Q&A: My 4-Year-Old Acts Out A Daycare, What Can I Do?

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“My son, 4yr to be in May, isn’t doing well in daycare. Staff says he’s totally disrespectful, not listening, talking back, writing on walls threaten to fight them. All these things he does not do at home. He knows better, but it all goes out the window when around strangers. I’ve tried to take away his favorite things, snacks, toys, and tv. Time out & spankings. Explaining why he shouldn’t do such & to do better. Any other way to approach & actually get through to him?

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Q&A: My 4-Year-Old Acts Out A Daycare, What Can I Do?
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Community Answers

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

“He might be getting bullied at daycare I’d talk to them and see if there is an underlying issue.”

“At that age taking away his favourite things & spanking him is not going to improve anything only make it worse.. help him regulate & understand his emotions.”

“He may have issues with authority. I would try counseling.”

“Maybe its the daycare and not him…..”

“My little boy was very different at daycare than he was at home- it made it so difficult to correct his behavior. Perhaps you could have a meeting with his main educators and your little boy, and establish some ground rules together? Then at the end of each day when you pick up your little love, ask him how he feels he went and the educators- so he knows you’re all a team who are supporting him?”

“So glad you asked this!!! I have the same problem with my same age little girl in early preschool. She kept being disruptive during naptime when she naps fine at home. After 3 months we finally found out that she wanted a beach towel for naptime like all the other kids.”

“Look into a developmental evaluation. He could need counseling or language therapy to help him express himself.”

“Mine did this at day care and eventually started hitting kids, teachers, anyone. He was sent home every time he hit. Turned out there was nothing but chaos in his classroom. I moved him to another daycare and there was never another issue.”

“My son was the same way and was actually kicked out of a place because of it. We reached out to a behavioral therapist and after her shadowing him at preschool, home and kindergarten she came to the conclusion that the lack of structure and chaos at preschool was the main reason for his outburst behavior.”

“I teach head start and I’ve seen this before… if the child is honestly only acting out at daycare could be the child is overstimulated there. It could also be that the daycare workers are causing the problem with how they handle the child, or another child may be bullying them. It could be many things. Also it’s hard to punish at that age unless you catch them in the act and deliver the punishment on the spot. You can always talk about the “do’s and dont’s” at home but punishment for something that happened hours ago is kind of pointless and could make the child resentful and in turn cause them to misbehave more. It can also destroy confidence and self-worth. I had this problem with my 1st child (good boy at home) but his teacher would complain every day almost. I stopped punishing bc it didn’t help also he was being pushed twice once at school with time out and then I was angry and punish at home too. So he was being double punished (which really isn’t fair).4 years old is still so little. I will say I started reading “what should Danny do?” And “diggory doo” books at night before bed. That might have more positive approach to the problem.”

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