesh well with my typical routine anyway, so that was an easy choice. I just replaced the 2 with 1 infant. Financially, it's a bit of a bummer but my kiddo will only be young once so I don't want to regret overloading myself for the money and sacrificing moments with her. Just food for thought for the future. I actually did bring in 2 new kiddos in the same week a couple of years ago. They were 1 and 2. It was hard at times, with teaching the rules and routines to 2 at once, but not as bad as I pictured. That wasn't the case with the sibling set, so I think the dynamic can make a difference sometimes. Good luck for the next few weeks!
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boy_mom 07:36 AM 07-11-2019
Can you shake up the routine a little? You mentioned you have a nice schedule in place, but maybe being outside more with a different routine or set up inside might change attitudes a bit?

I found in summer we did a lot of outdoor play first thing. Parents dropped off in the yard, we had snack outside and ran through sprinklers after lunch. Nap ended up happening much later in the day and they got back outside to play until pick up. I know some regions dont allow for so much time outside in the summer with extreme sun and heat!

When we were inside, I typically kept lights off and fans running for some white noise. Lots of books and floor play rather than structured crafts and activities.

Hope these 3 weeks go quickly!
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Rockgirl 09:04 AM 07-11-2019
Iíve found when Iíve had a crazy group like that, it helps to structure things a bit more. Something Iíve done is to put out small rugs throughout the room with one activity on each rug. If I have six children, Iíll put out 9-10 activities. Each child sits on one rug and I set a timer for 8-10 minutes. They must stay there with that activity until the timer goes off, then they choose again. They are still choosing their own activities, but thereís not an overwhelming number of choices.

It is such a peaceful time in our day, and they LOVE doing it.
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Annalee 09:20 AM 07-11-2019
Originally Posted by Rockgirl:
I’ve found when I’ve had a crazy group like that, it helps to structure things a bit more. Something I’ve done is to put out small rugs throughout the room with one activity on each rug. If I have six children, I’ll put out 9-10 activities. Each child sits on one rug and I set a timer for 8-10 minutes. They must stay there with that activity until the timer goes off, then they choose again. They are still choosing their own activities, but there’s not an overwhelming number of choices.

It is such a peaceful time in our day, and they LOVE doing it.
i have a few tables with one chair to it and do this. I have also taken science boards and cut them in half making small cubicles with them for the larger tables with more chairs. I call it "structured free play"....they do have a choice of materials but I structure where they play with it.

I wanted to add, sometimes there is a particular child/ren that cause the chaos. Since I termed my last family with the behavior issues, I love my current 12 and don't have to be so structured. Just sayin!!!
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Tags:classroom management, discipline - consistency, disruptive behavior, fighting
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