Method & Theory

    Re: four year old who is uncooperative
    Hilary Mosher

    In my class, there are always at least two people at the beginning
    of each year who are trying to see what behaviors they can
    practice that will allow them to control their environment. They
    often do this by being oppositional and/or defiant, and mostly
    within the group setting. I explain to them why their cooperation
    is important and that I need them to participate with the group
    because they are such wonderful people. If they refuse, I tell
    them they have one more chance to cooperate and warn them that if
    they don't, I believe it is because they are too tired and may
    need a short nap. If they still refuse to cooperate, I set up a
    napping cot and have them lie down. Often, all that is needed is
    for me to show them where the napping cot is (that I mean what I
    say and am prepared to back it up) and they capitulate and
    cooperate. Sometimes I do need to have them lie down and I leave
    them, but keep them within eye-shot. I tell them that as soon as
    they've had enough rest and are able to cooperate, they should
    come back and join us. They always do within about 30 seconds and
    I welcome them back with much support and enthusiasm. I very
    rarely have to repeat this activity, and once in a while I will
    ask someone "are you too tired to cooperate again? I really need
    you to share your wonderfulness with us" and get a positive
    response. This activity serves as a useful model for other,
    watching students who wonder if I can be trusted to set clear
    boundaries and uphold them. This is coupled almost simultaneously
    with positive reinforcement for positive behaviors, but I try and
    keep it low-key, and not over-praise.
    On 3/28/11, Donna Kosloff wrote:
    > All behavior serves a function. If you can identify the
    > function that the disruptive behavior serves for your four year
    > old then you can replace the negative behaviors with positive
    > behaviors along as the replaced behavior serves the same function.
    > Focusing on positive attributes is also helpful, compliments
    > whenever possible, no matter how small.
    > Also, complimenting students next to the student that is
    > misbehaving would motivate your student to behave as well.
    > Donna K.
    > On 3/27/11, ruth wrote:
    >> I need ideas on how to deal with an uncooperative four year
    >> old. When he is disapointed in something, he runs away and
    >> says he is mad and refuses to join the group. He gets
    >> upset when another child has a birthday, he yells when it
    >> is nap time, he throws toys when he doesn't get his way etc.
    >> His mom doesn't know how to deal with him.