What to do when your child is having behavioral problems at preschool

Preschool is sometimes the first time children are in an environment without their parents, with structured learning, and with a lot of other children. It’s not unusual for all these changes to produce behaviors in your child that might be new and undesirable. Don’t fret! Here are some tips to deal with behavioral problems that may arise at preschool.

Boy acting out

Look first at home

Sometimes a child acting out at preschool is due to changes in their home environment like a new sibling or a parent being busier than usual at work. Even if it seems unrelated, changes can weigh on a child and cause them to act out when they’re at preschool. Think about whether your child has gone through any changes recently and talk to her too about what may be on her mind. Many times, children will improve dramatically in their behavior after extra attention at home, like special one-on-one time with their parents. 

Observe your child in the classroom

Observing children in the classroom can be beneficial for two reasons. First, parents often benefit from seeing problems firsthand. Through observation, they can better understand the exact parameters of the issue. Second, parents can witness how teachers are handling the problem. This will help when trying to establish consistency in the steps taken to fix the problems.

If it isn’t possible to observe your child in the classroom, request the teachers to call or send home daily reports regarding the problem.

Work with teachers to establish a consistent routine at school and at home

For behavioral problems, it’s often helpful to use the same set of tactics to enforce good behavior at home and at school. Work with the preschool and other caregivers to establish a consistent routine when it comes to improving problems with behavior.

Get professional outside help 

Sometimes the problems cannot be solved at home or at school. That’s when professional outside help can be a great option. Often, preschools can help recommend or help parents find therapists to assist children with different problems, such as behavioral issues or learning delays.

Evaluate other preschools

It may be the case that it’s the school that needs fixing and not your child. Is the preschool a very structured environment and your child would benefit from more free play? Do they maybe not provide enough time to run around outside and burn off energy? Would an environment with fewer children be better? If the answer to these sorts of questions is yes you might be best off by finding a preschool that’s a better fit.
Posted in Preschool ∙ Updated March 2019

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