Ask Amy – Concerned about my child’s friend at Daycare

by Amy Hilbrich Davis

in Ask Amy,Kids,Parenting,Parenting Tips

Question: My son is almost 3 and in full time daycare. He has struck up a friendship with a kid that is always in trouble, lashes out, acts out–everything our boy is not. I see my son bring out the best in this boy. I see genuine friendship and kindness in both when together…I know my job is to keep him safe.  Am I wrong to let them be friends?

Amy:  First off, I am touched with the loving nature of this question—It’s so heartwarming to see a Mom consider not only the well being of her child, but also the well being of another. I am proud of this mom’s concern for others. Before I jump in, here is a bit of background:

I believe we have a job as moms. Our job is to keep our kids happy, healthy, safe, and cozy. I review this parenting strategy at length in the Balance MAP, yet suffice it say that it provides direction, for both you and your child, while it increases the cooperation and the enjoyment you share with them. Yet, you can’t do it all alone – you need a Support network.

One of the most important partners you will have raising your son is his teachers or in this case, your childcare provider. Start there. Get an explanation of what is going at day care. Discuss the impact of this friendship on your son and his development. How is he affected by playing with the other boy? Do they in fact play nicely together? I would ask specifically how the day care handles this child.

Although your child sounds like a lovely role model, I would like to suggest that your day care is also actively helping to reshape and redirect the other boy’s attitude and behavior. It is dear that you want your son to be the catalyst for goodness and a role model. Your childcare provider will help shed great light on what is happening throughout the day.

The most important point here is that you need to be able to count on your day care to provide a happy, healthy, safe, and cozy environment where your child thrives. You can’t always be with your child and you need to have partners you trust who are extensions of you.  Work with them to create the right environment and healthy relationships for your child.

In addition to talking to the day care, you should use this opportunity to explain to your son about friendships and healthy relationships.  Make sure he is clear on acceptable, unacceptable behavior, and what to do when he experiences unacceptable behavior (go to the adult in charge).

I want you to feel great about dropping your son off at day care each day– your peace of mind is important and something you must nurture.

Trust your instincts and follow through with your support network to help you keep your kids happy, healthy, safe, and cozy. You are your child’s greatest advocate.

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