Guidance of Young Children's Behavior
Young children are learning many things about themselves and others. At times, their behavior indicates a need for guidance to help them acquire an understanding of the consequences of their actions, their feelings, and those of others. Such behavior may include:
- Losing emotional control (tantrums, yelling, etc.).
- Hitting, biting, pushing, and/or throwing objects.
- Refusing to cooperate or follow a directive.
- Using "intentionally" hurtful words.
- Testing or breaking rules "intentionally or unintentionally".
Children are not excluded from school on the basis of their behavior. For children exhibiting challenging behaviors, teachers and families will work together to develop strategies to address the inappropriate behaviors.
The guidance method used by staff is:
Conflict Resolution is the method staff will use to handle disputes between children. Conflict Resolution is a problem-solving approach used by teachers or parents to help young children learn to resolve differences. With this method, children discuss and resolve disputes with the help of an adult or child mediator and they are encouraged to discuss what happened and reach an agreement about how to solve their problem.
Six Steps of Conflict Resolution (Evans, 2002):
Steps 1 & 2: Supporting Feelings
The first two steps in problem solving encourage children to express their strong feelings.
- Approach Calmly, Stopping Any Hurtful Actions
- Calmly approach children who are having problems.
- Stop hurtful actions and words.
- Place yourself between children, on their level.
- Use calm body language to soothe children and convey your neutrality: comforting gestures, eye contact, soft voice, supportive facial expression.
- Acknowledge Children's Feelings
- State feelings concretely.
- Reframe children's hurtful words as you acknowledge feelings.
- Let children know you need to hold any objects in dispute.
- Watch for signs that children have fully expressed their feelings – then move on with problem solving.
- If necessary, acknowledge feelings throughout the problem-solving discussion.
Steps 3, 4, 5 & 6: Supporting Children's Solutions
In the last four steps, children take the initiative in finding a solution. These steps are the "thinking" part of problem solving.
- Gather Information
- Ask children questions about the conflict.
- Listen for each child's perception of the problem so that you can repeat or restate relevant details for the children to consider.
- Key roles in this step – listen neutrally; void taking sides or forming opinions about the situation.
- Restate the Problem
- Repeat back what the children have said, reframing any hurtful words and resisting any judgments or quick solutions.
- If children correct your statement, then restate the correction.
- Ask for Ideas for Solutions and Choose One Together
- First, ask children involved in the dispute for solutions.
- Next, ask children nearby for ideas.
- Tell them that you have an idea, and ask if they want to hear it.
- Give limited choices.
- Tell the children you will need to decide the outcome. (This is absolutely a last resort and is rarely necessary).
- Be Prepared to Give Follow-Up Support
- Give support to children's ideas and efforts by making a simple affirming statement.
- Stay nearby briefly, as children re-engage in their activities. This way, you are available to help if there is any confusion about the solution or if unresolved feelings flare up once again.
Source: Evans, B. (2002). You can't come to my birthday party! Conflict resolution with young children. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
The following methods are not used by staff:
- Physical punishment such as hitting, shoving, or spanking.
- Mental or emotional punishment such as humiliation, shaming, or threatening.
- Depriving a child of meals, rest, or necessary toilet use.
- Confinement of a child in an enclosed area such as a closet or locked room.
Please inform a teacher or the center director if you witness questionable treatment of a child.
To protect other children and adults from illness, children should be kept at home if he/she has any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100˚ or more
- Heavy nasal discharge
- Eye discharge
- Ear discharge
- An unidentified or contagious rash
If a child is running a temperature of 100 degrees or more, they must stay home until they have been fever-free for 24 hours.
By law, a child who has a contagious disease must stay home from school. Parents inform the center when their child has a contagious disease and keep the center posted on his/her condition. The most common contagious illnesses among preschoolers are strep throat, pinworm, ringworm, viral infections, ear and gland infections, measles, mumps, chicken pox, and scarlet fever.
If a child becomes ill during the school day, he/she will be removed from the classroom and made comfortable. Parents are contacted to come and take the child home. If parents cannot be contacted, staff will attempt to contact the person(s) listed on the Child Information Record. In the event of a medical emergency or an accident requiring more than first aid care, the child will be taken to Children's Hospital.
Illness Exclusion Policy
Children will be excluded from the program when they have a communicable disease. They will be readmitted when a doctor determines that they are no longer contagious.
Parents who have opted to not have their child immunized will be asked to keep their child at home if a vaccine-preventable disease occurs in the program. The child will be readmitted after the incubation period for the disease has expired.
Staff uses the following guidelines to determine when to call parents:
When you should call the child's parents
Adapted from materials developed by Washtenaw County Human Services Health Division. Reprinted with permission.
Parents, child care providers and caregivers often ask, "When should you call the parents in case of illness or accidents?"
Here are six possible reasons to call a parent and ask if the parent can come to be with the child as soon as possible.
- If a child has a temperature of 100 degrees F (taken by mouth).
- If a child has a temperature of 99 F (taken under the arm).
- If a child has two (2) loose or watery stools, even if there are no signs of illness, call the parents…
- Exception – This may occasionally by caused by new foods a child has eaten, but call the parents to find out if this is the likely cause.
- Any vomiting is a reason to call a parent.
- If the child develops any rash, call the parent.
- Crying and Complaining for a Long Time
- Any time a child is not "herself" or "himself" and is complaining about discomfort or is just cranky and crying more than usual for that child.
- Call the parent and inform them of any accidents that are more than just minor bumps or scraps.
- If the injury is serious, call the parent and follow the procedure for medical emergencies (see p. 21).
Prescription medication for a child is given to the teacher along with a MEDICINE CONSENT FORM. The medication must be in its original container. The container must have the child's name, the name of the medication, the doctor's name, the dosage, and how many times per day it is to be given. The staff cannot give over-the-counter medication.
Medicine will be administered according to the doctor's directions as written on the label and only if the child will take the medicine willingly. If the child will not take the medicine willingly, the parent must administer it.
Medication Administration Procedure
Staff follows the proper practices of medication administration. The practices are as follows:
- Verify that the right child receives the correct medication by double-checking the name on the medication container.
- Verify the dosage as prescribed on the medication container.
- Verify the right time for administering the medication by double-checking the Medicine Consent Form.
- Verify the right method of administering the medication as detailed on the medication container.
- Record the date and time medication was given.
Parents are to inform the teacher of any allergies the child has. This is particularly important in the case of food allergies. Allergies and food restrictions are posted in the center's kitchen and the classroom for staff reference.
Upon entering the classroom, staff, children, and parents will wash their hands. After this initial washing, hands will be washed throughout the day as needed. The handwashing procedure is as follows:
- Turn on warm water.
- Wet hands with water.
- Apply liquid soap.
- Wash hands well for at least 10 - 15 seconds. Rub top and inside of hands, under nails, and between fingers.
- Rinse hands under running water for at least 10 seconds.
- Dry hands with clean, disposable paper towel.
- Turn off water using the paper towel.
- Throw the paper towel into a lined trash container.
As required by the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) Licensing Rules, a Nap/Rest Time must be provided for children who are in care for 5 or more continuous hours. Nap Time is from 12:20 – 1:45 p.m.
It will take some time for children to get comfortable sleeping in a group with other children. Here are some helpful suggestions for parents:
- Talk to your children about nap time at school. Tell them that everyone needs to lie down and take a rest. Reassure them that they do not have to sleep, but they do have to rest on their cot and be quiet so as not to disturb children who do want to sleep.
- If your child likes to cuddle, send in a stuffed animal or doll that can be kept in their locker and brought out at nap time.
- If your child likes to look at books, send in a special book each day that can be kept in their locker and brought out at nap time for them to read quietly on their cot.
- Send in a family photo or several photos that we can keep in your child's mailbox. Nap time is typically the time that children talk about missing their family. Giving children photos of their family to look at as they lay on their cots seems to comfort them and help them relax.
Bedding for Nap Time
The centers provides a cot for each child's exclusive use. It is the parent's responsibility to:
- Provide a pillow and a sheet or blanket that is sent to school on Mondays.
- Label all bedding with their child's name.
- Take home and launder their child's bedding on Fridays.
Outdoor Play Policy
Outdoor play enhances all areas of development. The director has the responsibility of determining if weather conditions permit outdoor play. The following guidelines will be used:
- The length of outdoor time may vary depending on the temperature.
- There will be no outdoor time if the temperature is 25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
- Wind chill factor will be taken into consideration.