Discipline Policies at Preschool

Parent Q&A

  • My almost 29 month old has a lot of trouble sharing with his classmates in day care and when a kid takes away the toys he is playing with, he tries to bite them. I talk to him everyday that sharing is important and that the toys are for everyone and he needs to remember to share. He has been the only child until 5 months ago that we had our second son a few days before he turned two. His teachers tell me that his behavior is due to his baby brother but he loves his brother so much and never argues for attention since I try to give them equal time. It is harder to focus on just him since I breastfeed his brother and I barely have any energy with a toddler and a baby. Are there any recommendations on teaching a two year old to share? 

    My other concern is that the kids are biting him (HARD!) and today he came home with deep scratches in his face due to sharing. It has not been the first time, and he even has marks from the very first time they scratched his face just a few days before picture day. I've spoken to the teachers about this, and they tell me that they have spoken to the parents but they don't cut the child's nails. I just don't know what to do! I can only teach MY son to not do these things, but what happens when they do that to him? The school tries to keep the names of the children confidential since they are children, but I've even spoken to the center director and nothing has changed. 

    I know my son is not a bully, he just refuses to share which I want to find a way to fix so that hopefully the biting and scratching towards my son stop. HELP!

    There are several ways where the daycare center seems not to be managing the situation properly.

    First, at two and a half, children are more than ready to learn how to take turns. I'm surprised that the daycare center isn't managing the situation better, in facilitating sharing and teaching better toy etiquette. In my daughter's toddler class last year, they taught the kids not to grab toys that another toy still had in their hand. If a conflict came up over a toy, the kids learned to ask a teacher for a timer, or a teacher intervened and facilitated taking turns.

    Second, in addition to trying to prevent incidents through the above means, the teachers should also be talking with kids every time an incident happens about not biting or scratching, and relaying incident reports to all involved parents asking them to reinforce the message at home.

    Third, it's reasonable for daycare centers to require and remind parents to keep the children's nails trimmed.

    Finally, kids bite and scratch each other at daycare sometimes. But the teachers should be managing the situation more proactively.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Preschool teacher grabbed son by the arm

Sept 2009

I would appreciate some input on this: my son goes to what seems to be a great preschool, but I recently saw through the window that the teacher grabbed his arm during some circle dance they were doing. He is very energetic and was running around outside of the circle. The teacher then grabbed him by the upper arm and quickly pulled him back into the circle dance. It looked like she was grabbing him a little to forcefully, but then again he is very quick...I am not sure what to make of this. I know my son is very energtic, he was not crying or anything, but just looking at it, it seemed a little harsh. My husband thinks it's better for him to learn to listen to the teacher and stay with the group so that he will be ready for kindergarden. I would hate to switch preschools over this, because of all the friends he has made. I will definitely talk to the teacher, to see what she has to say. Any thoughts? Concerned

I think your husband is right. Grabbing your son so he would stop running around and come back in the circle with the rest of the kids was appropriate so that he remains with the group (safety) and so that he learns that he must listen to teachers, both for his own development and so he doesn't interfere with what the other kids are doing. This is your son's opportunity to develop some self-control and discipline. It's a good thing.

Not knowing your kid or the situation exactly, but having been a preschool teacher and having observed lots of ''energetic'' kids at my daughter's preschool (and other venues where the preschoolers go), I'd bet your son is just fine and he just needs to learn to follow rules. The teacher probably had to react quickly so as not to have chaos in the whole group. Even by your own admission he wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing. Again, I didn't observe it, and I'm not saying it's impossible to have a teacher who is too rough, but my experience and observations have been that the ''energetic'' kids sometimes need more direct intervention and have a tendency to disrupt the entire group. Sounds like your son didn't even notice what you are terming ''harsh,'' and it sounds like your husband is conscious that your son may need a little more discipline in order to survive in kindergarten and beyond. Sounds like you'd be doing him a disservice by switching preschools (and who knows, if he's that ''energetic'' he could encounter teachers who really aren't willing to deal with him.)