I drop in on a child care providers discussion forum from time to time and make comments/suggestions if I feel I can be of help (or just want to join in on a rant!!). Recently, I read a post about a child who was deliberately damaging day care property, everything from toys, to day care furniture and including personal items belonging to the provider. The parents laugh it off, ask the child to say an empty ‘I’m sorry’ and offer no discussion nor action for remedy. The provider is pretty distraught at this point. To date the child has deliberately destroyed over $200 worth of items. Unfortunately, dealing with difficult behavior can be a staple of day care life and can lead to some unpleasant situations.
Sometimes challenging behaviors can be an unavoidable aspect of running a day care. A firm and consistent approach is vital in dealing with same regardless what the reasons for the behavior. ‘Meet the parents’ is a must when it is clear that a child is consistently destructive, aggressive and disruptive. Parent and provider working together is key to dealing with challenging behavior successfully.
Discovering root causes and triggers for the behavior through discussion can help all involved better understand the child and his actions both at home and at day care. A mutual behavior plan should be agreed whereby all parties are cooperating and on the same page. It is vital that consistent and constructive handling of the child be carried out by both parents and provider.
Use your behavior policy (you do have one right??) as an outline for formulating an individual plan. Ensure that you put in place a time frame for implementation and a deadline for reevaluation. It is helpful also to include in your parent handbook/contract details of situations where parents will be expected to cough up for ‘over the top’ damages caused by their child.
Also, consider inserting the ‘I’ve had enough’ clause when, due to lack of parental cooperation and/or insurmountable behavior issues you will withdraw your service. Requesting professional help may sometimes be necessary and does not indicate failure on the part of either party- sometimes it is the only, constructive way forward.