Early years: Physical outbursts causing harm to others and/or to self and/or damage to property

Suggested strategies and links.

Strategies and approaches:

  • Share clear expectations, using positive language, in relation to the setting ethos e.g. kind hands, listening ears etc., verbally and visually. All staff to be consistent in how they support children to remember and follow these expectations.
  • All staff use a consistent approach to supporting the child in distress and keeping other children safe, making “reasonable adjustments” to support individual needs.
  • Continue to implement strategies that are reassuring and acknowledge children’s emotions.
  • Anticipate the trigger and use distraction to avoid physical interactions.
  • Provide child with safe things and places to throw which meet the physical need to throw but won’t hurt.
  • Model the use of alternative strategies to express feelings of anger or frustration e.g. screaming outside, pushing against a pair of handprints on a wall, banging a drum etc. Monitor so that you have a good understanding of the frequency and location of triggers – frequency charts; STAR observation sheet; ABCC observation sheets; informal observations should be carried out to analyse incidents, develop understanding and plan for adjustments according.
  • Encourage two-way communicate with families about what might be happening at home (e.g. divorce, bereavement, illness) and strategies that work/don’t work and relaying this information to staff.
  • Put preventative strategies in place, e.g. avoiding high arousal situations such as busy noisy environments or groups of children in small spaces.
  • Arrange a safe and calm area / reflective area, chosen in agreement with the child.
  • Access Promoting Positive Behaviour training and review practice to employ appropriate de-escalation strategies (e.g. distraction to an activity of interest/offer child’s comforter/preferred adult/calming strategy).
  • Implement a risk management plan which includes pro-active strategies, early interventions to reduce anxiety/harm and reactive strategies to ensure a consistent approach.
  • Implement a clear plan of action, agreed with parent carers, to keep all children safe if a child is having a physical response to an emotional outburst regarding the need of any physical intervention e.g. moving of other children from the area.  A Risk Assessment must be in place if the child is causing a risk. Parents and staff to have access to inclusion and behaviour management policy.
  • Consider self-regulation in Early Years Training
  • Use the ‘Keep your cool’ toolbox strategies for ideas to support and share the app with parents to download to support at home.


Time Out vs Feelings Area

Self-Regulation in early years

Keep Your Cool Toolbox