3 year old hitting and pushing in preschool

Elizabeth - posted on 02/09/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My 3 year old is hitting and pushing in his preschool class, but never displays this behavior at home, church, or with our friends' children. How do I address this with his teacher? She has suggested that he has a real problem and we do have consequences at home, but without seeing the behavior, I don't know if this is "boys being boys" or something more worrying. Believe me, I know he is by no means perfect, and I know that he will test boundries, but I am honestly starting to think that he is learning this from other children at school... Advice on how to address him, his teacher, his school would be greatly appreciated.

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Elizabeth - posted on 02/10/2011

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I thought everyone would like to know, I did go by his school today. I spoke with the assistant director of the preschool, we spent some time watching his class and his interaction with his fellow students. He is in a class of 11 boys and 4 girls. She was a great listener, taking my concerns very seriously. This afternoon, I went to his school earlier in the afternoon and had the best conversation with his teacher that we have ever had. While watching him on the camera today, we did not see any abnormal behaviors, and when I spoke to his teacher, she assured me that he was not displaying abnormal behavior, she was just trying to impress on me that she wants to make sure he learns early and quickly that the "rough play" is not ok, before anything becomes a problem.

For Kelly, my son is extremely verbal for his age, and he is already recognizing some letters and even words in books. His use of detailed descriptive words as he tells us about his day astonishes me daily. He has been speaking in clear concise sentences for more than a year already, so his confusion over yesterday's reported incident set off a lot of alarms.

I know that my son's teacher is very good at her job, but she is also pretty young, and I think she is still learning how to communicate to parents. I know that it is something that cannot really be taught in school. Having been a music teacher for the past 11 years, and now averaging 700 students a week, I definitely understand the importance of learning these social skills early. Every day, I see the evidence of that not being emphasized in these early development years. Thank you for all of the advice! I will keep you posted on his progress!

Kelly - posted on 02/09/2011

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Is he very verbal? I know that at this stage in their life they do not yet understand empathy and that is normal. He is probably just doing what works if he is frustrated or battling for his share of the toys etc. Some kids who are less verbal will have more problems. You can try simple things to teach him how to handle "issues" at school. Teach him to use his words. Practice some small little things like you can pretend you are another kid taking away a toy. Make it super simple and teach him to tell the teacher if his words don't work. Like "stop don't do that" just simple 3-4 word sentences. The teacher can also make him a sticker chart and praise the postives. They also may not have good controls on the classroom. AND some teachers are wound up tight, I know I have 3 boys, and am dealing with an overly strict regimental teacher with an 8th grader right now. She doesn't even like questions! Just wants quiet disiplined kids...robots.

Jennifer - posted on 02/09/2011

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I was a preschool teacher and a assistant director of a childcare center for 10 years. There are so many possibilities of what could be going on. I agree with you that going to the daycare and watching in on the class is a great start. Some children do best in certain classes for example I had a child who started when he was 3 and had been kicked out of every other preschool and at his last school a teacher even hit him. He was rude, obnoxious, and violent. After working with him and his mom for over year and having him tested and seeing a counselor (due to family issues) he wasn't getting any better. We had no other option but to disenroll him. We recommended another program and low and behold he does awesome there. So what I am saying is that he may be learning it from other kids, he may not like his teacher, or the program might not be a good fit. Best of luck to you.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/09/2011

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I am planning to drop into the school tomorrow. I'm an itinerant teacher and have to drive past his preschool as I go from one school to another. I am blessed that my preschool has cameras in every room, so I can watch his class on a monitor and he (and she) will never know I am there. I am hoping that watching him in class for a while will help me get to the bottom of what is going on, and that I can alert the center administrator of my concerns.

Emily - posted on 02/09/2011

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Go to school and observe so you can see it for yourself. Ideally, correction for this behavior should happen right there in the moment, as it's happening. Whether that's a timeout or some other strategy, the teacher should have some idea of what to do, as this is not unusual preschool behavior. The two of you should be working together on a solution.

JuLeah - posted on 02/09/2011

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The first 'problem' I see is the teacher's attempts to pass this off as your fault. She ought to be working with you, as a team, to solev this and not blaming you. When she passes this off as your fault, she limits her ability to solve the porblem.
Visit the school. Don't let your son know you are there. Watch and see what happens ... what happens before he hit, how is he responded to ... who does he hit ... try to figure out why this is happening. If you visit a few times and don't see the behavior you will need to consider that the teacher, kowing you are there, might be changing her behavior ... but cross that bridge if you come to it

Medic - posted on 02/09/2011

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Let me tell you I am there only my son is 4 and in preschool. He did 3K last year and we had no problems but his class was small and mostly girls. This year its 20 kids and a fair mix of boys and girls and we are having issues with my son. He is getting in trouble for the exact same things but no where else does he do any of it. We constantly get compliments on how good and polite he is from church, daycare, and friends. Because he is older we have consequences at home ie: he looses his computer, no tv and no legos, those are the three end all be all things to him. When he was three just threatening to take his computer away was enough to get him to act right. I too have spoken with the teacher and she does chalk it up to how the other boys act because my son is the youngest one by a bit because his birthday is the cut off date.

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