How do I manage an aggressive child positively when I have twenty other children who need my attention? How can I develop a good relationship with a child I seem to dislike? How do I maintain a positive working relationship with the parents of a disturbed and disturbing child? Written in a jargon-free, readable style, with many real life examples, this book is a must-have resource for playworkers seeking to enhance their skills as a whole. It highlights how the way we think about children's behaviour colours the way we react to it. It offers playworkers a different way of understanding many ordinary childhood behaviours such as lying, stealing and bullying, and gives practical advice not only on management but on how practitioners can identify, trust and develop their own skills.

chapter |9 pages


part One|34 pages

Playworkers, Children and Behaviour

chapter |7 pages

Acting the Part: How Club is Like, and Unlike, the Family

Playworkers are in a good position to free a child from a restrictive role they have adopted due to their family dynamics

chapter |7 pages

Growing Up: The Primary School Years

Working out where children are on the physical and cognitive continuum can enhance understanding during the pre-teenage years

chapter |6 pages

Toys or Boys: Betweenagers

Remember how you irritated your parents as a teenager? Well, now it is your turn to deal with the perplexing behaviour of a new phenomena—the betweenagers

chapter |6 pages

Screaming Point: Stress in Childcare

If stress is acted on it can help us to find better ways to manage our work

chapter |6 pages

You Really Got Me! the Child Who Gets Under Your Skin

When a certain child particularly irritates you, ask yourself why you feel this way and what the child might be trying to tell you.

part Two|39 pages

Stress and Worry

chapter |6 pages

Out of Place: The Child Who Doesn't Settle

Some children may take more time than others to settle into club and it is important to find out the reasons why

chapter |6 pages

A Good Worry? Not All Bad: Understanding Worried Children

An adult can sense when a child is worried about something and this can act as a prompt to take action and then everyone can benefit

chapter |7 pages

Under Pressure: Stress in Children

The word "stress" may be overused but play leaders do face an often complex task in helping the children in their care to cope with life's pressures

chapter |6 pages

Bursting Into Tears: Understanding the Crying Child

Children who begin to cry at every turn can be very trying, but looking for the real cause of their emotional distress can turn irritation into understanding

chapter |7 pages

Healthy Appetites: Eating Disorders

How can playworkers manage a child with an eating disorder? How do we recognise the symptoms and help the child to regain control?

chapter |5 pages

It Hurts: Self-Harm

Causing oneself physical pain and injury is not confined to depressed teenagers—even some infant behaviour could be a means to relieve emotional distress

part Three|25 pages

Just Attention Seeking?

chapter |6 pages

Hello, I'm Here! the Boisterous and Showing-Off Child

Sometimes boisterousness and showing off can be a child's way of telling you they are afraid of not being noticed and heard

chapter |6 pages

Winning and Losing: Coping with Competition

Playworkers need to realise when a child's reaction means they are struggling to deal with either success or failure

chapter |5 pages

"I'm Bored": Understanding the Lazy Child

When children seem lazy and unmotivated they may be trying to avoid painful issues

chapter |6 pages

Seriously Funny? Understanding the Club Clown

Children may take on the role of clown in club as a defence mechanism to hide their anxieties. Here are some suggestions of ways for playworkers to understand what lies behind the laughter

part Four|38 pages

Worrying Behaviour

chapter |6 pages

Won't Play, Can't Play: Understanding Antisocial Children

So many children socialise easily that we presume it is instinctive, forgetting that they have to learn how to do it

chapter |7 pages

Hidden Messages—Behind the Façade: Understanding Disruptive Children

Children have limited ways of to express themselves and also often don't understand why they feel the way they do—so playworkers need to try discover what a child's behaviour is really telling them

chapter |6 pages

Secrets and Lies: Why Children Lie

Should we take the same approach to every child who tells a lie, or should we first try to understand why they are lying?

chapter |5 pages

Sticky Fingers: Why Children Steal

A child may steal not because they want the object they have lifted, but because they lack some basic emotional fulfilment, which adults can supply by helping them to feel valued

chapter |7 pages

Rough and Tough: Bullying and How to Prevent it

Children who bully feel that no one likes them. They try to bully others into being their friends but only succeed in making matters worse. They need to be shown kinder ways of getting close

chapter |5 pages

Hit and Run: Happy Slapping

Happy slapping is not just notoriety-seeking, copy-cat behaviour, but a re-enactment of the humiliation of others youngsters see around them everyday, and is a form of bullying

part Five|26 pages

Special Needs?

chapter |6 pages

Best Mates

Why is it so important to some children to have a best friend, and do all such friendships form for the same reason? Can they get in the way of the adults trying to run an out-of-school club? Let us consider some of the rules of attraction

chapter |5 pages

You've Got Males: Understanding Boys

But how can playworkers deal with play fighting that becomes aggressive? How can we understand what lies behind that male swagger?

chapter |7 pages

All Inclusive: The Child with Special Needs

Welcoming a child with special needs to a club may cause anxiety for the child and parents and lead staff to question their skills

chapter |6 pages

Brainpower: Understanding Gifted Children

Play leaders may feel anxious if a "gifted" child is to join their club, but there are positive ways to ensure the child is accepted

part Six|46 pages

The Family and the Outside World

chapter |6 pages

Body Talk: Children and Sex

After school club children may be struggling to deal with their emerging sexuality. How do we respond?

chapter |6 pages

Separate Ways: Helping Children with Divorce

Playworkers are likely to become involved in children's reactions when their parents are divorcing

chapter |7 pages

United and Divided: Reconstituted Families

Children struggling with upheaval at home as their parents settle in with new partners may take out their feelings in your club

chapter |6 pages

Headline News: Managing National and World Trauma

Media coverage of wars and disasters means playworkers will need to respond to children's anxieties and their questions

chapter |6 pages

Meet the Parents: Working with Families

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an angry parent's wrath and needed help to diffuse the situation? This chapter explores ways for playworkers to develop good relationships

chapter |6 pages

Moving on: Helping Children with the Transfer to secondary school

Children know transition from primary to secondary school is an enormous event in their lives, but don't presume they understand what is happening