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.