Thursday, April 06, 2006


Charlotte was bitten on Tuesday at school. Another kid got her on the face. Luckily, it didn't break the skin, just left two teeth-shaped red marks on her cheek. It sounds like she and the other kid were going after the same toy. The teacher I talked to didn't actually see it happen, as she was supervising other toddlers doing crafts, but reacted when she heard Charlie scream. I don't blame the other child--biting is a bad habit that many toddlers develop, but it is one effective method for them to vent frustration. As long as the parents and teachers are working with the other child to make sure it doesn't become a dangerous problem, then I am not upset.

I know that toddlers are not quite capable of playing well together, nor of communicating with each other. They also utterly lack patience and think that they're entitled to immediately play with any toy they see. Scuffles over toys are to be expected. My husband and I have been less than impressed, though, at the daycare staff's handling of the baby wars. We have noticed Charlotte taking toys away from other kids, and pushing kids to get to coveted items. At home, we immediately tell her not to push or take toys away. We re-inforce taking turns, and try offering different toys to one or both parties to tide them over until their turn comes up. If all else fails, then the toy in question is put away and both kids have to find something new to do. She actually responds well to being told to share, and will (usually) willingly hand another child a toy when prompted.

I know that the daycare workers try to do some of the same things, but I'm not sure that they're all convinced that it works. With teacher-child ratios up to 1:4, it's also a chore to supervise all of the children that closely all of the time. And at craft time, when one teacher is helping a single child or small group of children, the effective ratio is even worse for the other teacher.

I wish there were a better solution (besides me quitting my job and pulling her out of daycare, which would be a little extreme). Charlotte will need to learn to get along with groups, and group dynamics can be frustrating even for adults. I guess for now, we keep reminding the daycare teachers that we expect the children to be reprimanded for bad behavior, and we will continue to re-inforce good behavior at home.

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