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Tips on Child Day Care Behavior Problems

By Shelley Frost ; Updated September 26, 2017
Working on negative behaviors at home helps reinforce expectations at day care.

A family with two working parents is not uncommon, but all that time at day care means you're likely to have at least a few negative behavior reports. Hearing that your child misbehaved at day care may leave you feeling helpless or frustrated. Working together with her child care providers helps control the behavior problem before it gets out of control.

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Communicate With the Day Care

Recurring behavior problems at day care are best resolved when you work together with your child's caregivers. Talk to the care provider about situations or behaviors at home that might affect your tot's behavior at day care. Examples include the birth of a sibling, separation of parents or a move. If you notice your child biting, hitting or otherwise misbehaving at home, ask her care provider if she's exhibiting the same behaviors there. Hearing about your child's day from the care providers is also important. The communication allows you to monitor your child's behavior even when you aren't with her.


A visit to the day care gives you a chance to see your child in her daily environment. If possible, observe your little one without her knowing you are there. Having you by her side will likely change how she acts at day care so you won't get a true sense of how she behaves. Once you've observed her behavior, it's OK to sit with her for a while. Seeing your involvement and connection with day care and her care providers may have a positive influence on your child.

Set Boundaries at Home

The expectations you enforce at home help your child learn proper behaviors and self-discipline that carry over to other areas. The National Network for Child Care recommends clearly communicating the rules and consequences so your child knows exactly what she should do. You also need to follow through to enforce those rules and consequences. Praising your child when she behaves well can help reinforce those positive behaviors. Work with the day care providers to consistently set behavior expectations at both places.

Seek Help

When behaviors don't improve or put your child or others in danger, seeking additional help is sometimes necessary. The day care center is an initial resource for help. Ask for suggestions if you need help getting your child's behavior under control. The day care center may also refer you to a physician or mental health professional. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a referral for a persistent problem that worsens in severity, particularly if day care interventions don't work or the family is stressed by the situation.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

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