Sticky situations and social skills can be hard to navigate in daycare. Is your child struggling with their social skills? Do you know how to handle classroom transition? What do you do if your child gets bit? These are all sticky situations that parents may not know how to handle but this guide will help you handle them with ease.
The Ultimate Guide to Daycare: Sticky Situations
Social Skills Needed Before Preschool
Sticky situations include kids who struggle with social skills when they start their first day. Here are nine social skills kids need before preschool to help you prepare them for their best school days ahead.
- Introducing Themselves-Sometimes kids can be shy but it’s good for them to be able to introduce themselves. To make things easier, teach them to start with a smile and then introduce themselves. Starting with a smile shows others that they are friendly and fun to be around. Explain to them that they may have to introduce themselves several times because it will take time for everyone in their class to learn each other’s names.
- Asking for help-It is important that your child is comfortable asking for help. If they are nervous, explain that sometimes asking for help in a group is much better because there are a lot of other people to help you. Give them an example where they may need to, like needing help picking up the Legos at clean up time.
- Following Instructions-This is a big one. It is important for your child to be able to follow instructions. In the weeks before preschool, start giving them 3 step instructions to follow and see how they do. For example, to clean your room: Make your bed, Pick up the toys off the floor, Put your dirty clothes in the basket.
- Disagreeing Appropriately-It’s bound to happen, there will be disagreements at preschool. Teach your child to respect other people’s opinions and to agree to disagree sometimes. For example, a boy may think that girls can only play with dolls, ponies, and stuffed animals while your girl thinks that she can play with whatever toys she wants, regardless of gender stereotype. Teach your child to calmly state their opinion instead of getting into a he said/she said, I’m right/you’re wrong screaming match. Your teacher will thank you.
- Accepting ‘No’ for an answer-This is very, very important. There will be many times when your child will want to do something or try to do something and hear the word ‘no’. Sometimes they will want to get out a new playing center when there isn’t enough time before transitioning. Sometimes they will follow another student in doing something they shouldn’t just to test the waters. It happens. Teaching your child to accept the word ‘no’ will lead to a lot less headaches later.
Other Social Skills Needed
- Showing Appreciation-Teach your child to say “Thank you” when a classmate does something for them.
- Making An Apology-Teach your child how to make a heartfelt, genuine apology. This will go a long way in the classroom when a wrong has been done.
- Controlling Emotions-Children need to learn how to control their emotions in stressful situations. Teach them techniques to calm down before they lash out in their emotions. Everyone has a right to how they feel but blowing up at a teacher or classmate can lead to much bigger problems. This is one of the biggest sticky situations I’ve come across because it is hard to handle a child who is emotionally out of control.
- Accepting Consequences or Criticism-When your child gets in trouble at home, make sure they have consequences. They will need to learn this in order to prepare for school. Each school has different consequences for bad behavior and your child will have to deal with these consequences. Also, they need to learn to accept criticism when it comes their way. And it will. Kids can be really mean sometimes. Explain to your child what criticism is and teach them ways to cope and understand it. Always start off your day with a positive affirmation. This is another big sticky situation because when children don’t have consistent consequences at school and at home they think they can act however they want.
How to Handle Classroom Transition
Sticky situations also include classroom transition. Your child has grown so fast and is ready to move up to the next classroom. As a parent you may be wondering how to handle classroom transition. As excited as you may be that your child is on their way to becoming a big kid, they may not be. There is a possibility that they may be scared or apprehensive about new teachers and new classmates. On the other hand, if they are moving up with one or two of their friends, they may be excited. Either way, here are some ways to make the transition easier.
- Talk to your child about the transition-Sit down and talk to your child about their transition to the next classroom. Ask them questions to gauge how they are feeling. If they are feeling anxious, reassure them that things will be okay. If they have questions you can’t answer, ask at the center and get answers for them.
- Talk to other parents who have children in the next classroom-Other parents should be able to inform you about what the teachers are like and what to expect.
- Take your child to visit their room and meet their teachers-When you pick your child up, take them to their next room and introduce your child to their new teachers. This way you will make a connection before they move up.
- Read a book about the first day of school-Read a book with your child about the first day of school like Little Critter’s First Day Of School or Amelia Bedelia’s First Day Of School. This will help your child recognize that everyone has to go through a change at school at some point. Even though, it won’t be your child’s first day at school, it will be their first day in a new classroom environment.
- Be assured they will transition during the day-In the daycare I worked at, many of the kids that were about to transition would take turns spending part of the day in their new classroom. This made things easier when the time came because they already knew their new teachers and classmates. It wasn’t always a perfect transition but it did help.
How Long Should I Stay at Drop Off Time?
A lot of new daycare parents wonder, how long should I stay at drop off time? These are sticky situations for both parents and teachers. Mornings can be very hectic as you round up all your children for school. Chances are, you may either drop off your older children first, they get picked up from home, or they get picked up at day care. Although it seems like you’re always in a hurry, sometimes you just want to pause and hang out in your little one’s classroom for a few minutes. As a teacher, I get it. They are only little for so long and time goes by so fast.
You feel like you miss out on the important stuff and you just want to observe for a few minutes. In my experience, staying a few minutes is okay but staying for an excessive amount of time can be a problem. From what I have observed, the best way is to drop them off in their room, talk briefly to their teacher if need be, and then head right on to work. As hard as this can be, this is the easiest way to handle drop off time.
Although your child may be crying or upset, they usually calm down within a matter of minutes. Some will cuddle with their teachers while others will go play with their friends. It is also easier for you as a parent when you are in a hurry and have to get to work.
The Effects Of A Longer Drop Off
Here are some reasons why sticky situations include a longer drop off.
- When you extend your drop off it not only affects your child, it affects the entire classroom.
- Morning is a time of transition and it’s the teacher’s job to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
- Some children may get upset because their parent isn’t there.
- Children can distracted from doing what they are supposed to be doing, like picking up toys.
- Your child may suddenly feel like they don’t have to listen because you are there.
- It is harder for you to leave because your child will want to go with you.
Most parents stay long enough to greet their child’s teacher, give their child a hug and kiss, and watch them run off to play with their classmates or be close to their teachers. Staying longer at drop off time truly throws everyone’s day off-teacher, child and parent. It’s not personal, teachers just have a lot to handle in the morning. Dropping off and heading onto work is the easiest solution for everyone.
Why Does My Child Bite?
A third sticky situation is biting. Many parents are shocked to hear that their child bites. Some children bite others and some bite themselves. This can be very disconcerting for parents who don’t understand why this is happening. Does this mean their child is bad? Actually, biting that happens during a young age is pretty normal. Still, parents may wonder, why does my child bite? There are actually many reasons.
- Having Trouble Coping-Sometimes children will bite if they are feeling overwhelmed. If they feel cornered or fearful, they may bite. Sometimes if they are angry or frustrated they will bite. In my experience, fighting over a toy has led to biting as well as a child being cornered by several of his classmates.
- Fighting-If two children are fighting between themselves, a bite is sometimes likely to occur. One child is angry about something and another child may feel as if they are going to be hurt, so they bite.
- They Have Been Bit by Someone-Children learn from each other. If a child has been bit by a classmate, it is possible that they will go and bite someone else. You also have sticky situation when a child will just go around biting for no reason.
Other Reasons For Biting Behavior
- Over-stimulation-Children will bite out of over-stimulation, they just get so wound up they will bite. Sometimes children will bite just to get an emotional reaction or to get attention. Other times children bite out of a misplaced sign of love. They don’t understand that biting is a wrong way to show affection.
- A New Baby-Having a new baby in the house is always exciting. Still, it is important to give your other child the same attention. Many times children will act out, bite or start having accidents when they feel left out.
- A New Home-Children need to feel secure in their surroundings and moving into a new home is unsettling and scary for some children. In order to cope, they may start doing some things that are out of the ordinary for them, including having accidents, separation anxiety or biting.
There are many possible answers to the question, why does my child bite? It is important to keep in mind that children don’t want to go around hurting others. They would much rather spend their days playing with friends, doing fun projects, and playing outside. However, sometimes they feel they have to defend themselves in their surroundings. Other times it is not out of self defense, but just something to do for reasons not understood. It is important for parents of both biters and non-biters alike to understand that this is rather common in daycares and play groups. It will not last forever.
One more thing to remember in this sticky situation is not to freak out. Biting is common in daycare and both parties need to stay calm. The daycare teacher legally cannot tell you which child bit which can make this an even stickier situation. Therefore, you, the teacher, and possibly the director will have to come up with a plan.
Although these situations can be difficult, there are ways to make things go smoother. There are many ways you can help your child through these situations. No worries, you’ve got this.