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Playmate concerns at Day Care

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Playmate concerns at Day Care

    So, DS has just moved up to the preschool rooms at day care...and there is one boy in the room who is unsavory...teaching the other kids inappropriate words, turning every toy into a gun, initiating fighting...all the stuff that in my perfect little world DS would never participate in.

    I get that part of it is being a little boy/child. And I don't necessarily have a problem with imagination play (cowboy and robbers etc.), but we've noticed DS's play is becoming more realistic in his comments (I shoot you and kill you). When we ask where he gets these ideas/play from the same boy from preschool is mentioned. We talk about how that's not appripriate/nice play and reasons why. And DS get's it, but he is still gravitating to playing with this boy. 

    We've already made it clear that we don't encourage the play fighting with and have asked the teachers to tell us if DS participates so we can correct at home. And they have noted a decrease in DS participating when the other kids start. But now it's evlolving into areas that are much less favorable.  We're trying to work with DS at home to encourage other behavior (and he is very sweet and tender with his little sister).
    How far should one go with the day care to try and get them to curb this play at school? CT.DC-how much can we really expect from day care to address this?
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    One of the reasons I love my daycare provider is that I can talk to her about anything that concerns me, even the little (crazy) things, and she always says "If it's important to you, it's important to me."

    On a personal level, your daycare provider should be aware of your concerns, and work with you to address them.  On a professional level, they should be creating a safe, smart environment for appropriate play.

    As the mother of a boy, I get their style of rough and tumble play. Still, if this boy is dominating the classroom, leading inapprpriate play, and affecting other children in a negative way, it should be addressed.

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from winter09wedding. Show winter09wedding's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    Kam- my experience with daycare has been that issues are not really issues, until someone (a parent) labels them that way.  I would just keep bringing it up- "last night, DS said something concerning, did he hear that here?" things like that.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    We've already made it clear that we don't encourage the play fighting with and have asked the teachers to tell us if DS participates so we can correct at home

    You are asking the teachers to remove your child from group play.  Is it that bad, or are your views on play fighting so absolute, that you want your child singled out like that?  If the play is really out of hand, the teachers should be ending it or getting it toned down for everyone--go chase pretend space aliens and not pretend to chop Bobby's head off, etc.  If it's not that bad, you may have to meet halfway and put up with it in small doses.
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    I remember well that, "I'll shoot you, I'll kill you," as part of play was absolutely not tolerated when I was a child.  BUT, I was exposed to it, too.  I hate to say it, but the burden is on YOU to teach your child not to repeat those things he learns from that child or from anyone else.  Your child will be exposed to INFINITE things from TV, movies, other kids, adults in the supermarket, wherever, whatever that you won't want him to immitate, and it's 100% up to you to make sure he understands that your rules are the same as everyone else's.  Yes, that kid makes it harder, but that's life, frankly, stuff you don't approve of is out there for him to observe everyday, everywhere - if not that little boy, another...for the rest of his life.
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    I think you will have better luck with day care if you can be very specific.
    Like, "Roberto was using the word "quackers" at home and he said he heard it at school.  What are your policies on students saying "quackers"?  Can we make a rule so that Roberto and the other kids will not say this word, and what will happen if they do?"
    It's hard to be general about play fighting and violence, because it's pretty inevitable.  And putting a full ban will probably make it more enticing, unfortunately.  So you might want to think of very specific things that cross the line for you.  Like specific words, or saying you'll kill somebody, et cetera.
    I don't know where "the line" is and it's different for every parent... but marking it out might help clarify.  And I'm sympathetic to your more general issue, dealing with playmates whose families have different lines!
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    Every family has different lines.  This fact makes it far harder on the ones with more stringent rules than others because if it weren't the case, no child would ever learn anything from their peers that their parents don't approve of - everyone would be on the same page.  This, of course, isn't the case at all.  The better a parent is the harder it is because the more your child will come home having learned something that you'll have to teach him is unacceptable.  It's a bummer, but that's how it is when you have higher standards than others. 

    Talking to the daycare is putting your finger in the dam.  One hole plugged, another you can't reach will pop open.  Instead of putting all 20 fingers and toes in the dam (and expecting the daycare to do the same), teach your child how to deal with peers who don't share your view of what's acceptable to say and do.  

    The earlier the better - it's not going to stop happening; your child has to lean the lesson that just because little Johnny can say and do those things doesn't mean HE can.  Yes, it's a tough one, but there it is.
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    I agree that it's our responsibility as parents to teach our children when to stand up and walk away and what's right and what's wrong. And I know kids are exposed to all sorts of unfavorable things. I still dream of a perfect world were all kids are loved, have enough to be fed and just like to build cars/building/spaceships with legos.

    Just wondering how other's have tried to work with their day cares to approach the root of the problems. Since DS spends 8 hours a day there it's truly a partnership we need to have with them.

    Again we talked with DS about his behavior and what to do when this boy starts to act this way. We also talked about some of his other friends and stuff he likes to do with them and got all excited about doing those things. But he's 3, his impulse control is age appropriate and it's hard for this age group to not get caught up in the moment.

    I had another conversation with day care and expressed that we wanted to know when DS participated in this behavior. Since we do not tolerate it. They do claim they redirect the kids when they start this.  This problem doesn't seem to be in the other day care/preschool rooms from our discussions with other parents. It might be time to raise the concerns up to the director.

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    I have a strong suspician they are giving you a line, that they do not stop play when that boy does anything that doesn't actually hurt the other children.  Like you say, you have a dream that everyone wants the best for their kids and don't allow such talk, but they don't, and daycares can't change that.  Maybe other parents who aren't reporting any trouble don't see the same things as a problem and therefore don't even recognize that it's happening.  If that play doesn't offend them they aren't going to even notice it and will rightly, in their minds, tell you it doesn't happen at their daycares. 

    You're in the minority, as were my parents, and I think it's GREAT.  But, it just means you'll be fighting this battle often and hard, and your best defense is to teach him how to respond.

    ETA:  My mom used to ask the other mothers if "kid's movies" they'd seen before us were truly appropriate for kids.  They ALWAYS said YES.  She learned really quick not to find out THAT way that other moms didn't have a problem with (and therefore honestly didn't notice) things that made her blood boil when we went to see them and she left furious.  Everyone WILL tell you the truth about their daycares and this issue as they see it, but it won't mean squat because everyone's tolerance is different, and no one notices what doesn't bother them.

    I guess I'm saying you can go to the director, change daycares, etc., but the fact is your standards are higher than many others', and daycares aren't going to stop anything that they see as harmless and inevitable no matter what they tell you they're doing to make you happier.  Chances are they've already warned the director you're probably going to come in so she'll be nice and ready to be "accomodating" of your concern.
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Redsoxfan76. Show Redsoxfan76's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care


    While I don't have specific experience in this arena (I have a DD and she is still young enough that she is into more parallel play then playing with others), from reading your letter I would say you are perfectly within your rights as a mom to go to the director and voice your concerns. This is what I read - you saw an issue, talked to the teachers in his room. They told you that he does not participate as much in this form of play anymore. However, in your 2nd conversation they told you that they redirect this type of play. Seems to sort of contradict the first conversation you had where they basically said when it happens your boy doesn't engage..?
    I love my daycare, and all the teachers really seem to care for my little girl. However, I have been frustrated in the past because I sometimes feel as though they are not communicating with each other and perhaps approach situations differently. While it is fine to parent differently, I am in the camp that teachers in the same daycare should share similar care philosophies/approaches, based on how the director runs the center. So maybe one teacher thinks this form of play is 'boys will be boys' and another (the one redirecting) does not.  And maybe they have not talked to each other regarding your concerns so they do not all realize this is not something you tolerate at home. Teachers should be willing to work with you and follow your lead as to how you want your child raised. Talk to the director and she should be able to communicate your message/needs to all of her teachers that interact with your son.

    I agree w/Kar that it is ultimately up to us to raise our own kids, of course. But when you have kids in daycare for a full day as many families do in this day and age, you have to be comfortable with who you choose and they should be willing to help you as an extension of your parently style in their care.

    Good luck and keep us posted as to how it turns out!
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    hmmm...  guess I should chime in, as a center director, and a former preschool teacher who had MANY children playing with imaginary guns....  i was a teacher during the teenage mutant ninja turtles craze, so my 3 and 4 yr olds used to walk up to each other, 'fake' punch and kick each other and yell kowabunga!  of course, since they were 3 and 4 yrs old, they didn't quite always stand far enough away from each other so the 'fake' punch/kick would actually hit the mark.... crying ensued...  I HATED THOSE TURTLES!  and then there were the earth! wind! fire! superheros...  somehow all of that superhero play devolved into hitting, kicking, crying....  sigh.  I'm having flashbacks.

    So, yes, I would go to the director and explain that you are worried that your son is hearing really violent things said by some other children in his class, and not only saying violent things, but playing violently.  And that you are concerned, because you don't want your son to be playing this way, so how is this type of play handled at your center?  is it ignored so that (hopefully) it decreases?  is it more directly handled in that a limit is stated and children are redirected "You may not hit or hurt your friends.  You may run and chase, but not hit, kick or hurt."  or "You may not say I will kill you. that is mean, and it is not the way we play here."  Or are the teachers basically at a loss because it is a new behavior in this classroom because of one child bringing it in? And they are trying a few different techniques?

    Because sometimes when teachers put LOTS of attention on something it continues, while if we ignore something it decreases and extinguishes.  Ignoring is usually my 1st method of handling swearing by young children, for example, because if you don't give any attention, a child won't repeat it.  If you give attention "oh, no johhny, you can't use that word, it's bad, no!" then they will repeat for attention....  BUT some children increase the use of the swear word if they are ignored, almost like they sense it's bad and wrong and are trying to figure out when the limit will be set.  So when ignoring doesn't extinguish, I go to the "no! you may not say that word." technique and hope that stops it.  (or the child will spend lots of time away from playmates until he/she can use nice words)

    but with children, and, yes, very often with boys, "violent" play is often done because it's exciting play and very physical play, and boys love that.  Watch them in the block area - they use their whole bodies, building up high, wide, building a big thing (spaceship, batman's car, batman's cave, etc.).  Girls will bring in all the play animals and make farms and zoos for their animals....  all while sitting nicely, they use quieter voices and there will be less clattering and shouting from the block area, etc.

    Whether from nature or nurture, boys and girls play differently, and are drawn to different types of play.  I find it's hard to extinguish the active violent, gun, shoot em up play because it's so darned EXCITING and physical to boys (and some girls.)  BUT what you CAN do is have a rule "We don't pretend to kill here.  You may run hard and chase, but not grab your friends."  So what you are doing is allowing the physicality but not the violence.  Also, a teacher probably will need to be very close to the kids when they are playing so she can redirect immediately when she hears the play starting. 

    At this age, boys and girls are trying to figure out authority and power and this type of play seems to happen often in the 3-5 yr old age group as they are trying to play out issues of power, wanting to pretend they are big and powerful while they in real life are smaller and have less power, etc.  Listen to girls playing with their dolls, setting limits and 'disciplining' them - 3 and 4 yr old girls will put their dolls in timeout for the slightest of infractions, YELL at them unmercifully, and be just really strict! They aren't mimicing their parent because no parent is this strict, but they are playing with issues of power, rule setting and rule breaking, in a play way vs acting out in real life.

    I can't tell you how many times a child would be making a gun with legos or other manipulatives, they'd "shoot" with it, I'd say, remember, we don't use guns in our classroom and he'd say it's not a gun, it's a drill and then proceed to use it like a drill... for a minute, then it would be back to shooting and saying pew, pew! And I sometimes felt like I was encouraging children to lie to me about the "it's not a gun, it's a drill" when teaching them to lie to get around the adult wasn't my intention at all. 

    If I were teaching now, I'm not sure I'd fight the gun play as hard as I did back then... unless I was teaching in a place where guns were outside the doors, in the children's lives all the time, then i'd create a "safe place" in our classroom. But for the majority of children in the suburbs, they are safe, they don't view guns as being unsafe becuse they really don't know what they do, and they don't feel unsafe when playing guns and shooting.  they are simply playing out feelings of power and lack of power.  So I would allow playing as long as they weren't building guns and using them (those are my limits) and I wouldn't buy guns for the dramatic play area. 

    So I guess you and your husband can try to figure out together what it is that bothers you, and if it's the language of hearing your 3 yr old say "I'm gonna kill you." (which would be like a knife in my heart, I'd agree) then you can have your son understand that he MAY NOT say those words.  Period.  Because they are ugly and mean sounding and can be scary to other people.  And just keep repeating it and repeating it.  But I would allow the running about, the active play, even perhaps the shooting with pretend guns they make out of their hands because it's hard to abolish that type of play.  But I wouldn't buy guns for my child to play with.  And yet, my husband had pretend guns, he liked to play with them, and he didn't end up a violent murderer - just as girls playing with Barbie didn't turn them into anorexic fashion models either, or girls obsessed with owning 5 pink cars...  chlidren know they are playing, not doing 'real life' when they are playing. 

    Oh, KAM, this is so hard!  You can see that this email goes back and forth because I go back and forth on the issue. 

    And I'm not sure that a child care center can extinguish this kind of play, nor can they do everything every parent wants.  What I do think a center can do is be very clear about their limits, about what they allow in their preschool, and how they discipline/set limits, what the rules are, then be clear and consistent.  (yes, both teachers should be clear and consistent, no matter what they personally think about it, because just as both parents should be consistent at home, both teachers need to be consistent or the kids will have mixed messages and it will take longer to extinguish a type of behavior)

    So speak with the director, find out what their philosophy is, state your concerns, see what can be done, and then you'll know.  And then you and your husband will also know how you want to act - change centers, keep telling your child at home he may not play that way, etc.  what I would NOT expect is for the teachers to make your child leave the area when others are playing 'that way' because then he's being ostracized. You could set that limit at home or when you are at the playground - "I don't like the way those boys are playing on the climber.  You can't use the climber right now, please use the sandbox" is something I think a parent can do, but is asking too much of a teacher.  the teachers set rules for their classroom and enforce them, but can't be expected to reinforce all of the parents' rules, too.   And if sometimes he plays that way at school, it won't hurt him, as long as the teachers ALSO encourage children to use all areas of the room, which naturally encourage different types of play and use. 

    NOW, of course, if this type of play is getting into real violence, they are allowed to kick and hit and push and punch each other, that should be stopped because children shouldn't be allowed to do that, even in play.  And use words that hurt (like I'm going to kill you). 

    But I will agree with kargiver, you will be parenting your child differently than the next parent does their child, and that's fine, you just can't expect everyone to agree with your way, just as you don't agree with their style.  So this is the beginning of many times when you will have different expectations for your son than other parents of sons do. 

    And by the way, this type of play increases between 3 and 5 yrs old, then decreases as the children get older and move into different stages.  So while it seems sudden, it's really a function of your son being a preschooler now vs. a toddler.  And everyone else whose children are younger, you can expect this in a year when your children are KAM's age!  Woo hoo!

  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    CT-thanks for the input.

    So last week I had to take DD to the hospital since she was sick. (she is fine.) DS definitely needed some special time after that. So the next morning the two of us went out for breakfast before school and we just talked and laughed. We talked about what his friends at school liked to play etc. it was a great time to have with DS.

    That afternoon when I picked DS up one of his teachers, a new one, came to talk. He's been in the room for almost two weeks now and has noticed the kids need to be more engaged.  A problem we've had with this preschool room, and I've talked to the teachers about repeatedly (at various times during the day when we would visit we never saw the kids in any group activity). I've even talked to the director about my concerns regarding the group activities.

    So the new teacher is really trying to engage the kids in more activities. I'm excited to see how this changes the dynamics as the kids become more engaged in activities.

    The center we go to is part of a military base, so only military families and those who work for the military can use the facility. So guns, deployments, injuries, instability (lots of moves) is a part of the life for a lot of these kids.  

    If we don't see any difference in the room dynamics over the next few weeks I will raise it up to the director. And we'll continue to talk to DS about what is appropriate and what isn't.
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Playmate concerns at Day Care

    Ah ha!  Bored kids = getting into various types of mischief.

    it's great the new teacher has noticed that the children aren't as engaged - I'm hoping that they have a full day of planned experiences - while 'free play' is a good thing to hvae during drop off and pick up, just letting the children use the room without any direction leads to children getting bored and using the toys and equipment in a less than optimum way.

    I'm hoping that the new teacher breathes new life into the classroom - make sure you on purpose go to the director and the other teachers with your positive things once you notice them. "I am so impressed with the interesting items you have added to the science area, the children are really interested in them.  DS talked about the prisms all weekend!"

    Change is hard, and sometimes the teachers who have been there for a while feel threatened when a new teacher with new ideas comes in... so he may get some pushback from the 'old guard.'  So stand up for him, even though he won't ask and be very obvious how much you think the new activities, themes, equipment, etc. are making a positive difference.  You don't need to mention that it's the new teacher, include all teachers in the praise, they'll get the point...