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How to Manage Behavior Problems at Daycare

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A toddler acting out at daycare may seem like a normal event, but oftentimes, parents don’t know how to respond when they discover that their child is biting or hitting others while away from home. A safe, happy classroom or daycare environment is essential to a child’s growth. While teachers and caregivers can only do so much to manage toddler biting and hitting in the classroom, there are several strategies parents can use to curb their toddler biting problem. Parents Ask, Experts Answer provides parents and teachers with expert suggestions for daycare behavior management that work at home as well. Try out these strategies to curb aggressive daycare behavior today.

Biting and Hitting
Parents Ask:
My daughter is fifteen months old. She’s biting. Is there a way to teach her not to do this? And more generally, what are appropriate forms of discipline for her at this age?

Experts Answer:
Vicki Panaccione

“It is very common for a toddler to bite, particularly when happy and excited. She has been biting things for most of her life without incident; she does not understand the difference between biting a person and biting an object. She has to be taught. So, even saying no can be confusing unless you really make it clear that it’s not okay to bite a person, but it is okay to bite objects. You might try saying, “Ouch!” or “Owie!” firmly and calmly, and make a sad face so she understands that it negatively affected you. You may also want to redirect her to a different chewable object. “No bite Mommy,” followed by offering a replacement object is much more effective. In this way, you are simultaneously correcting one behavior and replacing it with another. This is a key to disciplining kids at any age: When telling them and showing them what they can’t do, show them something they can do instead!”

Steven Kairys
“Be consistent. Redirect her immediately to other activities. Give her positive feedback when she is in a situation where she would ordinarily bite but does not. In general, for a fifteen-month-old, try to predict when she might have issues and redirect her. Ignore those behaviors that you can ignore, and give a lot of attention for the behaviors you want.” 

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