Challenging Toddler Behavior in Daycare

Toddler looking out of and standing in front of a closed window with hands on the glass.

My boy (age 2.8) struggles to sit down and listen to me. He is a bit disruptive in class (my in-home daycare) and I need to talk often with a threat (which I don't like, but it seems the only times that he does listen)... Another teacher advised that I send him to another Montessori school, and this will really be upsetting as I have started the group just for him (as he is the only child). Please please give me advice.

Sounds like your son might be having a hard time sharing you with the other children in your home. It may help if you can get him to play with, share a table with, or rug work with another child, with you there to mediate. Try this for the next few months, having him close to another child when he does activities.

Not listening. He might be also learning how to get more of your attention by acting out, (not listening, etc.). So, as hard as it might be, try not to give him so much attention when he acts inappropriately, as this will only reinforce the bad behavior.

Try instead on giving a group lesson, even if it is during the work period: ring a bell and say, "We are going to have a lesson on how to sit in our chair." Then ask your oldest child to demonstrate, after you show how to sit in a chair, first. Everyone will want a turn, so ask each child to have a turn to show how to sit in a chair, including your son.

Do this "social grace and courtesy" lesson for any and all challenging behaviors or issues: taking turns, putting an activity away, walking in the house, hanging up a jacket... Do this outside, too. You can also give these lessons at circle time, lunchtime when the children are together in a group.

We did this instead of time outs, or instead of taking away playtime.

If a child hit, we gave a lesson on how to use your words to the whole group of children, including the child who hit.

We also directed the child who hit to a work that allowed hitting, like clay or play-dough. 

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

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