Working through challenging behaviors with your children is no small task. It can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, to say the least. Sorting through different techniques and strategies until you find what works with you, your parenting style, and your child is not easy and may take some trial and error. Despite the style you choose, you’ll quickly find that consistency is key. Making sure that you address the behavior in the same way each time is very important in ensuring that your child is receiving the same message. Half of the battle can sometimes be making sure that each person in your child’s life is on the same page- mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and especially your child’s caregiver.
Learning how to behave and express yourself appropriately is hard! It can be especially confusing for children when the reactions they receive from adults in their life aren’t the same. Child care providers spend a majority of your child’s waking moments with them. For this reason, it’s crucial that you and your child’s caregiver have a very clear understanding of any challenging behaviors your child might be displaying and how you, as the parent, want to address it.
When interviewing child care providers, be sure to ask them what their behavior policy is and share any past challenges your child has had. This can save you a lot of trouble and stress when unwanted behaviors come up later on down the road. Pick a provider who shares your values! Be clear about any boundaries you have and ask them what approaches they use for redirection. Be sure that they know yours as well. Maybe go over a few common scenarios that have been a struggle for your child in the past and ask how that provider would handle that situation. If you are uncomfortable with their answers on handling misbehavior, think about scheduling a parent-teacher conference to further discuss the matter. Keep in mind that cultural differences can be a challenge in how behavior is interpreted and will be handled. If you cannot come to an agreement, you may consider looking for a different provider that fits your parenting style better.
Be Open and Understanding
It’s not uncommon that the first time you become aware of a challenging behavior is through your child care provider. For example you may find out that your child is biting while in child care, even if you’ve never seen your child bite at home. Try not to get defensive or go straight to denial. Be sure to hear your provider out.
Children act differently in different settings, and your child care provider’s responsibility is to look out for the well-being of all children. If they come to you with an issue, be open to working with them to fix it! Ask questions and work together to find a good solution. You’re all on the same team. Your child care provider may even have a suggestion based on his or her experience with children. It’s likely that your provider has seen the behavior before and has worked with other children and parents through it. Use their expertise! You hired them for a reason.
If you’re going through an especially difficult phase with your child, make time to communicate with your child care provider daily. Stay informed on how he or she is behaving during the day and how the provider is handling the behavior. Again, it is so important that you are both on the same page with addressing the behavior consistently to prevent confusion. Have regular meetings, chat during pick up or drop off if it’s not too hectic, or even ask your provider to give you a call/text during down time just for a quick check-in.
- Check out the article on parenting as a team for tips and strategies to help you develop a healthy parenting relationship with other influential adults in your child’s life.