Bringing up grievances with daycare providers or teachers

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    Karen Lock KolpKaren Lock Kolp
    Keymaster

    If you’re struggling with something you feel your childcare provider or teacher has done wrong, the following video will help you understand how to proceed.

    It’s recorded in response to a question from member Mama Llama, whose 3-year-old had his first potty accident in more than a week and his childcare provider called him “a baby” because he had a potty accident.

    I’m sharing it here because, whether the problem you’re having has to do with potty training or something else, it provides a roadmap to handling complaints:

    1) Talk about the issue at home with your child, responding to questions he or she brings up.
    Make your responses short, sweet, and relentlessly positive.
    Ask your child questions and really listen to the answers.
    Leave the conversation on a positive note, emphasizing a way in which your child is overcoming this problem, or becoming “such a big kid!”

    2) Talk about the issue with the child care provider in question. Pull them aside and share how upset the incident or comment made your child. Say “we use positive reinforcement, and we need you to do the same here.”

    3) If you get a response you do not love, meet with the teacher’s supervisor, sharing about your conversation with the teacher, how upset or confused your child is because of the teacher’s comments, and how disappointed you were with the teacher’s response.
    Make sure the director understands how much this means to you based on your child’s questions and behavior around the issue.

    Ask “how can we work together to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”

    Okay! Here’s the video, with the initial comments I shared for Mama Llama just below:

    1) At home:
    Continue with the positive reinforcement.
    Help him understand that he is not a baby, including inviting him to join you in listing all of the things that he can do, that a baby cannot.
    Talk about it with him as often as he needs to, letting him bring it up.

    2) At school:
    Take the teacher aside and tell her how upset Little Llama has been, and how confusing it’s been for him to be called a baby.
    Share that, from here on out, you’d prefer it if they use ONLY positive reinforcement: “it’s been a whole week since your last accident! Don’t worry about this accident. Next time, can you remember to get to the potty?”

    If you get a response you do not love – either defensiveness, or excuses – I recommend asking for a meeting with the director.
    Bring up exactly the same things, how upset Little Llama has been, how focusing on the negative doesn’t have good results for him, and how this teacher needs to understand about using positive reinforcement, and that you’re bringing it up because you’re concerned she does not in fact understand that.

    Host of the We Turned Out Okay podcast
    Author of Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child
    Head Honcho of the Ninja Parenting Community

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