Promoting positive behaviour in the Early Years

At Squiggles we pride ourselves in promoting positive behaviour for all children and aim to have a consistent approach from babies through to pre-school to help them to understand boundaries and expectations  ready for school and later life.

We find our policy is most effective when we work closely with you and thought it might be helpful to set out the key principles we follow and provide you with an explanation as to why we choose not to use certain techniques.


 At Squiggles we:

• Focus our attention on positive and acceptable behaviour, using positive approaches such as explanation, discussion, distraction, praise and reward. 

• Focus on what we want children to do, rather than what we don’t want them to do, for example: instead of saying “don’t run inside” saying “please remember we walk inside”, or instead of saying “don’t shut the door” saying “please keep the door open”

At Squiggles we don’t:

• Force children to use the word ‘sorry’ – research shows children do not understand the meaning of the word sorry until they are much older and although it is important for them to get used to using the word sorry, we find it is more beneficial to teach them about empathy. To understand why they are sorry, a child first needs to understand how the other person is feeling, so at Squiggles we very much focus on this aspect and encourage children to give cuddles to make each other feel better.

• We choose not to use the word ‘naughty’ or use ‘naughty steps’ or ‘naughty corners’ as we don’t find this approach beneficial as this reinforces negative feelings and can lead to more undesirable behaviour. We find moving the child away from the situation to distract them works well and if the behaviour continues to then have time out. A member of the team sits next to them for a short period of time.

Children’s sleep can also have a strong link with their behaviour and if they are not getting enough sleep this can have a negative impact on how they behave at nursery.

As well as getting a good night’s sleep at home, naps are still very important for young children and we would recommend not limiting or cutting your child’s sleep before they are ready.

It is recommended by the Millpond Children’s sleep clinic that children of the following age need this amount of sleep: 12 months

Daytime 1 hour and 30 minutes. Night time: 11 hours

2 years

Daytime: 2 hour and 30 minutes. Night time: 11 hours

3 years

Daytime: 45minutes. Night time: 11 hours 30 minutes to 12 hours

4 years

Night time: 11 hours 30 minutes


Following the same calming bedtime routine will promote good sleep, this might be a warm bath, keeping the lights dim to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin. Reading or singing to your child and ensuring your child’s bedroom is well ventilated, ideally be dark, quiet and tidy at a temperature of 18-24C. Children should avoid having screen time before they go to sleep. If you would like any further support please use our open door policy and speak to a member of the office team.

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