19 Tips To Deal With Toddler Bad Behavior At Daycare (2023)

Toddler bad behavior at daycare? Children of different ages show different kinds of behavior, some good, some “bad”. Sometimes young children will behave differently at home than they do at daycare. There could be many reasons behind it. A toddler’s bad behavior at daycare speaks a lot about their current environment and current curcumstances and less about them as a human.

No parents want to hear from other people how bad their child’s behavior is. It is frustrating as well as embarrassing to hear from someone else that you have “failed” in raising your child well, after so much effort (right?). You can control your child in front of you (well, sometimes) but what to do when the child is not with you?

Daycare or childcare is a necessary part of life for many working parents and no, you can not attend the daycare along with your child! You must know the ways to maintain the discipline within the child in your absence.

At My Toddler Life, we are here to help you solve the question: “What to do when my child’s daycare teacher tells me about his bad behavior?”

Simple Ways To Solve Toddler Bad Behavior At Daycare

There are several effective ways to control your childs behavior, with patience and grace (promise!):

1. Acknowledge that your child’s behavior is your issue to deal with:

Some parents notice the behavior of the child but ignore it in the hope that the nanny or the teacher will handle the child. But remember that at the end of the day, it is your duty to help your child master self control.

2. Talk to your child like you understand them:

You can ask them ” Is there something that is bothering you?” Or you can ask “Are you feeling bad about something?”. There is a chance that they will try to avoid this conversation or lie to you. If you see that they are not telling the truth then you can continue the conversation by saying “Your teacher told me today” and ask them that why that happened.

If they shares with you their problem then you can try to help them solve it. You could say something like “Have you ever seen me doing that? No, right? Then why are you behaving like this?”. Avoid threatening your child by saying “ This is the last warning “ or “ You won’t be allowed to Joshies party”.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

The main thing is how you end your conversation, how you leave them feeling when all is said and done will be a massive factor in the behavior moving forward. Your last words could be: ” I know my good boy/girl will not do such a thing again” or anything else that you think will put a positive spin on the situation – they will be much more likely to display “good” behavior moving forward.

4. Talk to their daycare teacher:

You can schedule a meeting with your child’s daycare teacher and ask them about the bad habits and bad behavior that your little one is displaying. You should then check in at least weekly toask about the progress that your child has made after you have talked about those problems with your child and their teachers.

5. Acknowledge the good behavior:

A very common mistake that parents make is that they do not acknowledge their child’s positive behavior, only the negative. The child does good things to impress the parents but they are too busy to encourage them or say a few words of praise. The child’s feelings begin to come out in the form of bad habits – and on and on the cycle goes.

The toddler might not show this behavior in front of you but a daycare would prove the best place for such behavior as you are not over there to control them. So you should appreciate them for the good they do the same way as you get cranky when they do something wrong – a simple “well-done” and a hug when they’ve been good is great positive reinforcement to continue the GOOD behavior.

In this way, they will value your words when you will tell them that you are disappointed by their behavior or want them to change their attitude when they do something wrong.

6. Balance is Key

If you notice any positive change in them then praise them but the praises should also be within limits. As we all know (and try to live by!) – that balance is key to successful parenting.

Hopefully some of these tips can help you control your childs negative behavior. The child will not think that you are being too harsh on them if they are being disciplined, respectfully. A screaming adult = a screaming child. Your positive behavior can stop their negative behavior.

7. Aggressive Behavior

Aggression is a different beast all together and will need to be handled differently, especially if it is physical aggression. Offering a physical release can be very effective – i.e kicking a soccer ball, hitting a cushion. This can help channel the anger in a safe way.  

8. Daycare Teachers

Is this bad behavior at daycare new? Has something changed in the daycare environment? Maybe there is a new teacher that they are pushing boundaries with – testing the waters. If this is the case, try and see if a respected teacher whom they have a relationship with already, will have a chat with them.

9. Challenging behaviors

We all go through phases of our toddlers being super challenging (I feel you) – but it becomes a bigger problem when this behavior finds its way in to the classroom. When you first start feeling challenged by them, bring it up with the daycare leader so that they can keep an eye out for it and offer their experienced advice to help manage it at home.

10. A Healthy Way

Healthy ways to deal with toddler bad behavior at daycare do not include YOU, the parent, lashing out with yelling or physical violence of any sort. Although it may make you feel better in the moment, the second you’ve done it, you will feel worse than before and your toddler won’t be behaving any better anyway!

11. Temper tantrums

We’ve all seen the child having a temper tantrum at the supermarket when mama won’t buy them a lolly, but none of us want to deal with them at home – nor do the daycare teachers at care. It can be tough for a teacher to deal with as they are not allowed to use any physical interventions (i.e bear hugs or holding flailing limbs) so try to beat the problem before it makes it to daycare, by being firm and direct in explaining that it is not on. Don’t use violence – but distraction most definitely will help.

12. Is It The Daycare Center?

Sometimes, the daycare provider that you chose is not the right one for you and your child. Whether through anyones fault or not, sometimes the two just don’t gel. If the bad behavior at care has been going on for a while, it may be worth sussing out other child care providers in the area.

13. Negative effects

Remember, bad behavior at daycare is effecting not only you and your child, but the daycare teachers and the other kids he or share is at care with all day long. This is a problem that won’t go away on it’s own and the negative effects can spill over in to all facets of life. A problem to work on sooner rather than later!

14. First time?

First time you’ve heard anything of the sort? Don’t believe that your child is being a bad kid at child care? Kids often behave differently at daycare than they do at home – they are CONSTANTLY trying to push everyone’s boundaries – once they’ve figured out how far they can push you – they’ll get to work on the other significant adults in their life.

15. Behavioral problems

One of the many reasons your toddler could be displaying problem behavior at daycare is due to a physical or mental health condition. Behavor problems often appear when a toddler is having issues and doesn’t understand what is happening to them or how to deal with it. This one is a job for a medical professional.

16. Grocery store

Random one, but a toddler meltdown in the grocery store is a really great opportunity to practise dealing with bad behavior in a public place. This will help you set your standards of what you are willing to deal with at home, and thus how far your toddler will probably push their daycare teacher.

17. Mental health

Kids as young as 2/3 can suffer mental health problems. I know it seems absurd, but isf bad behavior is a constant issue, and you just can’t seem to get through to them – it may be time for an appointment with a mental health professional.

18. Bad kid ?

Bad behavior doesn’t = bad kid. Try and remember that it is probably just a phase and that all children tend to display “bad behavior” at one stage or another. Try and deal with it as calmly as possible and remember at the end of the day they are just a tiny human learning to deal with our big, bad world.

19. Best way forward

Have a read of all of the helpful points in this article and choose those which resonate with you. Start being mindful of implementing one or more of these techniques in your childs daily life. If you see no improvement any time soon, unfortunately it may be time to check in with a medical professional.

Why Trust My Toddler Life?

My Toddler Life is run by mama’s, for mama’s. All information provided on our site is thoroughly researched and takes in to consideration our lived experiences and the opinions of industry professionals. How are we different from other sites doing the same thing? We have fun while doing it (often with a glass of wine in hand) and don’t take ourselves too seriously!

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Journal of Abnormal Childhood Psychology

Current Directions in Psychological Science

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