student who over-hugs her teachers?

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by Tbug, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. Tbug

    Tbug Companion

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    Nov 5, 2006

    I have a kindergarten student who hugs me and my assistant all day long. She hugs us hello, goodbye, if she's just passing by us, during transitions, all day long. In the beginning of the year, she had difficulties with...everything! She was very immature and stubborn. She cried when she didn't get her way. She has made huge progress and no long cries to get her way. I didn't mind it in the beginning because I thought this would help her bond with us, but it is become very annoying. I do have other students (mostly girls) who I will hug from time to time if the time is right, so I do think it's okay at times.
    When she gives us a hug, she kind of leans on us and then doesn't let go until we move or gentle push her arms away.
    My question is - how do I tell her nicely that I don't want her to do it anymore? She is very sensitive, a young 5, and seems to see nothing wrong with what she's doing eventhough the other kids kind of look at her weird when she does it. I thought of maybe saying something like- I really like your hugs, but your a big girl now. Why don't we save the hugs until the end of the day, and we'll have a big hug good-bye. I don't want to be mean, but it's getting really annoying!
    Thanks for any advice!
     
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  3. mrs.teacher5

    mrs.teacher5 Companion

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    Nov 5, 2006

    Tell her that you are sick and that you do not want to get germs on her...that's what I do if they want to hold my hand and I know there little hands are not exactly clean :) Use that excuse until she stops trying.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Nov 5, 2006

    I would explain to her that there are times when it is appropriate to hug and times when it isn't. Those times include work time, when you are busy with something, when she is supposed to be playing with her friends, etc. She needs to know that there are boundaries.
     
  5. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Nov 5, 2006

    I had a very "needy" girl in my class just like that. She had lots of issues, and hugging was her way of feeling secure. I never reprimanded her, but I would gently start pulling away a little sooner each time. I've noticed that some kids with turmoil going on at home tend to use the teacher as a "support post." She was definitely doing that.

    This year, in first grade, she still comes to hug me on campus (several of them do), but she's added a new twist. She makes up incredibly ridiculous stories and swears by them....one day I asked her what she did on the weekend, and she answered, "I swam with a shark." Trust me, she didn't! I did recommend her last year for our "Special Friends" club, which is an activity for 30 minutes a week where a trained adult (teacher on special assignment) spends personal one-on-one time, playing games, talking, whatever. She did well with it, but apparently needs a little more time. Is there anything like that available in your district?
     
  6. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 5, 2006

    I could swear you are talking about a little girl in my class. I have to told her not to be hugging people all day long because many people don't like to hug that much. The final straw was when she gave one of the boys a big kiss good bye. I have my concerns about her as to why she is like this. It's not typical behavior for a child this age. I won't allow it in my classroom. We are working daily to give others their space and not to be touching everyone. It's rude. What bothers me most is why she is compelled to do this.
     
  7. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Nov 5, 2006

    Could this be some sort of sensory input problem with this child? Sometimes children with sensory input problems use tight hugs to calm themselves or as a kind of therapy. Sometimes children on the autism spectrum do this as well. The tight hug acts as a way to "calm" them down when they are on sensory overload.
     
  8. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 Companion

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    Nov 5, 2006


    Sounds perfect! Try it.
     
  9. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    That's a good point, Kinder.
     
  10. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    Nov 5, 2006

    Limit the number of hugs she can give you in a day. Give her that many popsicle sticks, when she wants to hug you she gives you a stick. When the sticks are gone then no more hugs that day.
     
  11. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Nov 6, 2006

    Have you told her parents?

    Do you have a hands off policy at your school? If not start one.

    show her ways to say Hi, Bye, Cool, Etc. If all she knows is a hug covers all that, you need to break it down for her. Say to her that at school we only hug someone who is hurt, or that is moving away. A good bye hug is for somone that is going away for a long time, not just for home time.

    Praise her for the other ways to say Hi, Bye, Cool, etc, and she will slowly break from hugs all the time.

    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  12. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Nov 6, 2006

    Be careful with this one. in rare cases, this might develop a fear of touching people's hands, and could lead to OCD.

    Show her what we do at school is DIFFERENT from what we do at home. She probably hugs all night at home, so at school you can show her what we do at school. Shake hands, smile, wink, hive five, etc.

    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  13. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    Nov 6, 2006

    I do the stand up hug. They hug my legs. Eventually I start walking and they have to let go or get trampled..............

    I hate to tell the kids I won't hug them. Many of my kids never hear a kind word at home and never get hugs.

    We did a graph the other day on who gets to hear a bedtime story........ there were 2 out of my 15.

    They need hugs, so I just do the stand up hug all the time and keep on going! :)

    Kelly
     
  14. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Mr. Skinner, great ideas...makes sense.
     
  15. forbiddenpluto

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    Nov 6, 2006

    I have a similar student. After talking with the school psychologist we actually began using the hugs for positive reinforcement. Every 15 minutes my kid doesn't have a hissy fit he gets a hug. And you know what? It's working WONDERFULLY.

    Maybe you can find a way to use it to your advantage?

    As long as the other kids aren't insisting to hug and it's not a big disruption what's the big deal? Throughout the year you can wean her off of them. :)
     
  16. KdgtnCop

    KdgtnCop Rookie

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    Nov 6, 2006

    It's a tough call....but I always hug. (the "stand up" hug as Mrs. Mikesell said!) For most kids it's just a "pass by" with a little tiny hug...thankfully. (Or it could turn into chaos if all 30 needed a hug at the same time! yikes!)
    If you're really uncomfortable, h2oMane had great ideas, or- try a "high five" or a "low five" or a "Finger Wave" instead. How about setting aside a few seconds for children to give "themselves a hug"? (wrap arms around their body and hold tight ?) Maybe it will have the same effect....
     
  17. Tbug

    Tbug Companion

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    Nov 10, 2006

    What wonderful ideas everyone! I did speak to hear parents about it at conferences and since then she has only been hug in the beginning and end of the day! They must have spoken to her about it.
    Thanks so much!
     
  18. diro.pams

    diro.pams Companion

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    Nov 14, 2006

    I agree that having a private talk about how many hugs or when to hug is appropriate. Popsicle sticks if needed. In our class we often say it's time to "get busy!". Maybe tie that phrase into the idea that you and all students have a lot to learn/do, so let's get busy!
     
  19. grade1teacher

    grade1teacher Companion

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    Nov 14, 2006

    I have a student who loves great big "bear hugs", and a nephew who does, too. They have both been to occupational therapists for sensory issues because the crave sensory imput more than other kids do. I don't want to sound like a teacher who slaps on a label with a "diagnosis of the day", but it might be part of the issue. On the other hand it may not be. I think the the difference is that the child touches me on my face or other areas that other children know instinctively at this age not to touch. When my student does this, she sometimes doesnt even realize what she is doing, so as she's talking, I gently, almost nonchalantly guide her hands back to her sides.
     
  20. teachingmomof4

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    Nov 14, 2006

    I have a student who is like that as well. He would just come up to anyone and hug them as tight as he could. He now asks before he gives hugs and it seems to be working a lot better for everyone.
     

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