Bossiness - The Play Doctors

Identify why the child is being bossy

Could it be:

  • Attention seeking
  • Frustration
  • Expressing an emotion
  • Learnt behaviour

Strategies and Response

Some children live in environments where they are not taught how to behave
appropriately. There is little in the form of conversation or learning how to negotiate.
Instead communication is given through demands and arguments.

Before asking the child to ‘behave better’ consider the question – do they know what
to do or do they need to be taught?

When dealing with bossy children:


  • Use a consistent approach
  • Pay less attention i.e. laughing at their demands
  • Don’t give into demands but request that they ask in an appropriate manner
  • If the child is not allowing other children to talk or take part in decision making consider using a kinetic tool such as a teddy that is passed back and forwards between children. The child can only talk if they have the teddy. This allows shyer and younger children a chance to participate in decision making.
  • Use circle times to talk about being bossy, identify polite ways of asking for things and look at how to involve everyone. Play games and activities that practice these skills and make sure children know in your setting this is how they behave.
  • Devise a planned signal to let the child know they are getting too bossy, perhaps by showing them a yellow card.
  • Offer choices
  • Lead by example
  • Use positive words, ‘I would like you to talk to me properly’
  • Praise good behaviour

Be the first to review this item!

Bookmark this

05 Apr 2019

By The Play Doctors
Share & Bookmarking