Preschoolers can smirk and roll their eyes just like their teenage siblings.
Just when you're feeling pretty proud of yourself for successfully navigating the toddler years, your child comes home from preschool with a whole new repertoire of behaviors seemingly designed to send your blood pressure skyrocketing. He spouts all the "naughty" words you've banned at your house. The "no hitting" rule goes out the window the first time he gets mad at his little sister. You're wondering who replaced your little darling with this evil twin version -- welcome to preschool! It's perfectly normal for your preschooler to test the limits at home with these newly learned behaviors, but you must respond calmly, firmly and promptly to nip them in the bud.
1Point out the bad behavior promptly. Make sure you have your child's attention, then state calmly but firmly that you do not do that at your house. Remind her of what the relevant rule and expected behavior are at your house, using simple, clear words she can understand. "We do not pull the baby's hair. That hurts the baby. If you're mad at the baby, come tell me." Don't negotiate or get into a prolonged discussion. Your message needs to be extremely clear -- certain behaviors are not acceptable.
2Ask him where he learned the behavior. At this age, kids will usually tell you straight out that they saw it at school and who was doing it. If you know this is also against school rules, remind him of that. Ask him if there were any consequences at school. Remind him again of your family's rules and that they apply to him even when he's at preschool. Also remind him what your consequences are for bad behavior so he knows what to expect if he repeats the infraction.
3Talk to your child's teachers if the bad behavior continues. Don't confront them or blame them for your child's misbehavior. Instead, ask what the school's policy is on the behavior in question. Find out how they handle hitting, for example, or how they address kids who use bad language. Tell them you want to work with them to reinforce these rules and to discourage your child from making poor behavior choices.
4Follow up with the preschool's staff if the problem persists or worsens. Tell them you don't want your child hitting, or cussing, or spitting, for example, and enlist their support to quash the behavior. It may require separating your child from another for awhile or upping the ante in terms of consequences if the behavior continues. Consistency is crucial at this stage, so having your child's teachers on the same page with you is key to refocusing the child's behavior.