Discipline at Day Care

Discussing Rules and Discipline with your Child Care Provider

In today’s modern world many families are comprised of two working parents or a single parent. Even if there is a stay at home parent, there are often times when parents need child care, even if it is on a part-time basis. When such needs arise it is important to understand the best way to discuss rules and discipline with your chosen child care provider. While it would be hoped that the course will always be smooth and your child will not experience any disciplinary needs, it is always best to be prepared in advance. Parents should never make assumptions regarding discipline and realize that child care providers and even other family members may have different disciplinary styles. Discussing the subject early on will help parents to arrive at a child care decision that is right for their family and avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

One of the first questions you should ask when choosing a new child care facility is in regards to their discipline policy. If your child is in day care full-time, it should be recognized that your child will spend a significant amount of time responding to the standards of the child care provider. Many parents often find it a challenge to express their views regarding the management of typical disciplinary issues. Parents that communicate in a judgmental or abrupt manner may cause the provider to feel as though they are not trusted. This can certainly affect any future interactions. Yet, at the same time, it is a topic that must be discussed. The best way to do so is in an honest and caring manner. This will help to set the stage and ensure future interactions are positive as well.

Setting aside some time to talk to your child care provider in advance is a great strategy for working together to arrive at a discipline plan that is suitable for your child. If your child has any particular temperament issues, make it a point to speak to the child care provider about those special needs in advance. Discuss successful strategies you use at home to help with your child’s behavior.

If your child is attending a licensed day care center you will likely find the center already has a discipline policy in place and will be happy to share that with you upon your initial visit. Take the time to carefully read through this policy and ask questions about any areas that are not clear. Each state has its own particular guidelines regarding what is allowed and what is not allowed when disciplining a child. Parents may find it helpful to contact their local child care licensing authority to find out specific rules that apply to their local area.

A quality day care facility should consider three factors in assisting children to behave. First, rules should be reasonable and clearly understood. Second, when rules are broken they should be reasonably dealt with. Third, it is important for all staff to act as good role models.

Due to the fact that children in day care are typically quite young, many centers use three very easy rules to help children understand what is expected of them. First, children are not allowed to hurt themselves. Second, they are not allowed to physically or emotionally hurt others. Third, children are not allowed to hurt things such as furniture, toys, etc.

Although the rules and regulations regarding discipline can vary from one area to another, there are some basic rules regarding discipline that are widely accepted for child care centers. Providers are not allowed to use harsh, cruel or unusual punishment. Discipline should not include any negative remarks, profanity or verbal abuse. Under no circumstances should discipline humiliate, frighten or shame a child. Discipline should not involve any form of striking, hitting, spanking, pinching or biting. Children should never be confined in any type of enclosed area. Nor should discipline prevent a child from using the toilet, sleeping or eating. Finally, children should not be allowed to discipline any other children.

Talking regularly with your child about their care can help to quickly uncover potential problems. If you have a concern about the discipline that is being utilized, do not hesitate to speak to your child care provider. If the response you receive is not satisfactory, make it a point to closely monitor the situation. Speak to other parents. Ultimately, it is up to you as your child’s parent to make certain they are safe.


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