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The Play Nicely™ Program

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Program content for the 50 minute Play Nicely program has partly been derived from material from three organizations: the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Input has been obtained from dozens of experts in the areas of pediatrics, child psychology and early child education. Due to their "front-line" experience, the author has given particularly strong weight to input from experienced teachers.

To teach the basics in managing hurtful behavior, Play Nicely consists of narration and over 10 video clips. Here is a summary of the content:

  1. Separate introductions and narration for different learners.
  2. Definition of hurtful behavior/aggression.
  3. Why managing hurtful behavior in the early years is important.
  4. Five major teaching points with video clips to enhance learning.

* Teach children not to be a victim
* Learn alternatives to respond to hurtful behavior. As part of the second teaching point, learners have 16 different interactive options to respond to a child with hurtful behavior and receive multimedia feedback. Watch a caregiver set the rule, redirect, and promote empathy. The program stresses that caregivers are role models and teaches why there are better responses to hurtful behavior than spanking, speaking angrily, or ignoring the behavior. With a review of 16 strategies, participants build a large cognitive database that will help them to choose an appropriate option to respond to a child with hurtful behavior.
* Decrease exposure to violence
* Show Love
* Be consistent. Emphasis on consistency and speaking with all family members who care for the child.
5. Warning signs - when to seek professional help.
6. Supplemental material - for use in educational settings
* Educational Handout
* Knowledge Assessment Tool

Who Can Use Play Nicely™?

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Play Nicely™ is an option for anyone who helps take care of young children. The program has widespread applicability to many, including parents, child care workers, teachers, health care professionals, counselors, researchers, lecturers, and others.

The Play Nicely™ program contains three separate educational tracks for:

  • Parents
  • Childcare workers and Teachers
  • Health Care Professionals and Counselors

Play Nicely's format also makes it useful for:

  • Lecturers
  • Researchers
  • Credentialing organizations
  • Others who care for young children

Parents: The Play Nicely™ program is a great option for parents of young children, ages 1-7 years. Parents reported that they felt more comfortable managing aggression after a Play Nicely™ presentation.

Childcare workers and teachers: Childcare workers, preschool teachers, and elementary teachers will benefit by having aggression management skills. As it is difficult to teach children who are hitting each other, Play Nicely™ is likely to aid in school readiness. Play Nicely has been found to increase comfort level and knowledge of how to manage hurtful behavior in young children.

Health care professionals/mental health professionals/counselors: Play Nicely has been shown to significantly increase professionals' comfort level and knowledge in managing childhood aggression.

Lecturers: Play Nicely™ has buttons to pause/continue and reverse/forward on every screen, making it a very useful resource for those who lecture in the areas of parenting, early child education, child behavior, health, and mental health.

Researchers: Researchers may consider Play Nicely™ as part of intervention programs designed to improve child behavior and/or decrease violence.

Credentialing organizations: Credentialing organizations may consider Play Nicely™ for educational credit for child care workers and preschool teachers. To aid credentialing organizations, questions have been developed to assess knowledge.

Others: Relatives, baby-sitters, Sunday school teachers, school bus drivers, and others who care for young children may benefit by having aggression management skills.

Play Nicely™ Legal Disclaimer

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This program contains general recommendations for managing aggression in young children. Some children's behavior may warrant approaches that are different than those described in this program. This program should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a professional. See your health care provider or other appropriate counselor if you have any questions about your child's behavior.

The author would be eager to discuss possible collaboration with organizations or researchers with an interest in violence reduction. Priority areas include providing the program to those in need, product development (e.g., alternate language versions), and studying the efficacy of the program. If you represent an agency or organization that is interested in the publication, distribution, development, or study of Play Nicely, please contact the author. Sponsors of the program provide funding to Vanderbilt University, targeting specific Play Nicely development projects. Vanderbilt University is exempt from income taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.