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Agreeing on Behavior Management

Dear Debi,
My 2 1/2 -year-old son goes to child care during the week. How can I make sure his provider & I are on the same page when it comes to his discipline?
Rice Caseñas
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
  • Use consistent strategies to encourage positive behavior
  • Talk openly, honestly & frequently
  • Share information about ways to use positive discipline to teach
Expert Advice
David Ramos
David Ramos
Parent educator
Parents should begin a discussion with their provider by explaining this is how you are raising your child, and this is the main reason why you chose this day care center for your child. State how you have read or heard that the provider teaches the same values that you are teaching your child. Talk about how you don't want your child confused nor do you want him or her receiving mixed messages when it comes to discipline.

You should also give your provider a small biography of your child so that your caregiver has a little more information regarding his or her personality and some of the behavioral issues that you have had in the past or continue to face with your child. This can also be a great opportunity to agree on how - as well as how often - you would like to be informed of their child's behavior.

Parents and providers should also communicate with each other about the progress being made in managing the child's behavior. How often it's discussed depends on the specific behavior issues. If there are serious behavior problems, the parent may want to request a daily report, including number of times child is displaying tantrums, hitting, irritability episodes, lack of cooperation, use of inappropriate language, etc. If the child presents no major behavior problems, the parent may wish to request a weekly behavior chart.

To encourage positive behavior, parents and child care providers should agree on whether stickers on a behavior chart are enough, or if they need to use daily incentives. The most effective way to encourage a child to improve any behavior is through modeling the use of the desired behaviors, and celebrating moments when children are intentionally caught displaying good behaviors. Effort should also be acknowledged.

Finally, remember that discipline should be handled with love and patience. Both parents and day care providers need to keep their cool and model self-control for children. The easiest reaction is to explode when we don't see behaviors that we approve of, yet the most effective thing to do is to consistently respond in a firm loving way. This will show the children that we mean well for them and are in control both of our emotions and the situation.
Child Care Provider Comments
Maria Segura
Maria Segura
Grandmother of a 3-year-old
It is hard as a grandmother to enforce something that is difficult for the child. I've always wanted him to know that grandma's house is a warm, loving place and I'm afraid that by enforcing some rules he won't want to come over anymore. I don't want him to see me as the "mean grandma."
Julie Arnold
Julie Arnold
Mother of a 20-month-old
It’s important that my husband and I are consistent when disciplining. We have to be strong and not give in to our child. One of the issues we are dealing with right now is that our daughter, Anna Grace, is starting to throw her food and her sippy cup. When it happens, we sit her in her chair with her hands in her lap and we have her watch us clean up the food. I have noticed that sometimes when my husband cleans up after her he will look up and smile at her. I tell him not to smile at her because she won’t take us seriously.
Verdis Ferraro
Verdis Ferraro
Child care provider for 23 years
Parents will often ask me what is my discipline policy. I don't really use a discipline policy. There are general rules that everyone has to follow, but because I see the parents every day, I just tell them if there was an issue with the child's behavior on that day. Then I ask them if something happened the night before. If I have a serious issue with a child, the parents and I will have a discussion about the best way to go about managing the behavior. Communication with the parents is very important.

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Agreeing on Behavior Management
Topic: Child Care Management
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