8 answers

Three Year Old Very Disruptive at Daycare

My daughter who just turned three yesterday, has become very disruptive at her daycare center recently. It seems her bad behavior occurs mostly in the afternoons. She was so "uncontrollable" last week we were called to come pick her up in the middle of the day. By nature, she's a sweet child 98% of the time, but she's got a naughty streak. Any suggestions?

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Thanks for all the great info. As for the daycare and the teachers, they are really great. There have been many days they have dealt with her naughty behavior and have not called us to come get her. We get a daily report and she's had many challenging days. We have "conferences" on Friday so it will be a good opportunity to talk with her teacher. (I'm almost afraid to). She is at the older end of the age range in her class and is scheduled to move up to the next class in a month or so. This happened last time also when she was one of the oldest in her class. This could have a lot to do with it too because a lot of the kids are a good 6-12 months younger than her and she is a little more advanced than a normal 3 year old. I'm thinking she's bored, which is when she gets naughty at home. Thanks again! ~C.

More Answers

Hmm...My daughter is also in a daycare center and I know she picks up little bad behaviors from her friends there, and, when I first see it, I nip it in the bud, but I also try and find out more from her who showed her, or said it, whatever...most 3 year olds will give you some hint as to who it is. Then, you can talk about that other persons actions and hopefully, your daughter will be able to distinguish the difference between good friends, and naughty friends. I'd also look at the daycare center teachers and the daily routine. Perhaps your daughter is over stimulated and needs more downtime, like reading, or coloring. Or, perhaps they are so structured that the kids don't really have a chance to just play with toys. They need that alone time too. My daughter gets naughty and doesn't listen when she is overtired, or over stimulated. Talk to the teachers there. Also, be aware that the different teachers effect your daughter as well.

My three year old does not do well 'on sugar' either! We have a different problem with our 3 year old. She is an angel at school and then when I pick her up after lunch, she is very challenging. Since she is old enough to begin to understand consequences I take things away when she isn't cooperative. She usually loses a fun activity like coming along to drop her brother off in his classroom or going to the store with mommy. I am a kindergarten teacher and I think it is important for kids to see the home/school connection (if you aren't behaving at school-you get in trouble at home too) BUT her daycare needs to make sure that they have consequences there. When I have a problem with a student at school I make sure he/she 'fixes' the problem at school and any further consequences at home are the parents' choice. If she usually is well behaved I would take a closer look at what is going on...especially if her behavior was really different than what you've seen. Good luck! 3 year olds are challenging!!

ask the daycare to document when these little melt downs are happening and what is happening, it sounds like a pain but many times you can pinpoint the trigger by documenting. It may be that she just simply needs some extra rest/down time. Also, are you using the right daycare? As a behaivoral therapist i have consulted with several daycares and it always conserns me when a daycare refuses to deal with challenging behaivor and will instantly call parents to retrieve the "problem" child. Ask lots of questions to find out how they are trying to redirect your daughter and dont forget YOU pay them to give your child QUALITY care. If you would like more resources e-mail me. Good luck

She may be getting over-stimulated during the day and as the day progresses she isn't able to deal with the situation any longer. Therefore, she will act out. It may seem like she has too much energy but usually keeping a child calm will help the situation. Does she still take naps? Her temperament should improve even if she can have quiet time (at least a half hour) without other kids around. One other possibility...does the staff/children change in the afternoon? Perhaps she doesn't like a certain person. Best of luck, L.

You stated it seems to mostly happen during the afternoon, perhaps she's not sleeping well during nap, and becomes tired and more emotional and frustrated. I know some of my children react in an emotional way when they are tired. Have the teachers/providers mentioned anything about not napping well? Just a suggestion. Also, she could possibly be anticipating her pick up, I know some children in my care act differently when their parents arrive, and they tend to get a little more harder to keep entertained, which is why we have more structure during the morning. Also, I've heard numerous times during trainings, that children can become stressed when transitions are taking place. Anything changing in the home or center? You mentioned her switching age groups soon. Or that she is older, perhaps she feels as though she's not getting the attention she's craving because the younger children in the center are in constant demand of the provider's attentions. Another possibility could be changes in their children, has a child left or joined recently? A new teacher/provider hired, or has another recently quit? Children also can become stressed, emotional and flustered when they experience too much daily structure and stimulation or when there isn't enough. And of course, lets not forget that children, especially three years of age, are constantly and always testing and exploring adults boundries. They want to see how far they can 'push the limits' or how much the specific teacher will allow. These are all avenues that should be explored. I'd bring these questions up at the conference with the teachers and providers. I bet you can pin point the cause and help her transition or deal with what is bothering her. Children are 'little adults' they can become stressed just as much as we adults can.

I hope the situation reveals itself and of course resolves.
Kind Regards,

P.s. I also wanted to note that as a childcare provider, it is my job to help console a child and always try my best to help determine the factor in the situation and help rectify it WITH the parents help and cooperation. First of all, I think it's great that you are willing to help and get involved when they show that the situation is preventing them from providing adequate care for your child and the other children at the center. Also, I noticed some persons disagreeing with the center approaching you and asking for you to intervene, and I think it's great that they feel as though they can do this. I've never sent a child home with behavioral issues, (illnesses, of course) but if I ever got to the point where I felt I couldn't continue caring for other children because a child wasn't cooperating I'd like to know that I have the parents full support. GREAT job Mom!!!!

I would be a bit concerned about the daycare center you are using. These folks should be experts with kids, and should be working with you to help solve the daytime issues. Perhaps they are, and you didn't mention that. But, if not, I would seriously consider another center.

What exactly is your daughter doing at daycare?

Three can be tough on everyone! I also have a three year old (she will be 4 in February), and when she doesn't get enough sleep (she needs 12 hours each night--she no longer naps) she is violent, mouthy and horrible to be around. We also have cut out the majority of sugar in her diet, including that found in 100% fruit juice and canned fruit (fresh fruit is ok). We found that if she was tired and then had juice, canned fruit, chocolate, lemonade, etc. the problem was multipied. With these changes, her behavior has improved dramatically. I am also a big fan of the Parenting with Love and Logic books--just google for info. Good luck!

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