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  1. #1

    Please help! Tantrums all day long...

    I'm feeling very frustrated with a new child in my daycare and could use some tips and suggestions. She is almost 3, and this is only her second week with us. It is not her first daycare, and apparently it took only a few days last time for her to get used to the routine.
    She has been having tantrums pretty much all day long, every time I try to get her to follow our schedule. She won't sit at the table with the other kids for meals, refuses to walk with us to the park (very frustrating after the long winter!) and kicks and screams if I try to put her in the stroller. She has also been refusing to even stay on the upper floor for nap time, which is where I have the playpens and beds set up. I have tried giving her a separate space and mattress on her parents' request (not easy to do in my space, but I am willing to try to accommodate) and she is screaming and kicking so loud that the other children are being woken after only 15-20 min of nap.
    I can deal with the upsets during the rest of the day, but the others need their naps (desperately, in some cases) and I have tried everything (stories, songs,quiet activities instead) but she will not calm down even enough to let the others nap. Her mom says she naps for 2 hours at home and never has any problem sleeping. Also, I should mention that she doesn't speak or understand any English.... so explaining things to her is out. Any suggestions for things I may not have tried yet, or ways to talk to the parents about the situation? I have tried to explain how bad the tantrums are, but I think they just assume I should be able to handle it and it is all part of her transition. How long do children of this age usually take to transition?

  2. #2
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    That sounds frustrating, for you and her. I imagine I'd go crazy being led around when I don't understand what the people leading me are saying.

    It might help you to ask mom for a few key phrases in her language (lunch, craft, nap) to help her get it. Try to use her phrases, paired with English, but not use a lot of extra words. For example, say "[word], lunch" and lead her to her chair. Also if she's in her seat rather than tantrumming, she should have a better view if her peer models to watch them.

    Do the same for nap, and maybe try putting her down before the other kids, so if she decides to scream her little heart out she can do it while the other kids are up. Hopefully she will eventually realize that she needs to sleep during nap time and not scream, and you can start naps at the same time again.

    As for the other tantrums, if you tell her your going to do something (transition activities, go to park) make sure you follow through, despite her protests. If she refuses to walk, strap her into the stroller and let her scream the whole way there. If she freaks when you're cleaning up an activity, clean up and move on without her, and she can join in when she's calm. Eventually she'll get it.

    I'd communicate it with mom. Tell her what you are going to try and why (tantrumming has become too disruptive). Hopefully she'll see that if its bad enough that you've had to come up with a plan, it's not just transition issues, and you shouldn't just be able to deal with it. I don't think it's unheard of for children to take up to 2 weeks to get into the swing of things, but I think the language thing is a barrier, and beyond that, you can't be expected to cater to her every whim for 2 weeks. If you do you can watch it go from 2 weeks to 3, to 4...

  3. #3
    Euphoric !
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    What about a visual calendar with pictures of the routine? Just get some images from clip art and put them down the side and have her put a sticker next to it when you are doing the next activity to help her transition, understand what is next. It sounds like building a relationship with this girl would be important and she not only doesn't know you but doesn't understand what you are saying making things extra scary.

    I would worry that you don't want to get into a habit of catering to her though because of the behaviour or you may be dealing with this forever.

  4. #4
    Euphoric !
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    Did you ask the parents why the last daycares didn't work out? Are the parents willing to help you with behavioural changes, discipline and rules so that they are consistent at daycare and at home so the child learns that she is NOT in charge and CANNOT refuse to do things or kick and scream and have tantrums. None of that is acceptable. None.

    Whenever I have a parent ask for an interview to change daycares I want to know WHY.
    Frederick Douglass
    It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

  5. #5
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    I've taught English to children and find using picture cards can be effective to help with transitions- I"m sure you can download and print them out and before lunch and outings, show her a picture so that she's aware of what's happening next,,, I know it can be difficult- I wish you all the best! Good luck!

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