Discipline Problem

Does this look like the face of a "discipline problem?"

I've started to dread picking up my daughter from Kindercare after work each day. I've now signed so many Incident/Accident Reports that I'm not even bothering to keep the copy they give me anymore. If it's not an incident involving another child, it's an accident attributable to A's clumsiness. Last week, she somehow got a carpet burn on her forehead.

I'm starting to wonder if I made a mistake in moving her from an in-home daycare to a commercial center. We had two reasons for switching her. One, her old daycare was 20 minutes away and once gas went to $732 a gallon, we decided it would be best to move her to a more convenient location. Two, we had no one to take care of her when her old daycare provider took a vacation. With a commercial center, it is generally open on a daily basis. In addition, I liked the idea of A getting used to a more structured environment, where math and phonics are taught.

At her old daycare, they liked her. I mean, I think they truly, legitimately dug her. Or, at least that's how it seemed to me. Her daycare teacher's mother-in-law was often at the house and she actually shed a tear when she found out I was moving A to a different daycare. She joked about suing me for visitation. The kid is likable, what can I say. I'm pretty sure some of my friends actually like her better than they like me.

At the new joint, though, she's just another unruly pre-schooler. Each day I get the same report: she didn't listen today. So, I take her home and give her a little lecture about wearing her "listening ears." Then yesterday, she was SENT TO THE OFFICE. I wasn't expecting that for a few years.

Today, sent to the office. Tomorrow, a stint in juvie. "No, I'm sorry, your Honor. I didn't have my listening ears on."

Yesterday, she was sent to the office because, during nap time, she sang loudly and threw stuff. The staff can't get her to go to sleep (neither can I, so that's not at all surprising), so they ask her to be quiet while the other kids are snoozing. She can't, apparently. And it's not like she can lay on her nap cot and read a Nancy Drew novel. She flips through a picture book and then tosses it over her shoulder. Or maybe she scrawls one of her bodyless people on a piece of construction paper, and then she's done. Not much holds your attention for long when you're three.

I guess it just bugs me to think that they see my child as a brat. She's headstrong, for sure. I told her that she needs to be respectful to Miss Angela and she said, "But I'm mad to her." It goes without saying that my daughter is the brightest, most talented child in the class, but how to explain to the teachers and administrators that my superlative genius child couldn't possibly be a "discipline problem?" I mean, please.


Mary said…
Oh the world of day cares.... first thing I said when I found out my daughter was pregnant is your kid is not going into daycare. That may seem unfair to say, I know there are a lot of people who have NO choice, I really understand that and don't think daycare itself is evil. The hard part is every child in a certain age group has to conform to what is supposedly the norm for that age. My Luke would have had a verrrrry rough time if for no other reason in the one year old room they have to wait to eat their lunch and nap much later than he could handle. Doesn't seem like much but tell that to the kid falling asleep in their food or is so crabby because they are so hungry and tired. Some have a harder time being so structured. Some also are not nappers by a certain age like we would like them to be, I'm thinking that is your A, if they can't rest after a certain amt. of time they should be able to have an alternate activity. Having worked 4 daycares in a matter of a month (by choice;) I have found many differences in them and there are some out there that are a bit more flexible. I will say though that daycares (when you find a good one!) do offer some nice ways of learning and offer some socializing which never hurt a kid. I bring Luke to my old one just to go play with a kid once in a while! Well I do hope A makes it through the rest of the week without a report....;) Possibly there's someone closer to you that could sit on the kid?? ;) You probably thought of that already!
Susie said…
I don't know about you, but I'm thinking it's going to be a long 7 months until this 3 year old stuff is behind us for good. Well, not for me--I have the joy of dealing with the hardest year ever again in oh, say, 2 years. Where did that really high bridge go--I might want to jump before then. I actually got the "Matthew didn't listen today, even to Miss Marsha" today. I almost left him at daycare for fear it would be a horrible evening. He, too, is the brightest, most talented kid in his class (of course!) and they really do love him, but wow--he can be quite the stinker! I think our two will get along just fine. Or else kill each other . . .
Anonymous said…
Hang in there! I think I have a pretty well behaved 15 year old (who is always on the honor roll) and yesterday he got sent to the office for saying 'Nathan's hot dogs!' loudly while in a converstation about hot dog eating contests. Nothing like getting a call at work over that!! I think the tolerance level these days for kids is absolutely zero.

Anonymous said…
See my kid is the complete opposite, perfect angel at school and then devil child at home.... there's no winning in this 3 year old stuff. I know that at O's school the kids who don't nap go to the office to hang out until everyone is awake and ready to go. My kid naps at school but not at home......it's a no win situation. And I don't have a good taste in my mouth about Kindercare, the one Owen orignally went to, not so good, and then when we told them he was leaving, they tried to point out everything he was doing that they considered was "bad" got to the Goddard School, they adore him and he adores them, never had an incident report......
Anonymous said…
Is there a Montessori preschool nearby? If so, you may want to tour that. It may challenge A more than the regular preschool. I don't doubt that she is ready for more complex concepts than most three year-old children. A plus is that Montessori is child-led; if the kids are enjoying a particular activity, it goes on. If they are ready for something else, then that is what happens. And know how kids love to help at this age? At Montessori, kids are scrubbing the floor, using squeegies (sp?) to wash windows and polishing plant leaves-- all while loving it. It's crazy!
Alabaster Mom said…
Thank you to those who commented about this post. I did look into some other options before enrolling my daughter at Kindercare. We do not have Goddard schools in our area (note to Owen's mommy: I looked into this a few months ago, when you mentioned how happy you were with it). There is a Montessori school on the other side of town, so we'd be back in the same boat we were in before - if we wanted to burn the gas to drive that far, we'd probably just try to move her back to where she started. I may look into the Montessori opportunities further, however. I don't know a lot about it. I am not planning to move her back to an in-home daycare, because we have no family here and have no one to take care of her when the daycare is closed. And finally, the strictly Christian centers are out of the running, because we are Unitarian Universalists and it's important to me that she have the opportunity to learn about many faiths, not just one.

The other issue is that we are already paying through the nose for daycare. We literally cannot afford to spend one more penny than what we are already paying; I wish I were exaggerating. We plan to enroll her in 4K next fall, and though we will probably need to pay for before and/or after-school care, our costs should still be lower than they are now. But, for now, I am keeping her where she is while I continue to weigh other options. I had no idea that childcare was so problematic!
Anonymous said…
S is in the 3 year prek at the YWCA and she loves it. And I know that their daycare is also well run and affordable. As you know, being UU puts a lot of daycares/preschools out of the running. Both my sister and I worked for KinderCare in college and really didn't leave with a good impression of it. S loves her preschool right now, though. And they offer the "wrap around" day care. S is actually the only student who isn't in the daycare. I just drop/pick her up. We are planning on doing the 4K as well at Aldo Leopold. The YWCA is also a 4K site and has the "wrap around" care as well. Just a suggestion!

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