What Parents Should Do When a Child Hits at Preschool

Your child’s preschool teacher has just told you that your child hit another student in class today. What should you do? And what should you not do? Here is some guidance to help you appropriately handle the situation, both with your child and with their teacher.

Ask the Teacher for Details

The best way to correct behavior like hitting is with swift and immediate action. Obviously, as the parent, you’re not present if your child hits another student in preschool in Franklin, TN. So, it’s important that you ask the teacher for details regarding exactly what happened, what might have instigated the action, and how it was handled.

This helps to ensure you and the teacher are on the same page, as well as enabling you to have an open discussion with your child about what happened. Please note that this should be a calm, information-gathering discussion. This shouldn’t be a blame-placing conversation or an attack on any party involved.

Talk to Your Child about What Happened

Once you’ve gathered all the information from the teacher, talk to your child about what happened at school today. Keep the conversation calm and casual. Allow them to bring up the incident themselves. If they don’t do this, ask a question that might lead into them telling you the story. For example, you might ask, “So what happened with you and Bobby today?” or “I heard you got upset at school today. Can you tell me about it?”

It is usually best to allow your child to bring up the incident first. Listen to their account of the events calmly and patiently until they’ve finished. This allows your child to feel like their side of the story is being heard, as well as encouraging them to be honest about their actions by allowing them to choose to bring up the event themselves.

Discuss Alternative Actions

After your child has told you what happened, you should try talking through some alternative actions that they could have taken that didn’t involve hitting. For example, let’s say that your child hit Bobby because he took a toy away from them. Ask your child what else they could have done to resolve the situation. Let your child offer ideas first and see what they come up with. Then, you can offer alternatives as well (e.g., asking him to give the toy back, playing together with the toy, asking an adult for help, etc.).

By working through alternatives with your child, you encourage them to find non-violent ways to solve their problems, so that the behavior is less likely to occur again in the future.

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Talk about Expressing Your Feelings

Finally, talk about the emotions that led to your child hitting their peer. Were they angry? Had their feelings been hurt? Were they feeling left out of something? It’s important that your child be able to identify and understand the emotions that led to their actions, so that they can find better ways to process those feelings.

Then, talk about appropriate ways to express the feeling that they were having. They might choose to walk away from the student who hurt their feelings. They might choose to be alone until they feel calmer. They might ask a teacher or another student for a hug to help them feel better. Again, let your child come up with some ideas, and offer a few of your own.

Remember, your child’s teacher at preschool in Franklin, TN, has likely already taken disciplinary action for the behavior, so additional disciplining is not usually necessary. Instead, your job is to help your child understand why they acted in the way that they did, and other options for handling the situation in the future. If you have any questions about your child’s behavior in preschool, or would like further advice about enrollment, please feel free to reach out to THE Children’s Academy in Franklin, TN (615) 790-2273.