How Can I Get My Very Affectionate Toddler to Stop Kissing His Daycare Friends?

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QUESTION: My toddler is very affectionate, how can I get him to understand he can not kiss his friends at daycare?

“My two-year-old goes to daycare and has gone to daycare since he was 12 weeks old. I am very affectionate, hugs and kisses. He has learned how to be affectionate, giving lots of hugs and kisses when he feels loved and cared for or wants to show someone else he loves or cares for them. He has a limited vocabulary. I have learned that he has been kissing other kids at daycare. The daycare has stated that they have begun putting him in timeout.

Showing affection and other feelings are a part of his development, and I feel that the discipline that they are giving him tells him it’s wrong to show his feelings. Does anybody have any advice on how to positively reinforce the behavior of just kissing family and not friends? And maybe how to have a conversation with the daycare to not discipline my child for showing his feelings? Maybe a plan we can work together on to get on the same page?”

RELATED: Q&A: I Really Need Advice For My Daughter’s Behavior

How Can I Get My Very Affectionate Toddler to Stop Kissing His Daycare Friends?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“Wow. That’s crazy. I don’t know if I’d discipline a kid for being loving. At least he’s kissing and hugging and not biting and hitting. He doesn’t even know better especially since he sees his mama do it. I have no answer, but I wouldn’t like that. You can redirect but time out for being sweet isn’t okay.”

“I get where they are coming from with Covid and all that. Putting him in time out is not ok in my book he doesn’t understand that he shouldn’t do that to his friends. I would talk to the daycare and explain that you are very affectionate and he’s doing what he sees. You and they need to try to explain that it’s ok at home with mommy but he can’t kiss his friends. That what I would do if it were me my kids don’t go to daycare so I’ve never been in your shoes. Good luck momma, you got this it’s going to take time and patience but he will get it.”

“Wow, I’d be pissed. I get it because of germs but he is showing positive personality traits, why would you want to change that?? Talk to your son. He’s young and it’ll take a lot but explain that we don’t kiss our friends, and maybe find another way to show affection, such as high fives that may be more acceptable. Still can’t believe the nerve of those caretakers. SMH.”

“One of the most important things for a child to learn is bodily ownership And consent. Do not touch hug or kiss anyone without consent. Germs as well, We stoped kissing the kids on the mouth when they started school. even the doctor says forehead or top of the head kisses only, For health. I don’t know about punishment but they should absolutely remind and redirect.”

“I have no advice I’m sorry but my daughter is the same way! Her preschool luckily didn’t have an issue and laughed it off! I’m sure they told her no kissing and no hugging unless they wanted a hug. She has outgrown that somewhat but is still like that at home. My daughter is also very loving and outwardly affectionate showing and I love to see that, I feel time-outs are harsh for showing affection, a simple redirection is appropriate.”

“He should not be in time out, re-directed yes, he is 2 he is not going to understand about the germ factor. That being said is his affectionate actions causing any kind of harm or distress to the other children? (Is someone accidentally getting pushed or knocked over in an exuberant hug.) Sometimes a child wants to show their friends they care by hugging or kissing but another child may not want that. We always tell our kids to use their words to let their friend know what they like or don’t like that they can say no or stop or walk away.”

“He should not be disciplined for being affectionate. They should have the sense to try and redirect him. Work with him at home about asking for permission to give hugs or kisses. Find a new daycare.”

“How would you feel if he was being kissed by random kids? It’s a fair question to consider… and even if you’re okay with it, can you understand why others might not be?”

“To me teaching him to respect other people’s boundaries is more important than to teach him showing affection is part of his development, as you stated.”

“Teach him fist bumps and high fives for friends and teachers. Just redirect the positivities.”

“Honestly daycare teachers should know through their training how to redirect kids this age and that discipline is not how to go about this. I hope they do better once you are able to talk with them. I agree with teaching him to high-five friends instead. I’m sure they could get on board with that.”

“I work at a daycare we have separated kids for kissing! We don’t who is sick 100% of the time and parents get can get upset. We tell them ‘no kissing friends’ and have then do something different like a different center.”

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