Hi! At my school we are really struggling with biting, scratching, pushing, etc. in the toddler and 2s classes as well as some extreme behaviors in all classes such as screaming/tantrums and power struggles. These behaviors are upsetting for children, teachers and families. I am working with teachers to learn how to manage these behaviors and positively guide and redirect children. I am also working with families to to find the possible root cause of these behaviors such as speech/language delay or sensory processing needs. What I find so challenging is that we are often looking at behaviors that are developmental so we don't immediately rush to getting an outside evaluation until we observe and try to put some strategies in place. I have parents demanding that children are removed from the class. Of course I cannot talk about other children with parents, and it just puts us in a difficult situation. Have any of you been dealing with a similar situation? How did you handle it? Thanks in advance!
Hello, I am from the Detroit area in MI. We have been experiencing the same exact scenarios. This is all new I add it to the post COVID issues. If anyone has any suggestions I'd appreciate it!
I saw someone else suggested sign language for infants/toddlers and I totally agree. The issue with 2 year olds or older ones is that they can't verbalize their emotions so they resort to biting, hitting, kicking, and other physical forms of frustration. This is definitely a normal thing that parents should be expected to understand when they put their child in a group environment at this age. That will help a lot if you do this on the onset of enrollment. Teaching children simple sign language at an early age really helps alleviate a lot of this as I have seen in real studies that we have done at centers.
Just want to thank you all for being so open and available for discussion.I love having this chat forum available😊Everybody have a great day and remember when it comes down to it we make a huge difference in every child's life.Embrace the little joys in life!!!
I'm a toddler teacher in a 12-18m class. I rarely have issues with hitting or biting. The last biting incident happened when a child stuck their fingers in another child's mouth, and that was maybe 3-4 months ago. Otherwise the last attempt was months before that and thankfully the child listened when asked not to bite when I noticed it was about to happen.
As for hitting, it's all communication. We have a child currently who doesn't seem to like friends in close proximity and will bap bap bap until they move. The child in question is one of the more verbal (for the age, approx 14m) children in the class, and we use a lot of sign language. Some of my students are up to 3-4 word sentences, mostly asking to read more. It doesn't really stem the hitting though. There's just not enough expressive language or impulse control to say "I'm mad" or "I don't like that". So they hit. I explain to parents that it's communication, and that when we talk to them (the parents) about it it's not about us being upset, but working together as a team to curb the behavior. When the child hits I try to talk to them and give discs between other children and reiterate "you can walk away".
Hi Debbie. In my toddler class, we also have some children who are at this stage of biting, pushing, scratching, etc. We have found that books such as "Teeth are Not for Biting", "No Hitting " and "Sharing Time" are very helpful to us and the children. We read such books at story time to them as often as needed during the day and they enjoy listening to the stories as the teachers act them out. Sometimes they themselves start to mimic what we are saying and remember what we are trying to teach them! Some of our parents purchase the same type of books to also read to their children at home when we express our concern. This is very helpful and lets us know parents are doing their part at home. I do find that for some of kids in the class who we know are more likely to exhibit such behaviors, we like to "shadow" them more often throughout the day in order to prevent more incidents. Those who we shadow are still free to enjoy play and learn, but we as teachers have to do our best to be more vigilant in the classroom. It can be very difficult at times to do this. If possible, having an additional teacher to support in the classroom at times can be helpful in having an extra set of eyes.
We also have to realize that for many toddlers at this stage are still learning to express themselves and talk. Many times the biting, scratching and hitting happen out of frustration of not being able to get the words out. At my school our education coaches also encourage us to use sign language in the classroom in order to help children express themselves. Hopefully this has been helpful, as many of us go through it😊
Sharlene this is very true about their social and emotional skills being in the early development stage.I think the sign language is a very useful tool.I have been working with my 3 and 4 year olds on sign language signs for certain things like being quiet and walking not running and they are quite receptive to it.I guess it all comes down to patience and keep trying😊
Yes, it does take a lot of patience 😊. I too agree, that there must be a level of accountability on both the schools part and for the parents. Unfortunately at my school, there have been times where a child has had to enroll in another school because of biting or other behavioral problems. It may be sad to see that child go, but we also have to look at the interests of all parents who trust us to give their child the very best each day.
Hi....it is so disconcerting to see this type of behaviour so much in toddlers.I am guessing them getting left out on socializing skills during covid has a lot to do with it all though they would have been just babies during the worst part of covid.As far as children hurting other children I think the directors do need to be forceful on setting limits with parents on how far their biting and hitting,choking,scratching will be tolerated before the parents are asked to keep the child home a few days and think about what they can do to further instruct and discipline their children not to do this.The same goes for the parents of older kids.The control and behaviour guidance has to start at home before we can manage it in the school setting.I am seeing aggressive behaviour become too tolerated in our center and it is upsetting.In the playground(indoor and outdoor) we have to be watching those few children who are aggressive constantly and are missing out on opportunities to bond with the other children in playground activities.I hope this will somehow get better with all of us(including parents) trying to fix these problems and find what works
At our Preschool I have separated our classrooms: PreK 2.0, PreK 2.5, PreK 3.5 and our VPK Programs. I've seen this has worked for us. Also, we do have therapist in our Preschool. We have a Speech, O.T., Physical, and Behavior Therapist. Having the therapist in our school has definitely helped. If it's not possible to have the therapist then I suggest you speak to the parent of the children with the behavior problems to get therapy. We have learned that these behaviors could be sensory.
We have created a discipline report and after the fifth disciplinary report the child will be suspended. We have found that the parents react immediately and they get the help their child needs.
Hope this information will help.
What kinds of things do you include on a discipline report. If I suspended after 5 reports, I think I would have suspended a 1/4 of the students in my center. Also, is this in a certain time window? I have some students who have had 5 in one day and others who have had 5 across 3 years. While I have used suspension and expulsion in rare occasions, it breaks my heart, and I wish we had more resources to help them in the classrooms.