You’ve known this was coming for a while. This may not even be the first time your child was kicked out of daycare, preschool, or school.
Your child frequently receives notes home, bad reports from teachers, and maybe even the director of the daycare or preschool has called a meeting with you. It seems like every day something new happened, such as your child running around the school building, hitting or choking another child, or the teachers needing to clear the classroom because of your child’s behavior.
Their home behavior isn’t much better as you battle tantrums and defiance. It seems your child just ignores you if you ask them to do anything. When you ask your child to do something, your child keeps playing and acts like they haven’t heard you, pitches a fit, or does it slowly or wrong on purpose. The battles with your child might be tearing apart your relationships with family or your partner.
You are at your wit’s end and don’t know what to do. How do you keep them in daycare and help them turn around their behavior?
Can Changing A Child’s Daycare Placement Be Harmful To Their Future?
Changing a daycare placement can be harmful to a child if they have developed attachments to the teachers or other students. It can also teach a child that if they act up, they will be sent home which can be a reward. Some kids learn from this that no teacher or other students will really be there for them, so why bother staying at that school or trying to have good behavior? One study shows that changing from one childcare center to another can have a negative impact on your child’s social interactions by the time they are in kindergarten.
To keep your child in this daycare placement, start by understanding the issues, advocating for them, and working with the daycare on solutions..
1: Seek To Understand The Challenges The Daycare Has With Your Child
Start with curiosity. What is going on that is causing the daycare to want to kick your child out? Is it aggression? Is it your child running away from the building? Is your child constantly defiant? Once you have a clear picture of what is going on, then you can work towards solutions. Approaching this with curiosity allows you to hear what they are saying, take notes, and work on solutions in your own home versus ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away.
2: Ask What You Can Do To Help Your Child With Their School Problem Behaviors
Once you know their problem behaviors, ask what you can do at home to help. What has the daycare had success with before? What programs or services do they recommend or what can you do at home to help reinforce the importance of school and listening to adults?
One solution for kids under the age of 7 is Parent Child Interaction Therapy which can help your child to become calmer, listen to commands on the first time, and have better social skills. Many children who have been on the verge of being kicked out of preschool, daycare, or school have benefitted from PCIT and even gone on to be a student of the month or most improved student. PCIT has 50 years of research behind it for helping kids with aggressive behavior, defiance, anxiety, and so much more.
It may be to get you, your partner, or whomever else is involved in discipline on the same page.
If you are wondering when to start family therapy or when to keep trying to help your child yourself, click here.
3: Advocate For Your Child With the Child Care Facility
If you feel this is a good placement for your child, advocate for them. Explore with the facility what you can work together with them on or how to make it better for your child. This may be starting to do half-days or working your child’s way up to a full day. It may be exploring what rewards charts would look like both at the school and at home.
Before a childcare facility can kick a child out, there should be multiple other steps in place. One of those steps would be a discipline plan and what they can do to work with your child. A great question to ask would be if the daycare has had other kids with similar behaviors and what has worked well in the past. Have they down rewards, quiet time, and a calming center? Do they recognize when your child is getting overstimulated? Are they working with your child on coping skills? Ask plenty of questions and get to know what they can do to work better with your child and really advocate on why this is the place for them.
4: Volunteer Or Get Involved
If there is a way for you to volunteer or get involved in the classroom–do it. Show your child that the classroom is a safe place for them to be in and the importance of their education. By having a parent that values education and helps out in their schools, your child is more likely to score better on tests, have better school performance, behave better in the classroom, and more. Try to get involved in whatever way you can to help your child want to succeed in school.
If the daycare, preschool, or kindergarten continues to push disenrollment or expulsion, start looking at what could be a better place for your child. Perhaps it would be smaller class ratios, a teacher who has a degree in early childhood education, or someone who already has an attachment to your child. Still continue to work on your child’s behavior, social skills, and more with whatever tools you can or professionals that you can. This rough patch doesn’t have to define your child’s future or be a permanent part of your life.
If you are looking for family therapy or Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Mary Willoughby Romm is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia who provides online therapy for Willow Tree Healing Center. She enjoys transforming the lives of women, college students, kids,tweens/teens, and families through providing communication strategies, coping skills that work, allowing a safe space to be heard, and actively working towards helping you with your challenges. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (ages 2-7) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,counsels substance abuse in teens and adults, and practices Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.