Ask a Behaviour Consultant

Q. A child always brings toys or an object from home even if told it is against our policies. This is especially important given all the security measures during Covid-19. What can I do to decrease this from occurring?

A. This can be challenging for you as well as for the child. As a preventative strategy, I would begin by sending out a friendly reminder to parents explaining that, at this time, children can no longer bring toys/personal items due to Covid-19.

Communicate directly with the family to ask what games, toys and activities their child enjoys at home. Ask the child to draw a picture of their toy, or ask their parents to send a picture to show the group. Involving children in programming is a great way to foster safe and secure relationships, to increase child engagement and respond to the children’s interests.  

With the children, create, write and post a visual of clear and concise program expectations as a reminder and to ensure consistency in the teaching team’s approach. Keep it short; have 5 expectations or less. At the beginning of each day, review each expectation with the group.

Prior to the child entering the classroom, have materials and toys of high interest (based upon parents and child’s feedback) available. After greeting the child, show the material and ask whether they want to play with you or a friend.

If the child continues to bring toys from home, remind them of the expectation “We play with childcare toys” then use an empathetic statement to validate what the child wants “It is disappointing not to play with toys from home.” This can decrease the likelihood of a behaviour escalation. For example, “You want to bring it in the classroom” or “You seem frustrated” followed by a PAUSE “You really enjoying playing with X”. Allow for silence to let the child feel their emotion, process this information and communicate their desire.

Once the child is in a calm state, invite them to play alone or to join in play with a peer or the educator with a toy similar to the one they wanted to bring from home. Then, provide a lot of positive reinforcement and attention when the child is engaged in play and acknowledge it, “You’re working so hard building, great job”! “Talk to me about your construction”.


List of Childs Interest Tip Sheet
Empathetic Response Tip Sheet
Video – Safe & Secure Relationship

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