Little People, Big Problems: How To Handle The More Challenging Aspects Of Preschool

It's no secret that early learning can lead to later success in life, but what happens when you send your child off to a preschool or daycare and they come back with reports of problems? While it may be easier to give up and keep them home longer, that may not be in anyone's best interest, particularly if you and/or your partner have professional obligations.

Here are a few of the more pressing challenges your youngster may face and how the two of you can cope together:

Not Getting Along With Others

Making the adjustment from home life to school can be tough, especially since this is most likely your child's first time away from home for long periods. With the comforts of home gone, fear and anxiety may manifest themselves in the form of anti-social behavior or even aggression.

Problem: Your child is fighting with peers.

Solution: Invite other children to your home or a common neighborhood play area. Taking your child out of the potentially stressful environment should relieve some of the pressure, affording them the opportunity to just play constructively. This experience will also show other kids the playful, enjoyable and agreeable side of your child, opening up more doors socially back in the classroom environment.

A Bully At Preschool

Just the thought of facing a bully is enough to scare any child from wanting to go out into the world, but since that's not likely a viable option for you, you have to face the problem together. Although discussing the situation with staff and other parents should be done right away, you're still left with the challenge of empowering your little one to face and handle the bully in an intelligent, acceptable and effective manner.

Problem: Your son or daughter is being bullied.

Solution: Practice role-playing at home. You be the aggressor, giving your child the opportunity to experience the situation in a familiar and safe environment As you role-play, suggest different responses, such as standing up for oneself, giving a warning of taking the matter to the teacher and of telling other kids about the bullying. Emphasize the importance of involving staff when necessary and of not being alone with the bully. Coach your little one to have more confidence, so they feel capable of both defending themselves and doing the right thing.

Your Child Is Shy

Your child won't look forward to going to preschool everyday if they're not easily befriending other kids or if they're painfully shy. While there are different degrees of shyness, it's probably not something you need to worry too much about, although you do want to help your child overcome this obstacle.

Problem: Shyness is keeping your little one from enjoying the company of others.

Solution: It's a lot easier to muster the courage to talk to one person who seems approachable than it is to address an entire classroom of your peers. Ask your child to focus on just one or two other kids with whom they feel compatible. The same gender, sports abilities or favorite superhero might be a good start, but together you should find similarities in others and try to relate. Point out that having things in common means having things to talk about. When your child relates, the grip of shyness is often lessened, opening the doors of communication. Request regular progress updates from your child until they've cleared the hurdle of shyness enough to call someone a "BFF."

Blatant Disobedience With Daycare Staff

Because going off to a school-like setting can be disruptive to a child's psyche, your normally well-behaved little one might be acting up in class, within groups and with listening to staff and teachers. It's important that this situation be nipped in the bud quickly, both for the benefit of others and to avoid your child making misbehaving a habit.

Problem: Your child refuses to follow instructions and disrupts the order of things at preschool.

Solution: Conduct a transfer of power with the preschool. Notify staff and let your little one know something big is about to go down. Come up with a symbol, such as a giant cardboard key or parental badge of power. Tell your child in no uncertain terms that when the symbol is given to the preschool, the staff are in charge and the same consequences of misbehaving at home apply at daycare.

Learning now, in all likelihood, will help your child to be stronger, smarter and more socially adept. Working through the challenges that may arise in preschool will build even greater character, especially with you leading the way. You're showing your son or daughter that together, there's nothing you can't do and few things will ever give them more confidence than that.

For more information, talk to a professional preschool, like those found at, and inquire about other successful solutions parents have implemented.