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C2.1 - Behaviour Management

Behaviour Management - Including statements on physical intervention, bullying and biting


Children develop positive behaviour through having secure relationships and interactions with adults who act as good role models. At Greenfields we believe that it is important to encourage and praise positive and caring behaviour at all times and provide an environment where children learn to respect themselves and others.

When managing children’s behaviour, Greenfields staff aim to work in partnership with parents and other carers in order to take into account their wishes and aspirations for their children. Staff will aim to involve parents/carers in decisions made about their children and to develop positive strategies to encourage children’s development and appropriate behaviour. Children naturally explore and learn in a physical and enthusiastic manner we aim to encourage this in a positive and non-restrictive way which values and nurtures children’s individual personalities.

In order to promote positive behaviour in children we aim to:

  • Implement strategies to promote self-esteem and the encouragement of positive behaviour. This includes self-discipline and consideration for others and the environment
  • Always act as positive role models for children.
  • Work in partnership with parents and other carers through open communication and agreed codes of practice
  • Praise children’s positive interactions and behaviour
  • Promote non-aggressive behaviour towards others and themselves and teach children to deal with conflict effectively
  • Provide a key person system that enables staff to build strong relationships with children and families and communicate effectively
  • Develop clear and concise rules which will be consistently applied to help children feel secure and understand what is expected of them.
  • Make it clear to children what we want them to do rather than focusing on the negative and telling them what we don’t want them to do
  • Planning for a stimulating and age/stage appropriate environment will help to prevent disruptive behaviour occurring
  • Help children negotiate solutions to problems with other children and model these skills appropriately.
  • Encourage children to talk about and understand their feelings.
  • Have age/stage appropriate expectations of children’s behaviour

The named person/people for managing behaviour are the managers and SENCOs in each setting. They will work in partnership to support and advise the team leaders and key workers. Their role involves:

  • Supporting other staff in observing children and advising on strategies.
  • Observing staff to review behaviour management techniques
  • Ensuring the behaviour management policy is adhered to
  • Accessing outside advice from other professionals and agencies if needed

When children exhibit unacceptable behaviour:

  • We recognise children’s individuality and understand that some behaviour is age/stage appropriate. Childcare staff will use their knowledge and experience to adapt their approach accordingly.
  • Smacking, shaking, physical chastisement or humiliation of a child is never allowed.
  • It will always be acknowledged that it is the behaviour that is unacceptable not the child
  • Physical intervention will only be used if absolutely necessary in order to protect the safety of the child, other children or adults
  • We may ask to meet with parents to discuss their child’s behaviour to in order to work together and ensure consistency at home and nursery
  • Observations may take place to identify the cause of the behaviour.
  • Discriminatory comments and/or behaviour from children, parent/carers or staff are not acceptable and will be challenged. Any such behaviour exhibited by a child will be discussed with the parents/carers.
  • It may be appropriate for advice to be sought from other agencies in developing plans to address any difficulties staff may experience with a child’s behaviour. In order to work in partnership with parents, most referrals to such agencies will be made with their consent. In more serious situations it may be necessary to seek advice without consent.
  • Physically aggressive behaviour exhibited by children will be strongly discouraged, i.e. hitting, biting, kicking etc.
  • Wherever possible children techniques such as re-direction, managed choices, distraction and compromise will be used as appropriate .The behaviour will not be highlighted and children will not be singled out or humiliated.
  • Staff will not raise their voices to children (unless it is necessary to keep children safe)
  • Children’s age and stage of development will be taken into consideration when managing their behaviour. We will make every effort to provide for and support their individual needs. Children will only be expected to apologise if they have developed strong empathy skills however it will always be modelled to all children.
  • If needed individual behaviour support strategies will be developed for children who need additional support with managing their behaviour.
  • Always support children’s emotions even when they have displayed unacceptable behaviour, they are more likely to modify their behaviour if they feel supported.

Each age group has their own behaviour management strategies for staff and parents to use when supporting their child.

Timeout/Time away:

Time out will never be used as a punishment for unacceptable behaviour in the nursery. It may be necessary however to remove a child from a situation in order to give them the opportunity to regain control over their emotions and calm down. Staff should consider what kind of environment will help a child to relax and calm down. If the child is in an environment that feels like a punishment it is likely to cause a secondary reaction. This method should however be used as a way of supporting that child’s emotional needs away from the situation that has caused them to lose control.

The Use of Physical Interventions:

Physical intervention should only be used as a last resort to prevent a child from causing significant harm to themselves or others. If a child’s behaviour has become unmanageable without the use of physical interventions the risk assessment should be used and adjusted if necessary. This should be discussed and shared with all staff involved and the parents/carers. Any interventions used should be recorded on an incident form and shared with parents/carers.

Before reaching this stage, staff will have used all possible non-physical actions, such as dialogue and diversion. The child or children concerned will be warned verbally that physical intervention will be used if they do not stop. Staff will make every effort to avoid the use of physical interventions if they are alone with the child or children.

Only the minimum force necessary to prevent injury or damage should be applied. Staff will use physical intervention as an act of care and control and never punishment. Physical interventions will not be used purely to force a child to do what they have been told and when there is no immediate risk to people or property. As soon as it is safe, the physical intervention should be gradually relaxed to allow the child or children to regain self-control. The force of the physical intervention will always be appropriate to the age, size and strength of the child or children involved. If staff are not confident about their ability to contain a particular situation or type of behaviour, consideration will be given to calling a member of the management team. Where a member of staff has had to intervene physically to restrain a child, the Manager will be notified and the incident recorded on an Incident form. The incident record will be shared with the parent at the earliest possible opportunity.

The child should not be pulled or held down and adults should not use their body weight to restrain a child. It is safest to restrain a child from behind and put your arms around their body. You should explain to the child as much as you can what you are doing and remain calm in order to begin to calm them.


Bullying is the intentional behaviour towards another to cause physical or emotional harm. It is usually premeditated and is repeated behaviour. Bullying can be delivered in many forms (see bullying policy for descriptions of different kinds of bullying and Greenfields procedure).

When referring to bullying the age and stage of the people involved should be considered. As bullying is defined as being intentional and premeditated in a persistent manner to cause harm the level of understanding of all parties involved should be considered. A child under 5 years old is unlikely to have yet developed the ability to understand how their actions will affect others and at this age are more concerned with how they feel. Their actions are often as a result of their ability to control their own behaviour, their own emotional well-being and their social development.

At Greenfields we do not see any kind of bullying as acceptable from or towards children, staff, parents or any other service users.


Biting is a natural development stage that many children will go through. It is usually temporary and is most common between 12 and 24 months of age.

Children may also bite at other stages of their development, this may occur for many different reasons. Reasons why children may bite include: Exploration, teething, cause and effect, attention, imitation, independence, frustration and stress.

Childcare staff will consider the circumstances when supporting children who bite or who have been bitten.

If a member of staff observes a biting incidence the following steps will then be taken:

The biting will be stopped immediately whenever possible. The staff will stay calm and will not overreact.

The child who has been bitten will be comforted and inspected for any injury which will be assessed. Any unbroken skin injury will be treated with a cold compress to alleviate any swelling. If the child has a broken skin injury, wet sterile gauze will be applied to clean the wound and stop the bleeding. Then a suitable dry dressing such as a plaster will be used to cover the wound. An accident/incident form will be completed and shared with parents/carers.

The biting child will be removed from the situation by a member of staff and told that they should not have done that and a brief explanation given e.g ‘we mustn’t bite because it hurts’. The biting child will be closely observed to prevent it happening again throughout the session.

The parents of both children will be notified of the biting incident when they collect their child from the nursery. Confidentiality of the children involved will be maintained.

Recurrent biting:

If a child bites on more than one occasion the room leader and key person will approach the child’s parents/carers and inform them of the situation. The child’s key person will then work in partnership with the parents/carers, to identify why the child is biting, by observing, recording and assessing incidents. It may be necessary to seek outside advice and support from sources such as health visitor.

Within the nursery routine, staff must be consistent in providing a stimulating environment and activities which help reduce the number of biting incidents that can occur, especially within the toddler rooms. We provide access to teething toys; numerous sensory exploration activities; opportunities to explore cause and effect and we offer toddlers options and alternatives to reduce frustrations.

We recognise how upset parents/carers may be when they learn their child has been bitten. However, we also recognise that biting is a normal part of child development. Despite our many concerted efforts to prevent biting incidents, they may still occur.

In extreme circumstances, and where all other strategies have been explored, Greenfields reserves the right to ask parents/carers to remove their child from the nursery if we believe that their remaining in the setting is placing other children and staff at risk.


Covid 19 (Coronavirus) Statement

19th March 2020 - Our statement in response to the Coronavirus pandemic to reassure you of Greenfield's position.

Read full statement