Understanding and Supporting Behaviour

Safeguarding and Welfare Requirement: Managing behaviour

Providers must have and implement a behaviour management policy and procedure


Statement of intent:


We believe that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are understood, supported and met and where there are clear, fair and developmentally appropriate expectations for their behaviour. We understand that all behaviour is a means of communication, and a sympathetic and compassionate approach to children’s behaviour reframes the question “what is wrong with you?” to “what has happened to you?”. We therefore find it helpful to consider looking beyond the behaviour to try and understand what id happening or has happened in a child’s life to cause them to behave in a particular way.


As children develop, they learn about boundaries, the difference between right and wrong, and to consider the views and feelings, and needs and rights, of others and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. The development of these skills requires adult guidance to help encourage and model appropriate behaviours and to offer intervention and support when children struggle with conflict and emotional situations. In these types of situations key staff can help identify and address triggers for the behaviour and help children reflect, regulate and manage their actions. We have some pre-school rules we share with the children to help support them understanding behaviour.


  • We require all staff, volunteers and students to:
    • Provide a positive model of behaviour by treating all children, parents/carers and one another with friendliness, care and courtesy.
    • Use positive strategies for handling any conflict by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the child’s age and stages of development.


  • We recognise that young children require help in understanding the range of feelings experienced and help them recognise their feelings by naming them and helping them express them in a non-aggressive way and encourage and support self-regulation.


  • We praise, endorse and encourage desirable behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.


  • We use an initial problem solving intervention (conflict resolution) for all situations in which a child or children are distressed or in conflict. All staff use this intervention consistently.


  • This type of approach involves an adult approaching the situation calmly, stopping any hurtful actions, acknowledging the feelings of those involved, gathering information, restating the issue to help children reflect, regain control of the situation and resolve the situation themselves. (The High scope 6 step approach to conflict resolution) We support children using the conflict resolution 6 step approach as guidance.


  • If a child is upset we will comfort them.


  • We avoid creating situations in which children receive adult attention only in return for undesirable behaviour. We aim to achieve this by praising children and acknowledging their positive actions and attitudes. We help children see that we value and respect them.


  • We never use physical punishment, such as smacking or shaking.  Children are never threatened with these, nor do we shout or raise our voices.  We do not use techniques intended to single out or humiliate individual children and support the children in finding solutions to conflicts.


  • We never use physical restraints (such as holding) or physically remove a child from a situation unless it is necessary to use “reasonable force in order to prevent children from injuring themselves or others or damage property” (EYFS). Details are bought to the attention of the parent and are recorded in our Incident book/physical intervention log


Supporting and intervention


  • We work in partnership with parent/carers in regard to behaviour. But sometimes the reasons for some types of behaviour are not always apparent, despite the knowledge and input from key staff and parents. Where we have considered all possible reasons, a focused intervention approach should then be applied.This approach allows staff to observe, reflect, and identify causes and functions of unwanted behaviour in the wider context of other known influences on the child. We follow the ABCC method which uses key observations to identify a) an event or activity (antecedent) that occurred immediately before a particular behaviour, b) what behaviour was observed and recorded at the time of the incident, and c) what the consequences were following the behaviour. C) any communication from child or adult. Once analysed, the focused intervention should help determine the cause (e.g. ownership of a toy or fear of a situation) and function of the behaviour (to obtain the toy or avoid a situation) and suitable support will be applied.


Challenging aggressive/negative behaviours from a child to a child


  • Any aggressive or racial behaviour by children towards other children will result in a staff member intervening immediately to challenge and prevent escalation.
  • If the behaviour has been significant or may potentially have a detrimental effect on the child, the parents of the child who has been the victim of behaviour and the parents of the child who has been the perpetrator should be informed.
  • The designated person will contact children’s social services if appropriate and will consider whether notifying the police is appropriate.
  • The designated person will make a written record of the incident, which is kept in the child’s file; in line with the Safeguarding children policy.


Rough and tumble play, and fantasy aggression


We recognise that teasing and rough and tumble play are normal for young children and acceptable within limits.


We develop strategies that are agreed with the children and understood by them to contain this type of play so it does not become hurtful or inconsiderate. We use opportunities of fantasy play to explore the concepts of right and wrong. Where children are engaged in rough and tumble or fantasy play we have a strict no contact rule.



This policy was adopted at a meeting of Ladybird’s Pre-school held October 2007                                  



Review date



1 feb 06

Jan 07

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