Behavior Problems at Daycare

Updated on April 19, 2009
E.C. asks from Taos, NM
16 answers

I work full-time and both my boys are in daycare. Recently I was informed by the daycare that both boys are having behavior issues. My 3-1/2 year old doesn't listen or pay attention to his teachers and spends a lot of time in "time-out" for misbehaving. My 18 month old throws temper trantrums and is inconsolable throughout the day. I'm not sure what is causing this, it seems to be a pretty recent development in both of them. We have not had any changes in our life.
I feel lost on what to do or how to tackle this. Its also making me question my parenting style. At home they are both pretty good. My 18 month old does have temper tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants, but we rarely give-in. And occasionally my 3 year old doesn't pay attention, or repeats behavior after we've told him not to, but we follow through with time-outs. Does anyone have any ideas on other disciplinary measures we could take to get our boys to behave better at daycare?

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for their responses. The daycare had just moved to a different location, which is probably why my boys were acting up. After a few days, they were back to their normal behavior at daycare. So hopefully that was the only reason for their behavior issues. Also, I spoke with the teachers and director of the daycare and they said that my kids were not the only ones having difficulty with the adjustment. It seems now that everything is back to normal. I really appreciate all the responses here, it lets me know that I am not alone. :)

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Y.J.

answers from Albuquerque on

If they're acting normally at home, I would consider switching day cares. If you do, find out the discipline method at the day cares you are considering and go with one who employs redirection instead of time outs. I think it is more effective for teaching proper behavior and how to solve their problems. Also ask about the years of experience and training of every person working there.

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D.J.

answers from Phoenix on

First I would talk to the daycare center about what is happening positive and negative and give them something that can replace the negative behaviors with what is working well. Find out what is happening just prior or earlier in the day that perhaps lead up to this D. J.

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R.C.

answers from Phoenix on

E., I hear your frustration and I want to offer a few words of encouragement. First, your boys are behaving appropriately for both their age and situation. There's nothing particularly disturbing or ominous about what you describe. However, it's very evident that your inability to be with your kids during working hours is having a profoundly negative effect. Like all kids when they aren't receiving the attention they need (like when a new sibling is born or they are being cared for by someone else other than their parents for extended periods of time) they act out to get that attention. They need you and your husband's attention and training. A day care worker who has little invested in your child is not sufficient for discipline and training. They can't possibly love your children as much as you and their father do. Basically they just need you to be with them. Have you considered taking a sabbatical from your job and investing some time in your kids lives? I know times are tough economically speaking, but I can personally say that the loss of income of one parent deciding to stay home is a small price to pay for a profound influence in your kids lives. (I can say that because our family took a 60% income loss when I quit before our first child was born 4 years ago--and we have NEVER regretted it.) You only get one chance to raise your kids and then you must live with the results for the rest of your life. R. happily married mom of 2

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G.D.

answers from Flagstaff on

I am happy to find love and logic parenting, you might want to check it out on the web, www.loveandlogic.com
It made my life easier and my kids seem to be doing better in general since I've started using this approach.
Good luck,

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H.M.

answers from Phoenix on

Good morning E.! My name is H. and I am a stay at home mother of 8 year old twins whom are currently in the 3rd grade full time. I have been caring for children in my home for the last 9 years and absolutely love it! I read your posting and thought that maybe a change of daycare to possibly a place that has a smaller ratio with less children but yet enough where your children still had little ones that provided them with the oppertunity to develop the social skills that they need. I believe that when children start acting out or suddenly thier behavior takes a sudden change it doesn't always have to be an age thing, it could absolutely be that they are craving more one on one attention and just not be getting that & negative attention to children is still attention so when they misbehave they get that attention even if it is not positive attention. I have been caring for children for quit some time & the minute they start acting out I give them something special to do, where they get the responsibility of maybe helping me get lunch ready or reading a book to them where they get to turn the pages & thier behavior takes a huge turn in a good way because they get that attention that they are wanting but yet they feel important at the same time & we all as children or adults want to feel special or just to know we are cared about. It's just taking the time to figure out what the problem really is & turning it around. In my years of caring for children I have heard so many stories of children who go to a licensed daycare compared to an inhome based daycare & the children who are in a inhome are so much more well behaved & they seem to enjoy it more. In my home I take the time to teach the children morales, responsibility & to care for others. I don't think they get those things in a regular daycare. Just the meaningful parts of life how to care about the friends you make & why sharing is important as well as good manners. We also do the same learning activities such as our ABC'S, 123'S, Shapes & Sizes, Colors & Sign language ect. What is the harm in trying this small change to another daycare that focuses more on them individually and see how big of a change you'll notice? If thier isn't any a difference... you've lost nothing, but if your children are happier & love going to thier new daycare, you'll be happier too!(you'll know it just in thier actions children tell us how they feel by thier actions & by acting out.) I will leave you my number if you would like to chat about this a little more. I wish you the best of luck with this & I really hope you find something that works out best for you & your children. Thank you for taking the time to read my response!! Have a wonderful weekend!! -H. Maddux ###-###-#### Mobile

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K.S.

answers from Phoenix on

At first glance know what I thought...."you've got a case of monkey see, monkey do." Whether or not that is the case or not, I don't know. I do know that when my 3.5 yr old daughter amps up her struggle for independence (ahem) so does my 2 yr old. It is worth discussing the daycare providers concerns and try to get an overall picture of their day, is anything different there? a new provider? a new child? a child who has recently starting acting up? Don't be so quick to blame yourself or your child. You know what is normal for your children and if this behavior is not normal you should not feel obligated to offer an "oh, it's something I did" response to the provider. I would find out more about their day at school and perhaps spend some non-probing time with your oldest, alone. See if things don't sort of seep out in his pretend play - that is how I get the low-down on my 3.5yr olds day...I pretend play with her.
Good Luck!

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A.A.

answers from Flagstaff on

How long have they been in daycare? Is there a new teacher? Anything different?

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T.M.

answers from Tucson on

How large is this daycare? I'm a huge fan of at home daycare because they get more attention and the same person is always watching my children. My provider works very well with me too, so its easy for us to be on the same page. My daughter will be 3 next month and i have the opposite problem. She's an angel at daycare but runs me into insanity at home. I think it has to do with the number of kids. My children are the "babies" of the daycare and they get the majority of the attention while still having children to play with and stimulate them. Maybe your boys are just crying out for more attention. Good luck

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J.M.

answers from Tucson on

How about a new daycare?!!! Good Luck! xoxo

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C.R.

answers from Las Cruces on

Have there been changes with the caregivers in the child care program? That could cause behavioral changes. For the most part, what you describe sounds like typical behavior for the ages of your children. 18 month olds have tantrums and 3 year olds go through periods of time where listening is not a priority. :)

The thing with time out - especially in a group setting like child care - is that the child is usually not given the opportunity to learn the appropriate behavior by being removed from the group. They are getting the message that they are not worthy of being with others because of their behavior, but no one is really modeling what they are supposed to be doing. Often, time out just leads to more time out in group settings, which leads to more behavior issues because a child's self esteem is effected because they are always in trouble.

Granted, I don't know your kids and it sounds like they are behaving pretty typically. As a former child care/preschool teacher, I have to wonder about the staff stability and discipline practices of the program to make a big deal out of normal toddler/preschoolers behavior. Talk to your older child and see if he can tell you anything about why he's not listening to his teachers. That may give you some insight into the situation from his perspective, which will help you and his teachers figure out how to handle the situation. Good luck.

PS - I can direct you to some articles on Time Out in group care if you think it would be helpful.

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K.H.

answers from Phoenix on

Try taking a day off and spending it in daycare observing your children and the daycare provider. This will give you insight.

R.A.

answers from Phoenix on

I run a Preschool and I agree 'Time Out' is a good form of discipline, but should not be used often. When it comes to misbehavior, I believe it is better to re-direct, or talk about poor choices and if necessary give a warning. If the offense continues (especially from a child who continues the same behaviors each day), the only choice left may be 'time' to think and then talk about why they had to have that time. I do feel it is important to encourage children who are not getting along with others the chance to find solutions and work things out.
It is rare that I use the time out chair and it is never any more minutes then their age (ex: a 3 year old might get 3 minutes). One time in the chair while we sing fun action songs is usually enough to change a poor altitude for the rest of the school year.
For your 3 year old it could just be the age and for the younger child it very well could be modeling behaviors
of the older sibling. I would also take time to talk with your children's care giver's, see if there have been changes at Day Care. If they are not willing to give you the time to explore what is happening, this could be your sign. You may have an adult who is just tired of dealing with a certain behavior and is quick to use the time out chair for their own peace. I do feel at home care centers can offer more one on one needed time.

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C.S.

answers from Phoenix on

E.,

It sounds like your kids are just being kids. I think what you need to CHECK IMMEDIATELY IS YOUR DAYCARE FACULTY!!!! Any new hires, what kind of background checks do they do? Even on the old employees.

You may want to talk to other Moms that have thier kids there, etc....

Also, if things don't get better find another DAYCARE!!
Your kids don't deserve to be sad all day.

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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

Oh E., i feel your pain. My daughter is 4 years old daughter has had the same issues at both 18 months and at 3 1/2. I think sometimes the daycare centers make more of a big deal than it really is or i also think that the Teachers are not taking the time with the child to understand what is going on and why they are not listening and then they make you feel bad as a parent. I have struggled with my own self regarding this issue, i have come to the conclusion, you can't punish them when you get home for what they do at daycare. what i have done is to continue to talk to my daughter and let her know what she has to do at daycare when i'm at work (listen to your teacher, take a nap, ect) as far as your 18 month old, what i found when she was that age, she was so frustrated and got mad when she was trying to communicate. it is NOTHING that you are doing wrong, it is your kids way of growing into their own. i could go on and on, but if you need any other suggestions let me know. also talk with the director and find out exactly the situation as to what was happening in the room at the times when they say your children are misbehaving. good luck!

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E.D.

answers from Tucson on

i would suggest switching daycares, if possible. it could be THEIR "parenting style". 3 is s tough age, and it's expected for their to be a lot of behavior issues as they start to exert their independence. if the daycare is overbooked, or not consisitent in their discipline measures, it will encourage the behavior.

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G.V.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi E.,

I can sympathize with your frustration because my son (now 10) had behavioral issues as a young child. Around age 3, we removed all refined sugar, hydrogenated oil, dyes and preservatives from his diet and he was a totally different child in about a month. There were some other things we did to undo the mental damage, which took a little longer. Now, he is a completely normal, well-adjusted child. Diet makes a huge difference!

Best wishes to you in resolving this issue.

Warm Regards,
G. Van Luven, H.C.
Healthy Habits Wellness Center, LLC
www.HealthyHabitsWellnessCenter.com
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