Monday, August 5, 2013

Rules for Reasons

Parents, please don't make your toddler's life at child care, playgroup, Gymboree classes or any multi-child setting, any more difficult than it needs to be!!


As a child care provider and preschool teacher, I create...


While few and simple, they are very important for all children to be successful and SAFE.

When doing an introductory meeting with parents, I discuss how school rules need to be followed at home so that the child has consistent expectations and can trust his home and school environments to the extent that the child can make appropriate choices in actions and behaviors at both. 

There are some experiences I have had that really get this point across.
  • I had a 2 year-old hitting all the other children with large blocks, seemingly taking great glee in their pain, suffering, screams and tears. He was laughing and having a good time of torturing the others. Nothing stopped him, or even slowed down his seeming quest to attack everyone. I finally had to exclude him from the other children.
This surprised me, as hitting is the capital offense at school, with instant time-out and a stern lecture. He hadn't shown a penchant for it prior to this particular instance. In discussing this with his mother, showing the bruises and tears of the other children, she admitted that they had bought their boys play light sabers over the weekend and had a great time all beating each other up. "...it was so cute...he had such a great time!"


Unfortunately, a 2 year-old is completely incapable of reasoning between a play lightsaber against his 5 year-old brother and parents, and a block against the head of another toddler, or a stick into the eye of another child. 


Baby Boy Star Wars Nursery Art Jedi with red lightsaber Illustration Digital Print 5x7 sky blue
Artwork used with permission from Let's All Make Believe
Print available $12 from her Etsy shop
These parents, over a weekend, taught their son that hitting other people was not only okay, but strongly encouraged, attention getting and FUN! A recipe for child care disaster on Monday. 


Parental attention and encouragement 
will ALWAYS trump school rules.
  • I also see this happen with ball throwing around the 18mo-2yo range. A father was so proud of his son's strong arm until he threw a rock into the face of another child. Even after discussing this with the father, he didn't stop throwing with his son, he just tried to "teach" him to only throw balls. (Not going to happen at this age range.) The child was constantly in trouble at school for throwing. The father FINALLY decided to wait on the ball throwing until the boy reached at least 3. What was the catalyst for his abrupt about face? The child chucked a toy into his dad's private parts. The dad found out just what a good, strong arm his boy had on him.
This one happens FREQUENTLY...Dad's and their obsession with their son's pitching ability! GEEEEZ! 

Another dad did the exact same thing...didn't stop the throwing, and tried to "teach" his toddler to only throw balls, even after I relayed the previous story. This one didn't last as long, since his son decided to chuck rocks in the driveway, with all the strength his little arm could muster, at daddy's new Lexus while dad was showing it off to a friend. Within an HOUR of purchasing it! 


Unfortunately for him, the little boy didn't stop throwing all together as quickly as his father would have liked. A few days later, this dad got a golf ball into his private parts. The height difference between toddlers and fathers is perfect for this. 

I couldn't help myself: "Yep, he really does have a very STRONG arm, doesn't he? Imagine if that would have been a block against another kid's head."

Dad: "Yeahhhhh, sorry."
What I didn't say,

"TOLD YOU SO!"

But I wanted to!
This isn't just boys! My cousin was talking about her daughter playing pirate and hitting the dog with her foam sword and how "funny it was. We were dying laughing. The poor dog, though, was terrorized." 

I basically told her everything I've written here, and extrapolated it to a stick being hit against her baby niece. She immediately called over her husband and said, "NO MORE SWORDS!" I reminded her that it was only until Sadie showed some sound reasoning after she turned three. Not too long to wait.



 Child Pirate Costumes

Until a child's reasoning between objects and actions, and a semblance of self-control emerges, throwing and hitting, in any manner, in any form, of any thing, is a FIRM NO!! What is okay with an older sibling or parent, at home, is NOT OKAY in any multi-child setting.


It's simply not fair to the child to be reprimanded harshly elsewhere for something that is not only approved of, but ENCOURAGED at home. Every child wants adult approval, and they get very mixed signals when their parents and their teachers or caregivers have dramatically different responses to what the child perceives as the SAME ACTION.


Even worse, is when a parent has actively encouraged a particular action or behavior, and then, when it is done in a manner the parent deems inappropriate, harshly punishes their child. Praising and laughing for the child throwing a ball, then spanking them for throwing rocks at the car, is WRONG!



It's NOT FAIR. 
Tags: lying, children, development, discipline, punishment, toddler, preschool, childcare, daycare, parenting, parent, girl, boy, rules, consistency, behavior, tantrums, child, limits, care

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