It’s October, pumpkin season and the children have been stuck indoors all day because of a cold rain. The overall level of noise in the playroom has been rising for the past 20 minutes.
Mabelle whacks Jeremy over the head with book (thank goodness it was a book and not the large wooden train she used last week). Poor thing lets out a loud wail as I reach to scoop him up.
This scenario is all part of running a home daycare. It doesn’t make it easier (especially for Jeremy) but it is common behaviour for toddlers to lash out when they haven’t had enough physical activity in a day and they are feeling out of sorts.
How do you reset toddlers and preschoolers when they are cranky? What is the best method that works for the majority of children?
Daycare providers don’t just have one child, we have a room full of them! We need a method that will work for all ages, babies, toddlers, preschoolers and young school age children.
Over the past 15 years I’ve discovered one method that works 90% of the time. Children are so different, I don’t have a technique that works for everyone all of the time.
Actually, that is not true. An Ipad, TV or device generally will work to quiet down all kids but I find it creates more problems in the long run.
My method is simple and you probably use it everyday to reset yourself on your way to work. Think of a time that you have been driving in your car and your favourite song comes on the radio.
You smile, your body relaxes, you take a break from worrying about that colleague at work and you sing along. For the whole two minutes you are focused on the song and enjoy the music and lyrics.
The song ends and your thoughts return to your current issue at work. However, you feel happier, more relaxed now and the problem doesn’t seem so large.
Did the work issue change in those two minutes? No, the outside environment didn’t change, you changed your inner environment.
We can do the same thing for our toddlers and preschoolers!
My method to reset young children is to use action songs.
Action songs invite the children into the song lyrics and take them on a mini vacation from their current frustrations. It’s a powerful and easy way to change behaviour and create a positive attitude in your daycare environment.
Here are five pumpkin song video examples for you.
1. Halloween Counting Poem- ‘One, Two’
The kids say, “Boo!”
Knock on the door.
Bag of tricks.
A dressed-up friend.
Halloween is here again!
2. The Pumpkins Are Here
The pumpkins are here; the pumpkins are there.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins are everywhere.
The pumpkins are up; the pumpkins are down.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins are all around.
The pumpkins are in; the pumpkins are out.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins are all about.
The pumpkins are low; the pumpkins are high.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins all say, “Good-bye.”
3. Jack-O-Lantern Song
Where’s my pumpkin? Where’s my pumpkin?
Here it is! Here it is!
(Happy) jack-o’-lantern, (Happy) jack-o’-lantern,
Looks like this, Looks like this.
Author- Margaret Southard
4. The Pumpkin Seed
Once the little pumpkins seeds were planted in the ground.
Down came the raindrops, falling all around.
Out came the sun, and the vines began to grow.
Then after the yellow flowers, the pumpkins grew just so!
Author -Jana Sanderson
5. Sing A Song of Pumpkins
Sing a song of pumpkins
Nice and big and round,
Growing in the pumpkin patch
All around the ground.
I’ll pick out my pumpkin
And scoop it nice and clean,
Then carve a jack-o’-lantern.
Oh, happy Halloween!
Author -Suzanne Moore
Tomorrow, when your daycare group is getting a bit cranky try singing a pumpkin song to reset the children’s mood. Singing a song and holding a soft felted pumpkin will work like magic for most kids.
Yes, but what about the other 10%? There’s a reason I only use soft felted pumpkins with my toddlers.
Interested in telling your daycare children a Halloween Felt Board Story? Check out The Boo-Hoo Witch Video.