The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the child care environment is both physically and psychologically safe. All children have different personalities, and are at different levels of development and understanding. Yet all children require guidance so they can learn to control their own emotions and be sensitive to others. Learning appropriate social behaviour should be a positive experience for them, one that maintains a healthy self-concept and promotes positive feelings for the group as a whole. I plan to help the children learn self-control in the following, constructive ways:
- As a caregiver, I will make a conscious effort to spend more time applauding and reinforcing desirable behaviour than criticizing or punishing undesirable behaviour.
- I will assist the child physically and/or verbally to find ways to solve probelms and thereby avoid becoming frustrated. Frustration is a major cause of undesirable behaviour, especially for toddlers.
- When undesirable behaviour does occur, I will explain (always in language the child understands) that this behaviour is not allowed, and why.
- I will communicate corrective messages as clearly as possible, by simplifying the language, getting down to the child's eye level, and checking for understanding. This should be done quickly, in a clear, yet non-threatening manner.
- Immediately after this, I will divert the child's (and others in the group) attention back to the activity in a positive way. (E.g. Wow! This tower is getting so tall!) This not only helps everyone to focus on the positive, but it minimizes the extent to which a child's pride may be wounded.
- For more extreme behaviour (trying to bite, hit, or throw toys across the room, for example), the child is given 3 warnings. (I follow the method presented by Dr. Thomas W. Phelan in his book "1-2-3 Magic". http://www.parentmagic.com/). If the child persists with the behaviour, I will state "time out - no biting" (for example). The child will then have time-out on the couch facing the group (if it is possible for the child to remain seated), behind the couch (blocked from the group) or in a playpen in the same or next room. Time-outs are generally short: 1 minute per age of the child. I do feel that it is sometimes important to separate the child from the group for this short time. (At least, this is what works for the 2-year-olds in my care, and sometimes they request it.)
- When the child is removed from "time out", I will restate "no ______ ", and follow by stating the behaviour the child should exhibit. For example, it may sound like this: "No pushing. Be gentle. Gentle with your friends."
- It is paramount that the child feel that she is liked, and know that I see him/her as a good person. He or she should be warmly welcomed back to the group, and there should be no more talk about the behaviour.