A youngster attending preschool may come home with more than new phonics skills and nursery rhymes. If your little one is learning negative behaviors at preschool, take preemptive steps to counteract this undesired behavior. Children are impressionable, so if your preschooler sees other kids misbehaving, it is common for her to learn from these negative examples. Your firm and loving guidance should redirect your little one toward more positive behavior.
Call out the undesired behaviors whenever you see your child engage in an action or behavior you consider unacceptable. By highlighting misbehavior, you teach your child your house rules to enable him to conduct himself within your limits. Children need clear communication of rules to abide by them, states the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website.
Talk about any issues that have been occurring in preschool so you can understand what your child might be seeing or experiencing at school. For example, if one child behaves aggressively, your little one might be witnessing or experiencing hurtful behavior that she’s never seen before. Ask your child for details, such as whether teachers intervene to correct the behavior. Help your child understand the negative results of this type of misbehavior by saying, “It’s not nice when James takes toys from other kids, is it? Does he do that to you sometimes? We need to remember how it feels when someone isn’t nice to help us treat others nicely.”
Teach your child how to express anger and frustration appropriately. Appropriate expression of anger involves naming feelings, gauging the level of emotion and using words instead of actions, according to psychologist Marian Marion, with the Earlychildhood News website. When you see your child becoming angry, you might say, “It looks like you might be feeling frustrated because you don’t want to clean up toys. It can be frustrating when we have to do things we don’t want to do, but I think we can deal with this. Will you use words to tell me how you’re feeling instead of throwing toys, please?”
Maintain consistency within your home to uphold your house rules, advises psychologist Susan Campbell, in an interview with the Scholastic website. Consistency helps a child know your expectations, which enables her to adjust her behavior accordingly. Over time, consistent expectations and limits will help your child develop self-control over negative impulses.
Speak with your child’s preschool administrators if you continue to see behavior that concerns you or if you hear disturbing information from your child. Aggression that does not respond to your corrective measures could be a result of an ongoing negative situation at preschool. It's also possible that your child might need an evaluation by professionals to explore other issues that could be affecting his behavior at home.