How to Deal With Difficult Children in a Day Care Setting

Most children can be difficult from time to time, even in a day care setting 1. According to, this behavior is caused by a child's need to assert his independence. Other children are chronically difficult and disruptive in the day care setting. Day care workers have several options for dealing with a difficult child to keep the peace and protect the safety of the other children.

Avoid consistently isolating or humiliating the child as a form of discipline. This treatment can make him feel even more separate from his peers and may make the disruptive behavior worse.

Explain the rules and regulations to the child in a way she will be able to understand. This effort will cut down on any confusion and give the child a firm set of boundaries. For smaller children, this explanation could include the use of visual aids, such as puppets, to help act out acceptable behavior.

Avoid exposing the child to situations that can lead to aggressive, disruptive behavior. These situations could include games that can become physical, such as football, or the viewing of television programs or video games with violent themes.

Remove the child from a negative situation. If the child begins to cause a scene or act aggressively toward another child at the day care, move him away from the situation into a quiet environment, and explain why that behavior is unacceptable. Give the child a few moments to calm down before allowing him to rejoin the group.

Do not punish the child by yelling or by informing her that she is a “problem” child. The child will begin to associate with this label and live up to this undesirable classification.

Praise the child each time he exhibits good behavior. This acknowledgment can come in the form of verbal praise or special privileges, such as extra time on the playground or a sticker.

Speak to the child's parent about the disruptive, difficult behavior. The parent may want to seek outside help in the form of a counselor or psychologist to help find the root cause of the child's troublesome actions.