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Parks & Recreation, March 2003 | Go to article overview

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How to Handle Unruly Children

What to do about a kid in one of your programs who is repeatedly a problem child? That was a topic recently on NRPA's listserv, NRPAnet. For information on how to join the discussion, select "NRPAnet" from the right-hand side of NRPA's home page (www.nrpa.org) or e-mail info@nrpa.org. Here are some of the responses to the unruly-- child query:

"We utilize a progressive discipline policy Interventions include behavior management strategies to conferences with parents to suspension of services. We address the behavior with the child, and communicate with the parent on all issues. If the behavior is persistent, a conference with the parent is definitely warranted. A parent of a child with any special needs may request an accommodation plan. When a participant is suspended, generally a conference and/or a behavior contract are required prior to reinstatement in the program."

"In our swim classes we explain to the parents that this is a group lesson and we can't spend an excessive amount of time on one student. If a child refuses to participate in class, they can sit on the side of the pool (not in the pool), and we will try to encourage the child to get involved in the class. However, we will never force a child to do anything they don't want to do. If the child really doesn't want to participate, then we will not force them to do so, even if the parents want us to.

If the child doesn't participate in two or more classes and doesn't want to continue, we would encourage the parent to remove the child from the class. If they don't want to, then the child will continue to sit on the side of the pool during class and basically watch the class."

"We put the policy in all our group activities that if the participant is a risk to themselves or others because they will not follow rules or class outline, they will be asked to leave the program. Some violations can result in them being dropped from the program. We feel that this is a safety issue. …

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