Correcting Bad Habits Picked Up at Daycare

As parents, we always do our best to set good examples for our little ones — be polite, say please and thank you, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, don’t interrupt, and so on!  Parenting is a constant awareness of good vs bad habits, and how to teach the difference. But what happens when that role falls into someone else’s hands?

When your child heads off to daycare, you lose control over what they’re learning and being taught, and they can come home from daycare with some pretty bad habits.  Picking their nose, grabbing toys that aren’t theirs, lying, and even biting in some cases! So what can you do when your toddler has learned a bad habit from someone else?

How to Banish Bad Habits

No matter what strange little quirk Bitsy has brought home from daycare, there are a number of things you can do at home to put a stop to it!

 

Ignore it.  Yes, you read that right.  One of the best ways to get rid of a bad habit from a toddler is to pay no attention to it. The more attention you give, the more incentive they have to continue!  Even bad attention is attention, and your toddler will eat it up! Instead of making a big deal, simply firmly tell them “no”, or “stop”, and redirect their attention to better behavior.

 

Praise the good habits.  While you’re ignoring those bad habits, make sure you praise the great things Bitsy does do!  When they help with dinner, say please or thank you, or wait to talk until you’re done, make sure you call it out!  Giving attention for the right things can make the wrong things fall to the side naturally.

 

One at a time.  If your little one has brought home a few bad habits instead of just one, only focus on one at a time.  Asking children to fix too many things at once sets both of you up for failure — instead, pick the worst one and start there!

 

Educate them.  Don’t just tell Bitsy to stop — explain why you want them to stop!  This will help them understand that it’s not just an arbitrary request from you, but that you want them to be better!  

 

Persistence.  Patience is key here, as changes won’t happen over night!  Make sure you keep up with pointing out why bad habits are bad, and don’t randomly accept the bad behavior, as this will take you back several steps.  

 

Address it with the daycare.  If things keep getting worse or seem out of hand, you can feel comfortable taking it up with the daycare themselves — they may not be aware that the behavior is occurring, or the daycare might just not be a good fit!  Here’s some tips on finding the right daycare for you and Bitsy!  

 

Hang in there, Mama!  Your Bitsy will pick up funny little habits from daycare and school as they grow older — remember to pick your battles, and stay patient and persistent!  Your polite little toddler is still there!