Mhy toddler has been acting at home and at daycare: Advice?

Looking for advice…my three 1/2-year-old will not listen to anyone, and he’s been acting out at daycare (hitting, pretending to shoot friends with fake guns, etc) so much that other kids are now mimicking him. I have a meeting with the daycare director tomorrow…but i don’t know what else to do. He doesn’t watch anything other than PBS kids, Octonauts, and wheel of fortune (i know, right?), and less than an hour a day. Big brother (7 in December) doesn’t help the situation…We’ve tried time outs, re-directing…doesn’t seem to help. I’m at a loss :frowning:


There has to be a punishment for this behavior. Time outs don’t work. Take away what he loves; one thing for every time he doesn’t listen to his elders. If big brother acts the same way then he needs the same punishments.

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It looks like he is learning from his older brother in this case so I would focus on the 7 yr old and get him straight and the younger one should follow. At 7 years old he should have things he likes to play with so I would start taking those things away and he’s just gonna have to deal with it. Let him scream and jump and whatever he wants but it’s not gonna change anything. He’s not getting them back until he behaves better. Maybe try talking to him too and let him know that he is influencing his younger brother. If he doesn’t care about that then I would think he doesn’t have a strong bond with the little brother so maybe find some shared interests between them. Or have him “help” you take care of the younger one.

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My kid phased in with this one at about the same age. Same kind of situation. I just kept on her about it every day when i picked her up from school. Ended up straight bribing her for a few weeks. Then the problem went away.

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Try storyboarding for daycare. Explain why we don’t hit people or pretend to shoot (it makes them sad and we want them to be happy. At home explain the behaviour makes you sad and you don’t want to spend time with someone like that, then ignore him. Walk away as far as is safe. Only acknowledge good behaviour with hugs and your time. Give attention for good behaviour, take time to play a game when the behaviour is good. Maybe a star chart for both boys might help too with treats for stars. Otherwise no treats.


Are both boys getting enough physical activity in their days? Helps to quell anger and frustration, and not just in kids! Race up and down the sidewalk, jump on a mini trampoline, follow child-friendly workouts on TV or DVD, put on music and dance. Also ask if anything is bothering them & make some suggestions to see if there’s anything behind it. My experience is that boys are just wired to turn anything into a weapon.

He is 3 , he is learning boundaries, to trust himself and others. He has the attention span of 1-4 minutes. He needs structure , consistency, good modeling of behavior from adults, and to constantly be moving after 3-5 minutes.


It sounds wierd but I’ve heard stories like this before where gut problems were the issue.

I don’t know much about the science or anything but I’ve heard at least two stories now where the kid was acting out and they went to one of those doctors that tests the bacteria in your stomach and got them evened out and their behavior improved.

Could be worth looking into.


Take him to a doctor and get him tested just in case. You don’t want the school labeling him a “bad child” that’s hard to shake and can cause further bad behavior from him. Take him to a therapist also. He’s either testing boundaries or doesn’t know how to process his feelings/thoughts. God bless you.

Developmentally speaking, kids aren’t capable of being malicious at that age. Usually that young they’re frustrated or upset about something and don’t know how to communicate it. Work in figuring out what it is with him.


I have a similar problem with my almost 5 year old. One thing to do would be to make sure to include Big Brother in the discipline and teaching him that he is setting an example for his younger brother and that it is important to be a good role model. I am still trying to correct my son’s behavior with these things as well. The newest attempt to correct the problem is to have tangible punishments, i.e. taking away things he likes when he is not behaving and only allowing him to do/have things he likes when he shows good behavior.

He’s got big feelings and no good way to process or act on them. He’s testing boundaries. Try seeing if you can help him identify and name his feelings. You’ll have to help him, he won’t know how to do it. Name the feeling, why they’re feeling it, what we should do about it. It takes practice, but this is the time to start. It’s also a time to test boundaries; in this case, calmly explain the rule, stick to it, and redirect. Redirect will be your new way of life, because you can’t argue or reason with a toddler. They ask for the yellow sponge bob sippy cup and then melt down screaming “not that yellow sponge bob sippy cup” when it is the ONLY yellow cup or sponge bob cup, and it’s been the only yellow sponge bob sippy in his life. Sigh. Thank goodness time marches on.

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Try loosing toys or special treats as a consequence. Another thing I’ve tried is a chart. Hang it on the fridge where he can see it. If he has good behaviour each day he gets a special sticker. After a full week he could have a special treat. Doesn’t have to be big, even a special trip to a park.

I cancel t.v and take away toys they’re misusing. I don’t pay attention to any bad behavior and when they are behaving good i let them know how proud I am of them. When I see that it’s to much I go for walks and talk to them about things we see. They need to understand that t.v is a privilege toys are a privilege and if they are not going to act responsibly then they will not get anything. Hope my pointers work. Be patient mom it’s tough but you’ll find his ways

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Hes testing boundaries but if big brother is doing things he shouldn’t be then the little one is going to do it too. Reward good behavior, take away what they misuse. As for shooting the gun, isn’t that a normal toddler thing? They arent doing it as in “oh im going to kill you” because they don’t even know what that is.

Also he is Watching the what his brother does and you said that that situation doesn’t help your current one well you need to have your 7 year old son show good behavior and everything because then your 3 and a 1/2 year old would do good.

For heaven’s sake he’s using his imagination…let kids play, pretend and be kids. This generation expects them to grow up too fast.

He needs to sit in time out every time he displays undesirable behavior. If that doesn’t work, then start taking his favorite items away.

Ohhhhhh. If the school labels him, says he needs testing, or suggests meds, they’re liable to pay for any and all of it.

My son is a dream. Even more grateful after reading this.

My younger son was acting out, couldn’t sit, wouldn’t take redirection, touchy-feely kid. My doctor recommended having him tested for ADHD. He was adopted and the first question to me was, was there trauma at birth? I said yes there was. He was sent to the NICU immediately. His oxygen level was very low and he also swallowed amniotic fluid. If it gets in the blood he would’ve been put on a ECMO machine to oxygenate the blood. Lucky for us it didn’t get that far. He spent a week in the hospital being monitored!!! I ended up quitting my job when he was 4 to work on his behavior. Didn’t work so when he was tested for ADHD and put on medication, he became a different child. I would go to his school to volunteer to help the teachers keep him on task!!! It was a lot of work for all. He eventually was able to follow directions. Teachers allowed him to do special projects like wipe the chalk board down, pass out books, treats and lead the kids out to recess. When they tested him at school he was the smartest kid in class. We knew he was getting bored, so they put him classes that challenged him. 5 years of hard work payed off. He chose welding as a career because he was busy 100% of the time. Don’t give up on them. The behavior could be something his brain couldn’t handle. Retraining the brain can happen. I am so proud of my 30 yr old son. Be patient to get to the real problem. People always want to put a title on the poor kid and call them bad kids…


Maybe try a drop or 2 of cbd oil might just help …just thought !!!

He’s just testing his boundaries. The gun thing isn’t something to worry about. He’s a boy and blowing things up is in his DNA lol I would just keep it simple. Let him fire away at home, but not at school/daycare. He’ll eventually lose interest in it and move on to something else. I also found that telling my boys what they could do was way easier than telling them what they can’t do. There’s a million things to say no to, but yes list is shorter. Like going to the store. Instead of don’t touch, no running, etc. We are going to walk. We are going to hang on to the basket. We are going to use our quiet voices. Simple, sets the expectations, and to the point.


That’s normal actually, he’s just testing you.