Child behaviour

boys fighting over a toddle box

Teaching compassion

Learning how to interact positively with others is a vital developmental task of early childhood. However, many teachers are reporting a worrying increase in social problems such as bullying, lack of problem-solving skills, and anti-social behaviour.

 

Current trends, such as the increase of media and technology in the lives of young children, combined with fewer opportunities for play and interaction with others, are feeding this widespread problem which Diane Levin has characterized as “Compassion Deficit Disorder”.

 

No, this is not another label to slap on children’s behavioural difficulties. Rather, it is an indictment on a society where childhood is not valued and supported. It is vital that children have real life, meaningful experiences right from the start that help them to learn compassion and empathy. Parents and educators are in a unique position to curb this damaging trend. Read Diane Levin’s article.

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teacher and child singing or doing finger games

From stickers to self-regulation

“Do we really want our children to simply do as they are told without asking? Well yes – sometimes we would. But for a child to become successful in life, surely we want them to take some control of regulating their own choices and behaviours,” writes Ali McClure, author of Making it Better for Boys. “We would love our children to become self-regulated, happy individuals, but do some of the strategies we use in our early years settings actually backfire in this regard?”

 

Ali McClure will be running a full day course: “From Stickers to Self-Regulation”, for early years and KS1 practitioners on 12 November at the Community Playthings factory in East Sussex. Read Ali's article and find out more about her training.

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girl looking bored

Making room for creativity

Unstructured time gives children the opportunity to practice problem solving and to develop motivational and creative skills that they will need later in life. Adults need to resist the temptation to provide a constant barrage of stimulation and entertainment for children. It’s okay to be bored.

 

Is there time for constructive boredom in your classroom? Read the article.

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boy balancing on Community Playthings hollow blocks and plank

What's wrong with an active child?

“The teacher just informed me that my three-year-old boy isn’t the ‘perfect fit’. They say he’s too active,” the lady related over the phone. “Is there something wrong with him?”

Angela Hanscom, a paediatric occupational therapist, was shocked. “My blood boils at the notion that something is wrong with an active three-year-old boy,” she writes. “We are expecting children to sit still when they are just barely out of nappies?” Children require full body movement, risks, and challenges in order to grow into balanced, healthy, and resilient adults. How can we overcome our fears to give children the outdoor play and unrestricted freedom of movement they desperately need? As a therapist, Angela has successfully treated many children with attention, balance, and sensory issues. What is her unconventional remedy? Read the article.

two children balancing on Outlast planks and blocks

Connecting the two sides of the brain

“Jimmy found it incredibly difficult to sit comfortably at the table; he was a right fidget-bottom, moving about trying to get into a comfortable position. He also found it difficult to grasp the thin pencil in the correct manner and write on a small piece of paper. He was struggling. Jimmy sat at the table for 25 minutes and had written three plausible js. His peers had all left, but Jimmy knew he had to cover the whole page, so he sat there watching his peers go about their learning choices….” (Neil Farmer, Getting it right for boys)

Children must become physically balanced by crossing the “centre line” which runs down the middle of their bodies. They will be unable to read and write until they have achieved this. Here’s how you can help them cross the centre line.

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