Behaviour policy

  • Reasonable behaviour is expected from all the children, who are given clear, simple and consistent rules in a manner suitable to their age and stage of development and individual needs.

    Positive Behaviour is encouraged in the following ways:

    • Staff are positive role models
    • Lots of praise and encouragement is given in recognition of children’s positive behaviour (See sheet 1 & 2)
    • Children are also praised for ‘being’ to develop their self-esteem
    • Positive language is used whenever possible (e.g. please walk rather than don’t run), to make instructions easier for the children to understand and to create a happier, more positive environment (See sheet 3)
    • Staff work together with parents on strategies to develop consistency between home and nursery

    However, on the occasions when unacceptable behaviour is identified, staff will respond by using the following strategies, depending on the behaviour and age of the child:

    • Choices and Consequences

    The child is offered a choice and resulting consequence for both continuing or modifying their behaviour. (See sheet 4 & 5)

    • Time Out to Calm Down

    The child is calmly removed from the situation and allowed a ‘cooling off’ period out of sight of the other children. (See sheet 6 & 7).

    Undesirable behaviour such as bullying, biting or pushing is dealt with by calmly removing them away from the other child and focusing the attention on the child who has been hurt.  Appropriate behaviour is modelled and praised when achieved. A simple ‘No’ is all the attention given to younger children to ensure that the behaviour does not become an attention seeking one and therefore hard to break. Staff discuss the consequences of undesirable behaviour with the older children, who have the required level of language comprehension, to help them understand the impact of their actions and find appropriate ways of resolving their frustrations.

    If a pattern of unacceptable behaviour continues, the Nursery Manager will involve the parents in discussions to try and resolve the problem.

    These are the only forms of resolving conflicts that we accept in the nursery.  Any use of violence or abuse to a child by a member of staff will result in suspension and disciplinary procedures.  The only time physical restraint will be deemed acceptable is if the child was likely to cause personal injury to either themselves, another child/adult or damage to property. In this event, the incident would be recorded and parents informed and asked to sign their awareness.

    Behaviour related to Equal Opportunities and Diversity

    Discriminatory remarks and/or behaviour such as name calling and excluding other children from activities due to any form of difference are not tolerated.  Even without ‘intent’, it is the impact such remarks have on a child which is unacceptable.  Such incidents will be dealt with by staff in the following ways:

    • In a calm and patient way staff will challenge any discriminatory comment, referring to the nursery ‘rules’ of respecting one another
    • Staff will talk to the children about how such comments might make the other person feel, concentrating on their feelings rather than the difference
    • Staff will make it clear to the child/ren that such comments are not acceptable in the nursery, talk about how everyone is different and has special qualities and needs
    • Staff would report such an incident to the manager and fill out an incident sheet, outlining what action has been taken
    • The child/ren’s key person would inform the parents/carers, of all children concerned, about the incident at the end of their session, explaining what action has been taken, referring them to our policy and procedures and, if appropriate, the parents guide to dealing with prejudice
    • If the situation reoccurs with the same child, the manager will arrange a meeting with the parents to discuss the situation and agree further actions to be taken

    Incidences of such behaviour are rare and the intention is always to stop the behaviour and prevent a reoccurrence.  The following preventative measures are used within the nursery:

    • The use of ‘Persona Dolls’ to focus on differences in a positive way and explore children’s feelings and the consequences of discrimination
    • Empowering children by helping them with the language to use to enable them to make their own challenges to discrimination
    • Displaying positive, inclusive images around the nursery of people of different races, abilities, gender and age
    • Staff being good role models for the children in promoting a respectful and inclusive environment

    The named person for behaviour management is Sarah Hinkin.

    This policy was reviewed in May 2018.

    • Praise should be immediate e.g. if Jack is spotted helping to put things away you could say ‘Thank-you Jack for doing such a good job and making things so tidy’.
    • Reward every time at first and less often when the child finds it easier, so that the impact is not lost.
    • Always explain exactly why you’re pleased so that they know what they have done right! e.g. “I liked the way you waited for Luke to get off the slide before you went down, that was very sensible”.
    • Reward children for all types of behaviour so that every child has a chance of being praised.
    • Use the child’s name when praising him.  Children who behave badly often hear their names called out but well-behaved children can go for days without hearing their name spoken out loud.  This also lessens the likelihood that children will be labelled ‘naughty Tommy’.

    Reacting positively through praise and encouragement is one of the most effective ways of reinforcing good behaviour.  Children love nothing more that the attention of an adult.  If the only attention they get is when they have done something wrong, negative attention is better than none at all and they will only learn to repeat the undesirable behaviour.

    REMEMBER – What we pay attention to is what we get more of


    1.  Give the child all your attention.


    2.  Move close to the child.


    3.  Look pleased and share their pleasure.


    4.  Be specific: describe what you like.


    5.  Ask a child what he/she thinks.


    6.  Seek eye contact.


    7.  Mean it – be sincere and let it show in a warm tone of voice.


    8.  Touch the child gently.


    9.  Give pride to the child (‘You deserve to feel proud of yourself’).


      There are two kinds of praise.

      Praise for doing tells someone that you have noticed what they are doing and that you like it.  If we acknowledge children’s efforts, they are more likely to have another go – and more likely to succeed.

    Praise for being tells someone that we value them just for being who they are – their own qualities, personality etc.  They don’t have to do anything to earn the compliment; it’s unconditional.  

     When we want someone to do something, it often seems easier to tell them what not to do, rather than do the thing we want them to do.  Children find it much harder to interpret this information as their brain has to work out the negative instruction and turn it into a positive action.  For example, when told “Don’t shake your juice over the table”, their immature brain is unable to translate the negative and they latch onto the last thing they hear which is “shake your juice over the table”.  In the same way, if told “Don’t think of a kangaroo”, we immediately picture this in our brain before we can try and obey the command and by then it is too late!

    Positive language and encouragement also releases hormones in our bodies to make us feel more confident and capable.  Negative language has the opposite effect and we are more likely to fail.

    Therefore instructions should be kept positive, e.g. “Keep your juice in the cup”, so that we are helping, not hindering, the child to achieve the goal.


     We all want to feel that we are in charge of our own lives.  The ability to make thoughtful choices for ourselves gives us a sense of personal power which in turn raises our self-esteem.

    It is helpful for children to gradually learn to make choices and to discover what happens as a result of the choices they make. 

    We can give children a choice many times during the day.  Giving them a choice of how to behave is the next step.

    1.     Be clear and specific about the positive and negative choice of behaviour and the positive and negative consequences that will follow.


    2.     Relate the consequences to the behaviour.


    3.     Choose consequences that mean something to the child.


    4.     Don’t use threats, a threatening manner, or ultimatums.


    5.     Don’t give a choice when there isn’t one.


    6.     Choose consequences you can keep to (without ‘punishing’ yourself).


    7.     Don’t demand an instant answer – give the child a few moments to reflect.


     ____________________ you have a choice.


    You can either____________________________________


    (positive behaviour choice)


    or you can_______________________________________


    (negative behaviour choice)


    If you choose to__________________________________


    (positive behaviour)




    (positive consequence)


    If you choose____________________________________


    (negative behaviour)




    (negative consequence)


    It’s up to you, it’s your choice.

     Removing the child form the situation and giving him some ‘time out’ can prevent escalation of the problem and allow a ‘cooling off’ period out of sight of the other children.

    Announce ‘time out’ in a calm voice and reserve for more serious misdemeanours such as aggression, violence, destructiveness or repeated rudeness.

    Think carefully about what to call the ‘time out’ place e.g. the ‘calming cushion’, the ‘quiet place’ or the ‘peaceful corner’ are much more positive than the ‘naughty corner’!

    It is sometimes just as effective to have a ‘walking time out’ to give the child a minute or two to perhaps walk around the garden with a member of staff to get some fresh air, take some deep breaths and have some time to reflect completely away from the scene.

    Again, be sure on when to use it, who to use it with and how to execute it.



    1.  Explain clearly what Time Out is.


    2.  Establish the rules that warrant Time Out.


    3.  Pick a (dull) Time Out place.


    4.  Establish how long Time Out will last (30 seconds to 2 minutes).

    When a rule is broken

    1.  Give a clear warning – this is very important as it is the point at which the child chooses how to behave and therefore is responsible for the consequences that follow.


    2.  If the rule is broken again, tell the child to go to the Time Out place.


    3.  Ignore all comments, promises, pleading.


    4.  Remind the child how long the Time Out will last.


    5.  When Time Out is over, praise the child for taking it so well and welcome them back to join an activity.