Childcare Expert Advice Scenarios


What should I do about my toddler’s tantrums?  How can I ensure my three year old learns to eat healthily?  Should I be worried if my young child has an imaginary friend?  These are just a few of the questions parents of young children may ask but often it is hard to find practical, non-judgemental advice.

As part of the DfES Early Years and Childcare campaign, we have spoken to a number of Early Years and Childcare workers, from childminders to nursery managers and asked them to provide advice in response to a range of common problems faced by parents.  Early Years and Childcare workers can offer valuable tips to parents due to their experience in working with large numbers of children.

Childcare expert scenarios        

My youngest son has a problem with sharing and when his friends come round, he won’t let them play with his toys.  I’m worried that his unwillingness to share may prevent him from being invited to other children’s houses.  How can I encourage him to share more?

Lots of children have difficulty sharing toys as they worry their playmate will not give the toy back.  My suggestion to you would be to get a group of children together with one of their toys and then swap them with each other for a set amount of time – about two minutes.  When the time is up, the children can swap back.  Gradually you can build up the times that the children swop the toys for. In my experience as a nursery worker, as soon as children realise they will get their own things back, they become more willing to share. 

Every time my daughter loses a game she gets very upset and cannot accept that she has lost.  I really want to try and teach her that you can’t always win but I don’t know what the best way to do this would be.

In my experience as a childcare worker I have found that the best approach would be to first explain how nobody likes to lose and that nobody wins games all the time.  I suggest you let her follow your example and play a game where you lose and then show her how to respond to the situation, for example, congratulate the other person and shake their hand.  Children learn most by watching their parents and so can you play a vital role in teaching her the correct behaviour.  When she loses a game, you could remind her of a time when she won and tell her how this time it is the other person’s turn to win.  When she behaves more appropriately, for example shaking hands with the winner, make sure you praise her for her good behaviour.

I’m really worried about my children’s eating habits.  I try to give them a balanced diet and always serve them freshly prepared food, but they just will not eat their dinners.  I’ve tried taking away treats, but this doesn’t make them eat, what can you suggest?

In my experience as a childcare worker I have found the best way to get children interested in food, if they are old enough, is to involve them in the food preparation. By doing this you will increase the chances of them eating the food they helped to prepare.  You could also try making pictures out of the food, for example faces or use fun shaped pastry cutters to cut shapes in food to encourage them to eat.  Vegetables are usually the food type that children dislike the most but clever tricks such as blending them up with something they do like ensures they are getting a balanced meal.  Use your own instincts and remember that you are their biggest influence, so if they see you tucking into a wide range of foods, they are more likely to want to copy you and try new foods themselves.

My daughter is the most stubborn child I have ever known.  Once she has made up her mind not to do something she will not budge.  Last week she insisted on wearing summer sandals despite the pouring rain outside and for the whole of the week before she refused to get out of the car to go to nursery.  Her wilfulness is driving me to despair.

Children often try to test boundaries but in my experience as a childcare worker I have found that the best approach is not to make too much of an issue of it. The more you try to get children to do something the more determined they tend to become.  Shouting and telling children off in these situations can be useless, so try to remain calm.  It’s can be useful to find out exactly why your child doesn’t want to do something; talk to her and ask her if there is a reason she doesn’t want to go into nursery.  If there is persistent refusal to attend nursery I would suggest you speak to the staff and organise a little job for her to do before nursery starts, for example help set up a play area with toys. This way you and your child’s nursery worker can work to find a solution together.

Interested in Working with Children?

The DfES has been running a national Early Years and Childcare recruitment campaign since July 2000, which aims to encourage people to consider a career in Early Years and Childcare.  To support the expansion of childcare services it is estimated that thousands of people need to be recruited to work in Early Years and Childcare by 2008.  If you want to find out more information on a career in Early Years and Childcare visit or call the helpline 0800 99 66 00.

1 thought on “Childcare Expert Advice Scenarios”

  1. I was the Recruitment Strategy Officer for Nottingham for the first few years of the Campaign. I’d love to hear from anyone who got involved in childcare as a result of the campaign.
    May I take this opportunity to publicy thank all those nursery nurses who helped with my PhD ‘Retention of Early Years Practitioner in Day Nurseries: What induces early years practitioners to remain in Day nurseries?’. I could not have done it without you.


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.