The Family Project: Daycare dilemma
Q. My three-year-old daughter is having problems at daycare, such as hitting and not listening. It makes me feel that she is a bad kid. I punish her at home with timeouts and taking things away from her, but the situation only seems to get worse. What can I do to help her?
“The mother should never feel that her daughter is a ‘bad kid,’” panelist Wanda Mercado-Arroyo said.
“The teacher is just reporting what she is observing because she wants to find out if the child is doing the same things in other settings so she can figure out what is happening,” said Mercado-Arroyo.
Panelists agreed that delayed punishments don’t work.
“All it is doing is making the situation more difficult,” panelist Chad Stefanyak said. “It is very possible that the daughter is reacting to the punishments at home and carrying it over to daycare,” said Stefanyak.
“I would ask what is going on in daycare,” panelist Denise Continenza said, adding, “I would ask the teachers whether the hitting incidents involve the same children all the time? What is going on before and during the incidents? How do the teachers handle it?”
Contnenza also said the parents should ask the teachers what their daughter does well.
As for the complaint that the daughter doesn’t listen, Stefanyak said three-year-olds need to be given specific examples of what they are expected to do. The parent needs to know specifically what the daycare means by “not listening.”
“If I were the mother, I would ask the teachers to give me specific things to work on at home,” said Stefanyak.
Stefanyak agreed that it is important to work with the teachers to develop procedures at home that carry over from daycare. However, he also said the mother needs to determine if the daycare is a good match for her daughter. “Another question the parents need to ask is whether the staff has training in early-child development,” Stefanyak said.
If the parents decide to look for other daycare centers, the panel suggested looking for facilities that participate in the Keystone Stars program, whic stresses professional development and parent engagement.
This week’s team of parenting experts are: Pam Wallace, Program Coordinator, Project Child, a program of Valley Youth House; Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, former teacher and school administrator; Chad Stefanyak, school counselor, and Denise Continenza, extension educator.
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The Family Project is a collaboration of the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section and Valley Youth House’s Project Child.
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