30 answers

Three Year Old Misbehaving at Preschool. What's Going On??

I have a 3 year old boy. He's in a daycare center, it's 20 kids in his room!!! Well, for like a month now, every day when I go to pick him up I have complaints from the teachers, that he hits, that he screams, or now is that around 3:30 he cries and cries. I don't know what to do. He was in the other room up until january, when he was moved to the 3 year old room, all of this started, I think most of it is that my son copies everything he sees the others do. I'm not saying he's not hitting, he's super active, but he doesn't hit at home. He has fits and stuff, notrmally I'd say, he tells the teachers "no", and I know that he learned from the others. I told the teacher she needs to be firm with him, but she says she can't "make " him do stuff. At home, he doesn't tell me "no", but if he does, I take his hand and tell him that he's doing what I said because that is what he's supposed to do. Every day I'm stressed now, I have to go to work, I NEED to work, and I'm stressed about what complaint I'm gonna get. Sometimes is he didn't sit and listen during story time, sometimes I think thay expect too much from little 3 years olds. Any ideas??? is there something wrong with my little one?? is he going to be labeled as "agresive?????? I'm sad and stressed about all of this. Should I change him to a different daycare????

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I cannot thank enough to all of you!!!!!!!! I was so worried about him being labeled, you know??? I have a n 8 year old girl, so he's not only child, he does not hit at home, my daughter doesn't hit him, and when it happens, because it does happens sometimes of course between siblings, we don't allow it. We have a no hitting rule, saying sorry and giving love after. I know it's not just him, but every time they complain, that is the way I see it. I'm starting to shop around, because I thought too, like many of you say, that he's over stimulated there, too many kids. Also, we know with my husband that he's not napping there. when he gets home, he has dark circles under his eyes, and in weekends he takes three hours naps, he's over tired. Thanks to all of you, wonderful mommies that understand the concerns better than anyone, because you live them too. Thank you!!!!!

Featured Answers

You have quite few good answers here but I would like to ad my 2 cents. Around age 3 is the age when the testosteron hits. In fact the percentage of the testosteron to theirs body mass is much higher than when they are teenagers. And yes, some boys have more than the others. This is the main reason of all those changes around 3. I would look for a smaller day care where I can work with the teacher toward calming down all the agression in my boy. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, I would look into other daycares with smaller class sizes. The thought of 20 children in one room makes me want to throw my own tantrum! Way too much for little ones! Also, is the ratio ok by state law. My son is in daycare as well and there have been classes where i feel the teachers handle him so well and then there are some that complain all of the time and are just negative. It is hard enough to go to work and come back after a long day and get negative feedback all of the time. They should at least give you a positive to start with. You should ask for one..say, is there anything he did well today? That should send them a hint. I mean, i understand that kids are tough and little boys have a ton of energy yet ask them for suggestions and let them know the behavior does not mimic his at home! Ugg, i feel for you as i have been there. I did not find another daycare and once i told them i was leaving, they quickly worked with me and changed a few things.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe there are too many kids per teacher/instructor? It sounds like he's lacking attention and maybe not getting a rest time. Could you maybe research a smaller day care or one with more adults? I have just 4 yr old twins - they are in an in-home day care that has a better teacher to kid ratio, and it's much less expensive than the "centers" like Learning Center, Kindercare, etc., and they get preschool instruction. I used the county website for daycare research, just filled in a questionnaire and they emailed me a bunch of places that fit my criteria. Good luck!

More Answers

Hello K.-

As your son's teachers if he is napping during the day. In a room with that many kids, it's quite possible that he is not napping OR that class may not enforce naptime. If that is so, your son is probably tired and as we all know a tired child cannot control themselves.

He may also feel frusterated by the lack of attention in his class. When kid's don't get the attention they need, whether it's a need for a sip of water or a need for a hug, kids start yelling & reverting to behavior they know, crying.

20+ kids in a 3's class is a lot, even if the teacher/child ratio is lawful.

I hope this helps.

R. Magby

3 moms found this helpful

Too many kids.
Over stimulation.
Too high of a ratio of kids.
Not all kids do well in a big group at a young age....they either act out like your boy... or turn inward to shut out the commotion.

Next, How does the care providers handle kids like that? Its not only your son, believe me. No child is a saint at that age.

Don't expect too much from him... he is only 3. Their emotions are NOT even fully developed yet at this age, much less their coping skills.

When there is too much expectations for a child that is NOT age appropriate... then frustration ensues.

I would switch to another daycare. Maybe a smaller one...

All the best,
Susan

2 moms found this helpful

Ugh... Tomorrow, when the teacher says something about his behavior say, "Okay, thank you - do you have suggestions for specific ways I can work with him at home to duplicate your situations here at school and he can practice?" I think I'd shop around too, just to see. First of all, 20 three olds seems like a lot to me. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't have a lot of experience with daycare, but it seems like a lot to me. Second, if they're complaining about him not listening during storytime... Ummm.... Welcome to age 3 - and 4 and 5 and 6 and.... :) I agree with Susan - it can't hurt to shop around. Is it possible for him to go back down to the old classroom for a couple more months? Or is he just past the age limit? One thing not to worry about is that he's NOT the only one - in that daycare and in general. Look at the three or four posts about three year old behavior changes right before your post - haha! Oh my, what I have to look forward to with my 2 year old?? Darn mama... I'm sorry. So stressful - hang in there.

2 moms found this helpful

ROFL... sorry, but when I read the title... that would otherwise be known as "normal".

What is abnormal is a) how the teachers are handling it (as if they're helpless), and b) HOW many 3 year olds are in that room??? Yikes.

I'd say it's time to look for a different school.

Mmmm... if you're in South Lynnwood, and open to Montessori... try checking out Chelseahouse Montessori. They're in Lake City. There are usually between 10-20 children, all together from 2.5-6 years old. Having the older kids there is a TREMENDOUS balancing force on the younger ones, because they have kids to pattern their behaviors off of.

They are, hands down, my favorite preschool on the planet for many, many reasons. The lead teacher Pasha has been doing this for over 30 years now... and I've never seen her flustered. Kids in her class aren't "mean" or "misbehaving", they're "learning how to be a good friend" or they're "having some problems being a good friend today"... and both the kids and the parents are given positive comments and feedback about how to encourage those positive behaviors.

It's not daycare though... but preschool. So they only have hours from 9-3 (or 330?) (morning and afternoon sessions or full day... so the shortest time would be 3 hours 3 days a week, and the longest would 6 hours 5 days a week. Because they don't offer daycare, they *usually* have spots open year round.

2 moms found this helpful

It definitely can't hurt to shop around. I worked in a preschool and it's crazy for the teachers to complain to you. There is nothing you can do concerning his behavior if you are not there...that is their job. If they can't hack it, they are not good daycare workers. However, if they are simply letting you know about his day, that's ok. I know as a parent I can sometimes feel defensive and sensitive to not the most shining reports concerning my children and my perception can turn that into something that is not intended. If this is the case, you have a 3 year old and it is ok if he doesn't act like an adult yet...so no need to stress. Good luck to you and your little boy.

2 moms found this helpful

Twenty three year olds!!! I worked as a day care teacher, and at our school we only had 14 kids in the 3yr old class and only 16 in the 4yr old classes. Even that is kinda big in my opinion!!! I really think you should look into other daycares, this one does NOT sound like a good fit!

2 moms found this helpful

I understand that you need to work, because I do too. But, could you take half a day off once or twice and observe your son in daycare? Perhaps you could offer them some insight on what you think he's reacting to.

Of course I don't know where your son is at, and sometimes the institution doesn't matter as much as the teachers. Maybe in this case it's both, since the institution is putting 20 kids in a preschool class and the teachers are not effectively connecting with and managing the kids. Maybe he does need a smaller place at this age. I'm wary of home daycares as there is little oversight and visibility, and I would check it out very carefully, not do it unless there were several staff and I connect personally with them, and I would heed any uneasy feelings I got. Centers such as the YMCA have financial aid programs if you need it, and we've been very happy with the care our children got, and the responsiveness of the staff, but then again each center will differ because of staff personalities and philosophies.

I wish you the best for finding a solution to bring your son back to a happy state. He deserves to be a happy child all day long, not being forced into things that sit wrong with him. Plenty of that when he's an adult!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, I would look into other daycares with smaller class sizes. The thought of 20 children in one room makes me want to throw my own tantrum! Way too much for little ones! Also, is the ratio ok by state law. My son is in daycare as well and there have been classes where i feel the teachers handle him so well and then there are some that complain all of the time and are just negative. It is hard enough to go to work and come back after a long day and get negative feedback all of the time. They should at least give you a positive to start with. You should ask for one..say, is there anything he did well today? That should send them a hint. I mean, i understand that kids are tough and little boys have a ton of energy yet ask them for suggestions and let them know the behavior does not mimic his at home! Ugg, i feel for you as i have been there. I did not find another daycare and once i told them i was leaving, they quickly worked with me and changed a few things.

1 mom found this helpful

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