Daycare and Preschool Issues
You may find that your child's behavior at and attitude toward school or daycare fluctuates some over these years. At first, the child may be apprehensive, then grow used to the routine, then refuse to go for a few months, and finally grow content with the arrangement again. Here's how to handle problem behavior surrounding going to preschool or daycare.
Problem Behavior at School
If your child's teacher has expressed concerns about her behavior at school, you must do two things: uphold and enforce rules, and evaluate what has been happening to determine if there are any other factors that could be contributing to the defiant or problematic behavior.
First, it's extremely important that you uphold the school's authority, rules, and consequences. If you don't, you're setting yourself up for many more parent-teacher conferences in the coming years. You must teach your child to respect the school rules and the rights of others by letting the school's consequences stand. Do you privately think that the teacher is an idiot, the other kids are brats, and the rules are for people who can't think for themselves? If so, you're passing this entitled mindset to your child and it will work to her disadvantage in the long run. Other people don't enjoy being around someone with a chip on her shoulder; a team player is the more successful individual.
You may have thought separation anxiety was just for toddlers. Preschool children can experience a phase of separation anxiety, too. If this describes what you're going through, increase the one-on-one time to strengthen your bond. Cuddling and reading in the morning before school can be especially effective.
Next, consider if there are any other circumstances at the school or in your child's life that could be contributing to problem behavior, which your child can't or won't articulate. Is she the only five-year-old in a classroom of threes? Is she getting enough sleep? Does she think you or the school are asking for academic perfection? If so, troubleshoot possible ways to remedy the situation without undermining the school's authority, and solicit the teacher's input for possible solutions.
Angel at School, Defiant at Home
There are many aggressive people — adults and children alike — who are the picture of stability at school or work, but who terrorize their families at home. Ironically, people show their worst sides to those they love most! This could be because they feel “safe” at home and let down their guard.
You need to be concerned about the possibility that your child could be exhibiting problem behavior at home in reaction to frustration or anxiety at school or daycare. If so, troubleshoot what could be going on at school or daycare, talk with your child about that environment and what goes on there, and if you need to remove your child from the facility, re-read the end of Chapter 2, on weaning from unsafe bonds.