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Changing the Behaviour of a Difficult Child

Want to be His Nanny?

Want to be His Nanny?

Different people may well have different opinions of a particular child. Typically an  assessment by the child carer or nanny will not be the same as the child's parents who usually think that their angel can do no wrong.

It may be useful for everyone who is working with a particular child to use the same set of criteria when doing an evaluation. Here are some signs to look for to determine if a child falls in the "difficult" category:

  • They throw a tantrum whenever they cannot have something they want. They may fall on the floor, scream, and even hold their breath to the point of turning blue. Although the breath-holding can be worrying, the child cannot actually harm himself by doing this.
  • They constantly dissolve into tears and unruly behaviour. They may hit and bite you when you punish them.
  • They hit, push, or bite other children when they cannot get their way.
  • They ignore your commands or instructions.
  • They will not share things with other children, and bully them by taking away their toys.
  • They constantly show-off, and try to be the centre of attention, which may well point to a lack of attention at home.
  • They always want what whatever anyone else has, often they take it by force, and once they are in possession of it, they want something new.
  • They have frequent crying spells for no apparent reason.
  • They refuse to settle down in bed and take naps. They cry continuously until you come and give them some attention.
  • They defy you frequently and often stubbornly say "no" when you give them instructions.

If a child under your care acts in any of the ways described above, don't worry too much. Here are some strategies that will definitely help:

  • Firmly and resolutely discipline children when they show disrespect. You must demonstrate that disrespectful behaviour towards you, other adults and children will not be tolerated. the method of discipline may involve time-out, a firm and louder-than-normal voice command, or removal of a favourite toy. In my view, it should not involve any physical punishment, like smacking. That should not be necessary and has the potential to get you in all sorts of trouble if you are the nanny.
  • Develop a routine and stick to it. Children feel more comfortable and secure with routine in their lives and need adults such as their child care provider and parents to establish it.
  • Teach them gratitude and piety. Difficult behaviour is a symptom of selfishness. when kids learn the importance, and feel the rewards of helping others, they are more likely to be thankful for similar behaviour directed at themselves.
  • Do not over-indulge their every whim. Let them know that not everything in life comes easily upon demand. When they do cooperate, give copious praise and perhaps a sticker to display prominently somewhere. Don't ever offer candy as a reward.
  • Difficult behaviour in children is often a way to attract the attention the child craves. Every child needs a certain amount of special attention, where he feels that he is important to the child care professional or parent. Do give that one-on-one attention for some time everyday. It helps the bonding process and makes the child feel special.
  • Compliment the child when he or she does the right thing. Be genuine in your praise.

You may need to discuss these strategies with the other parties involved in caring for the child. Nannies and parents must work together if you are to improve the child's behaviour. If nannies and parents work together consistently  you will notice an improvement in behaviour, sometimes dramatically so.

What do You do When Your Child Won’t Tell You What’s Wrong?

Most parents experience it at least  a few times. their child looks unhappy but won't, or can't tell the parent what is troubling them. For most parents it is a difficult situation to accept. How serious is the problem? Will it have blown over by tomorrow? Or is it the beginning of a drawn-out issue that should be nipped in the bud now? Here are some suggestions which may help:

  • Be patient. Although it is a worrying time for a parent, give your child a little space. Don't put too much pressure on him or her to tell you everything immediately. Most likely they will come to you of their own accord once they have had a bit of time to think about it.
  • Check with a brother or sister. Your other children often know more about what is going on around them than you may think and if the situation is serious, they will most likely be concerned enough to tell you what they understand about the situation.
  • Do not show anger. Although the situation might be very worrying, allowing your frustration to show is the surest way to break down communication and will just cause your child to retreat into the safety of their inner world.
  • Look for clues. A child who never wants to go to school, or who cries when the babysitter arrives, might be just expressing anxiety from being separated from her parents, or she might be frightened of bullying at school or poor treatment form the babysitter.
  • Do check for signs of physical abuse. Sometimes, out of a misplaced sense of shame or embarrassment, children will try to hide bruises caused by bullying.
  • Encourage them to talk to you about their feelings on everything. Don't chide or ridicule your children, even if you feel they are over-reacting to a situation. Get them to verbalise their feelings and then ask questions that allow them to explore possible outcomes of various actions.
  • Meet with your child's teacher. They will have at least some idea of any difficulties your child may be having with friends, if she is being picked on, or if she is having difficulties with her lessons.
  • Ask them if she would like to talk to somebody else. Most schools have a counsellor, or a teacher who every child feels comfortable with. Your child may feel better talking with them, especially if the problem is concerning something happening at school.

If your child's anxiety and troubling behaviour lasts for more than a day-or-so, it is important to find out the cause. Let your child understand that you are concerned about her and want to resolve the situation quickly. This will help to build trust and ensure that  in future similar situations your child will come to you for help.

How to Listen to Your Kids

Listening to Your Child
Listening to Your Child

Listening to Your Child

After writing and thinking about the post titled Listening with Interest I thought of more to say on the topic:

I have spoken with some parent friends who worry that their child is not talking to them enough. Not telling them about their day, their friends, and most importantly if anything is troubling them. I think the important thing is to get them talking to you from the very youngest age and then keep them doing it.

I once saw a funny Woody Allen movie in which a psychiatrist is talking to him while he is lying on a sofa. The neurotic Woody is rattling on about relationships which are troubling him, and in the pauses of his drawn-out monologue the psychiatrist inserts a brief emotionless "uh ha" or "and how did that make you feel?", or "and how did you respond to that?" or "and what did you think then?"

In the context of the movie it was funny of course and, although I don't really know how a psychiatrist or therapist operates, there is certainly some value in that technique when it comes to listening to children. You don't need to say very much at all, just demonstrate that you are listening, concentrating and thinking about what they are saying.

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Let the Children Play

Let the Children Play
Let the Children Play

Let the Children Play

FINALLY... The Prime Minister listened to me!

Actually, he doesn't even know me, but never mind. You can be sure that if a topic gets mentioned in the National Day Rally speech, it is causing real concern amongst the nation's leading thinkers. I'm actually a bit surprised that they have turned their attention to the pre-school environment. We've slipped a bit in some of our PISA rankings (Programme for International Student Assessment), dropping from our previous top position in maths and losing out to Korea and Shanghai.

But what the heck. Pre-schoolers are so young. They are still learning to socialise. They need to learn to play together, make compromises with each other and explore their creativity. Who cares what number they can count up to, it doesn't matter. Pushing phonics and early learn to read classes are also, in my opinion, not only unnecessary, but potentially too stressful for them.

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Kids Who Turn Into Happy Adults

Why are we here? What is our purpose on this lonely planet? Whilst there are always a few people who profess to know the answer, most of us will agree that we haven't a clue.

So how should we respond to this human condition? Study hard, get a good job, earn lots of money to buy nice things? Or live a selfless life devoted to improving the well-being of others, while minimising one's own wants and needs?

And how should we guide our children? Push them into the best schools, make them swat endlessly for exams and hope they end up in a "dream job" in a law firm?

More than one professional educator has told me that the most important thing a child can learn, is how to socialise effectively. To learn how to pass an exam is an extremely narrow focus that doesn't necessarily prepare one for the real world. If you think about it, being successful is more about how well you interact with others and your ability to get them to be a part of your plan, than it is about knowing the necessary facts.

So it didn't really surprise me to read the results of a study which started about 35 years ago in New Zealand. 1,037 children were studied and followed from the age of three until thirty eight. The study found that disadvantages such as being born into a low income family or of not having a high IQ had little impact on the sense of well-being after reaching adulthood.

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Bringing Out the Best in Your Child

29/02/2012 child care, Opinion

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List for Help in Raising a Child
List for Help in Raising a Child

List for Help in Raising a Child

  • To help in bringing out the best in your child, allowing her to discover her own interests observing what kind of activity that she chooses during free-time play, will give you lots of information about where her gifts lie.
  • Expose her to many different activities and experiences. They may trigger an interest which hasn't manifested itself yet. Don't assume that your child is not gifted in a particular area just because he or she has not shown an interest.
  • Allow your child to make mistakes and don't criticise her when mistakes do happen. If she is expected to do everything perfectly,  she be too frightened to take risks which are necessary to discover and develop her talent.
  • Ask questions a lot, and if your child asks you a question answer it with another. Encourage your child to learn about the wonders of nature and the way things work by asking intriguing question. Why do we need to breathe air? Why is the water in the reservoir blue (or green, or gray) then find out the answers together.

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