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YELLOWKNIFE DAY CARE ASSOCIATION

DISCIPLINE POLICY

Section            6.01.00

 Goals of the discipline Policy

 1.       Discipline protects the child from danger;

2.       Discipline helps the child learn self-control and self-discipline;

3.       Discipline helps the child develop a sense of responsibility;

4.       Discipline helps instill values;

The goal of effective discipline is to foster safe, acceptable and appropriate behaviour in the child.  The goal is to first protect the child from danger and then to help the child learn self-discipline, to develop a healthy conscience and internal sense of responsibility and control.  It should also instill values.  Harsh discipline tactics such as humiliation, verbal abuse, shouting or name calling, will not be tolerated in the day care or on our property by any staff member, guardian or parent.

Disciplining children is one of the most important yet difficult responsibilities of our staff and there can be no short cuts.  The foundation of effective discipline is respect.  Each child needs to be able to respect a care giver’s authority and the rights of other children in the daycare. In order to have effective discipline, the daycare’s discipline policy must be applied with mutual respect in a firm, fair, reasonable and consistent manor. 

 Forms of Discipline

We use three forms of discipline at the day care:

1.                  Redirection

With this technique, the caregiver suggests or physically gives the child a different task or toy to stop the undesirable behaviour.  The child may need to be redirected to a different play centre or work table by the caregiver.  This technique is used first and foremost by our staff with all ages of children.

2.                  Reasoning or away-from-the-moment discussions

Discipline involves teaching positive behaviour as well as changing unwanted behaviour.  That is, children need to know what to do as well as what not to do.  In general, it is more effective to anticipate and prevent undesirable behaviour than to punish it.  “Away from the moment” refers to dealing with the difficult behaviour not in the heat of the moment, but rather in advance or away from the actual misbehaviour.  An away-from-the-moment discussion can help prevent undesirable behaviour by giving the caregiver the opportunity to teach children the desirable behaviour in advance (e.g.  the children will have a “reading time” and the care giver explains the need to be careful and respectful with the books so everyone can enjoy them). This technique is not appropriate for children under three years of age but is the second choice for our staff.

3.                  Time-Outs

Time-outs are one of the most effective disciplinary techniques available to caregivers.  The time out strategy is effective because it keeps the child from receiving any attention that could reinforce the negative behaviour.  Like any other procedure, time-out must be used correctly to be effective.  It must be used unemotionally and consistently every time the child misbehaves.  This is the third choice of our staff and is most effective for ages 30 months to 8 years.

 Time-outs will be implemented as follows:

a.       We start to introduce time-out at 24 months;

b.       the place of the time out is in the child’s room, but sitting on a chair in view of the rest of the group;

c.       the time-out lasts one minute for each year the child is old to a maximum of 5 minutes;

d.      the child will be notified of the time out including a brief description of the misbehaviour (e.g., “no hitting”, “no biting”);

e.       while the child is on time-out they will not include in any group activities;

f.        the caregiver is the time keeper;

g.       when time out is over, the time-out is no longer discussed.  A new activity may be offered or inclusion in the group activity and move on.

Developmental Considerations

 Early Toddlers (12-36 months)

At the early toddler stage, it is normal and necessary for toddlers to experiment with control of the physical world and with the capacity to exercise their own will versus that of others.  Consequently, tolerance is required. Disciplinary interventions are necessary to ensure the toddler’s safety, limit aggression, and prevent destructive behavior.  Removing the child or the object with a firm “No, thank you” or another very brief verbal explanation (“No – hot!”), and redirecting the child to an alternative activity is always the first disciplinary technique to use.  The caregiver should remain vigilant with the child at such times to and ensure that the behaviour does not recur, and also to assure the child that the caregiver is not withdrawing attention after the disciplinary action.  Early toddlers are very susceptible to fears of abandonment and if a time-out is needed, the child will always be kept in sight of the rest of the group.  Early toddlers are not generally verbal enough to understand or mature enough to respond to verbal prohibitions.  Therefore, verbal directions and explanations are unreliable forms of discipline for this age group.

 Late Toddlers (2 to 3 years)

The struggle for mastery, independence and self-assertion continues with this age group.  The child’s frustration at realizing limitations in such struggles leads to temper outbursts.  This does not necessarily express anger or willful defiance.  The caregiver will be empathic, realizing the meaning of these manifestations.  At the same time, the caregiver will continue to supervise, set limits and routines, and have realistic expectations of the child’s achievement capabilities.  Knowing the child’s pattern of reactions helps prevent situations in which frustrations flare up.  When the child regains control, the caregiver will give some simple verbal explanation and reassurance.  The child will be redirected to some other activity, preferably away from the scene of the tantrum.  The toddler cannot regulate behaviour based on verbal prohibitions or directions alone. 

 Preschoolers (three to five years)

Most three years to five year old children are able to accept reality and imitations, act in ways to obtain others’ approval, and be self-reliant for their immediate needs.  However, they have not internalized many rules, are gullible, and their judgment is not always sound.  They require good behavioural models after which to pattern their own behaviour.  Consistency is important, not only in the rules and actions of the primary caregiver, but also from other adults who care for the child within the day care.

Reliance on verbal rules increases, but still the child requires supervision to carry through directions and for safety.  Time-out can be used if the child loses control.  Redirection or small consequences related to and immediately following the misbehaviour are other alternatives used in the day care.  Approval and praise are the most powerful motivators for good behaviour for this age group. 

Example:         The preschooler draws on the wall with crayons.  Use time-out to allow him to think about the misbehaviour.  Consider using logical consequences, e.g. not allowed to use the crayons and the child cleans up the mess to teach accountability.

 Setting Rules & Appling Consequences

Rules are established for children so they can learn to live cooperatively with others, to teach them to distinguish right from wrong, and to protect them from harm.  Children raised without reasonable limits will have difficulty adjusting socially.  The following are some ways that caregivers can use rules and limits to promote effective discipline:

 -            Reinforce desirable behaviour.  Praise positive behaviour and “catch children being good”;

-            Avoid nagging and making threats without consequences.  The latter may even encourage the undesired behaviour;

-            Apply rules consistently;

-            Ignore unimportant and irrelevant behaviour, e.g., swinging legs while sitting;

-            Set reasonable and consistent limits and have realistic consequences;

-            State acceptable and appropriate behaviour that is attainable;

-             Prioritize rules.  Give top priority to safety, then to correcting behaviour that harms people and property, and then to behaviour such as whining, temper tantrums and interrupting.  Concentrate on two or three rules at first

-            Know and accept age-appropriate behaviour.  Accidental spills are normal and not willful defiance.  On the other hand, a child who refuses to wear a bicycle helmet after repeated warnings is being willfully defiant.

-            Allow for the child’s temperament and individuality (goodness of fit).  A strong-willed child needs to be handled differently from the so called “compliant child”.

 Applying Consequences

-            Apply consequences as soon as possible;

-            Do not enter into arguments with the child during the correction process;

-            Make the consequences brief.  For example, time-out should last one minute per year of the child’s age, to a maximum of 5 min.;

-            Caregivers should mean what they say and say it without shouting at the child.  Verbal abuse will not be tolerated;

-            Follow consequences with a form a affection (e.g., hug), and ensure that the child knows the correction is directed against the behaviour and not the person.  As children learn by example, model forgiveness and avoid bringing up past mistakes.

NEW- Guidance and Behaviour Policy

  Yellowknife Daycare’s philosophy and practices with regard to guidance and discipline are always based on a positive, non-punitive approach. 

 Behaviour management is a process by which children develop socially acceptable and appropriate behaviour patterns. Each child is unique and individual.  We train our staff to recognize and understand their differences and offer help and guidance that is to the best of the staff’s ability, in an effective and appropriate for each child.  Attention is given to the child’s developmental level and prevention strategies are used prior to any undesirable incident occurring.

 In cases where ‘discipline’ is needed, staff will acknowledge feelings, set limits, and offer appropriate choices and use natural and logical consequences.  It will be a positive learning experience with reinforcement of acceptable behaviour being the emphasis.

 Behaviour Management

  • If the misbehaviour is minor, the child is given a gentle reminder and is asked to perform the appropriate action or is redirected to another area of play, as it is described in our disciplinary policy.
  • If, however, the misbehaviour is more significant, the following behavioural management action will be taken: 

1.   The child is removed from the situation and will be sent to the Director’s office, where the Director will discuss the misbehaviour with the child.

2.   The Director will then discuss with the staff member why the removal from the activity was necessary.

3.   Depending on the regularity of the misbehaviour, privilege loss may be used as a management tool. For example: the child may be abounded to attend extracurricular activities, such as trips to library, field trips or any other activity.

4.   A report will be written about the incident and will then be discussed with with the parent.

During all incidents, the age and development level of the child will be considered, along with any additional events which may be impacting the child (e.g., new baby in home, parent traveling, etc.).

In the event the Yellowknife Daycare Association should ever find it necessary to end a contract agreement, the parent will be given a two week written notice.  However, the Yellowknife Daycare reserves the right to terminate an agreement without notice, for the following reasons:

  • Child’s behavior is destructive, uncontrollable, violent or threatening to the safety of other children or daycare staff;
  • Parents’ behaviour is disrespectful or threatening to the safety of the children or  daycare staff