We have a responsibility to support the children in personal, social and emotional development, including issues concerning behaviour. We aim to teach children to behave in socially acceptable ways and to understand the needs and rights of others. The principles guiding management of behaviour exist within the programme for supporting personal, social and emotional development.

All children and adults are treated with equal concern and are made tofeel welcome the setting.

parents and children. We set out reasonable andappropriate limits to help manage the behaviour of the children in our care by providing rules.


We require all staff, volunteers and students to provide a positive model of behaviour by treating children, parents and one another with friendliness, care and courtesy.

We work in partnership with children’s parents. Parents are regularly informed about their children’s behaviour by their key person. The Manager/Keyworker will work with parents to address recurring inconsiderate behaviour, using our observation records to help us to understand the cause and to decide jointly how to respond appropriately.

We endorse positive discipline as a more effective way of setting limits forchildren.

We keep up to date with behaviour management issues and relevantlegislation by taking regular training and by reading relevant publications.

***We expect parents to inform us of any changes in the child’s home circumstances, care arrangements or any other change which may affect the child’s behaviour such as a new baby, parents’ separation, divorce or any bereavement. All information shared will be kept confidential unless there appears to be a child protection issue.***

The main reasons for very young children to engage in excessive hurtful behaviour are that:
• they do not feel securely attached to someone who can interpret and meet their needs – this may be in the home and it may also be in the setting;
• their parent, or carer in the setting, does not have skills in responding appropriately, and consequently negative patterns are developing where hurtful behaviour is the only response the child has to express feelings of anger;
• the child is exposed to levels of aggressive behaviour at home and may be at risk emotionally, or may be experiencing child abuse; and
• the child has a developmental condition that affects how they behave.

We encourage appropriate behaviour by:

  • Setting a good example, I aim to be a positive role model aschildren copy what they see. Children learn values and behaviourfrom adults.
  • We readily praise, approve and reward wanted behaviour, such assharing, to encourage it to be repeated.
  • We use praise which helps to showthat we value the child and it helps to build their self esteem.
  • We praise children to their parents and other people when they havebehaved as expected.
  • We try to be consistent when saying “no” and explain reasons why itis not appropriate and considered unwanted behaviour.
  • My expectations are flexible and realistic and are adjusted to theage, level of understanding, maturity and stage of development ofthe child.
  • We try to involving children in setting and agreeing house rules.

Strategies with children who engage in inconsiderate behaviour:
• We use positive strategies for handling any inconsiderate behaviour, by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the children’s ages and stages of development. Such solutions might include, for example, time out with sand timers, acknowledgement of feelings, explanation as to what was not acceptable, and supporting children to gain control of their feelings so that they can learn a more appropriate response.

  • We encourage responsibility by talking to children about choices and possible consequences.
  • We are firm and consistent so that children know and feel secure in the boundaries we set.
  • We respond positively to children who constantly seek attention or are disruptive.
  • We ensure children maintain their self esteem by showing I disapprove of the behaviour not the child.
  • We ensure that there are enough popular toys and resources and sufficient activities available so that children are meaningfully occupied without the need for unnecessary conflict over sharing and waiting for turns.
  • We acknowledge considerate behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.
  • We support each child in developing self esteem, confidence and feelings of competence.
  • We support each child in developing a sense of belonging in our group, so that they feel valued and welcome.
  • We avoid creating situations in which children receive adult attention only in return for inconsiderate behaviour.
  • When children behave in inconsiderate ways, we help them to understand the outcomes of their action and support them in learning how to cope more appropriately.
  • We never send children out of the room by themselves.
  • We never use physical punishment, such as smacking or shaking. Children are never threatened with these.
  • We do not use techniques intended to single out and humiliate individual children.
  • We use physical restraint, such as holding, only to prevent physical injury to children or adults and/or serious damage to property.Details of such an event (what happened, what action was taken and by whom, and the names of witnesses) are recorded on our Incident Forms and are reported to the child’s parent on the same day.
  • In cases of serious misbehaviour, such as racial or other abuse, we make clear immediately the unacceptability of the behaviour and attitudes, by means of explanations rather than personal blame.
  • We do not shout or raise our voices in a threatening way to respond to children’s inconsiderate behaviour.

Rough and tumble play and fantasy aggression:
Young children often engage in play that has aggressive themes – such as superhero and weapon play; some children appear pre-occupied with these themes, but their behaviour is not necessarily a precursor to hurtful behaviour or bullying, although it may be inconsiderate at times and may need addressing using strategies as above.
• We recognise that teasing and rough and tumble play are normal for young children and acceptable within limits. We regard these kinds of play as pro-social and not as problematic or ‘aggressive’.
• We will develop strategies to contain play that are agreed with the children, and understood by them, with acceptable behavioural boundaries to ensure children are not hurt.
• We recognise that fantasy play also contains many violently dramatic strategies – blowing up, shooting etc., and that themes often refer to ‘goodies and baddies’ and as such offer opportunities for us to explore concepts of right and wrong.
• We are able to tune in to the content of the play, perhaps to suggest alternative strategies for heroes and heroines, making the most of ‘teachable moments’ to encourage empathy and lateral thinking to explore alternative scenarios and strategies for conflict resolution.

Hurtful behaviour:
We take hurtful behaviour very seriously. Most children under the age of five will at some stage hurt or say something hurtful to another child, especially if their emotions are high at the time, but it is not helpful to label this behaviour as ‘bullying’. For children under five, hurtful behaviour is momentary, spontaneous and often without cognisance of the feelings of the person whom they have hurt.
• We recognise that young children behave in hurtful ways towards others because they have not yet developed the means to manage intense feelings that sometimes overwhelm them.
• We will help them manage these feelings as they have neither the biological means nor the cognitive means to do this for themselves.
• We understand that self management of intense emotions, especially of anger, happens when the brain has developed neurological systems to manage the physiological processes that take place when triggers activate responses of anger or fear.
• Therefore we help this process by offering support, calming the child who is angry as well as the one who has been hurt by the behaviour. By helping the child to return to a normal state, we are helping the brain to develop the physiological response system that will help the child be able to manage his or her own feelings.
• Our way of responding to pre-verbal children is to calm them through holding and cuddling. Verbal children will also respond to cuddling to calm them down, but we offer them explanation and discuss the incident with them to their level of understanding.
• We recognise that young children require help in understanding the range of feelings experienced. We help children recognise their feelings by naming them and helping children to express them, making a connection verbally between the event and the feeling. ‘Adam took your car, didn’t he, and you were enjoying playing with it. You didn’t like it when he took it, did you? It made you feel angry, didn’t it, and you hit him’.
• We help young children learn to empathise with others, understanding that they have feelings too and that their actions impact on others’ feelings. ‘When you hit Adam, it hurt him and he didn’t like that and it made him cry’.
• We help young children develop pro-social behaviour, such as resolving conflict over who has the toy. ‘I can see you are feeling better now and Adam isn’t crying any more. Let’s see if we can be friends and find another car, so you can both play with one.’
• We are aware that the same problem may happen over and over before skills such as sharing and turn-taking develop. In order for both the biological maturation and cognitive development to take place, children will need repeated experiences with problem solving, supported by patient adults and clear boundaries.
• We support social skills through modelling behaviour, through activities, drama and stories. We build self esteem and confidence in children, recognising their emotional needs through close and committed relationships with them.
• We help a child to understand the effect that their hurtful behaviour has had on another child; we do not force children to say sorry, but encourage this where it is clear that they are genuinely sorry and wish to show this to the person they have hurt.
• When hurtful behaviour becomes problematic, we work with parents (Manager/Keyworker) to identify the cause and find a solution together.

We take bullying very seriously. Bullying involves the persistent physical or verbal abuse of another child or children. It is characterised by intent to hurt, often planned, and accompanied by an awareness of the impact of the bullying behaviour.
A child who is bullying has reached a stage of cognitive development where he or she is able to plan to carry out a premeditated intent to cause distress to another.
Bullying can occur in children five years old and over and may well be an issue in after school clubs and holiday schemes catering for slightly older children.
If a child bullies another child or children:
• we show the children who have been bullied that we are able to listen to their concerns and act upon them;
• we intervene to stop the child who is bullying from harming the other child or children;
• we explain to the child doing the bullying why her/his behaviour is not acceptable;
• we give reassurance to the child or children who have been bullied;
• we help the child who has done the bullying to recognise the impact of their actions;
• we make sure that children who bully receive positive feedback for considerate behaviour and are given opportunities to practise and reflect on considerate behaviour;
• we do not label children who bully as ‘bullies’;
• we recognise that children who bully may be experiencing bullying themselves, or be subject to abuse or other circumstance causing them to express their anger in negative ways towards others;
• we recognise that children who bully are often unable to empathise with others and for this reason we do not insist that they say sorry unless it is clear that they feel genuine remorse for what they have done. Empty apologies are just as hurtful to the bullied child as the original behaviour;
• we discuss what has happened with the parents of the child who did the bullying and work out with them a plan for handling the child’s behaviour; and
• we share what has happened with the parents of the child who has been bullied, explaining that the child who did the bullying is being helped to adopt more acceptable ways of behaving.