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Daycare teacher pushing too hard?
Q: I put my 2½-year-old toddler in daycare six weeks ago and she has adjusted pretty well. The teacher suggested I let her wear underwear instead of pull-up training pants. I listened and trusted her guidance.

She decided to ignore my Kaity's request for her "lovey" (pink infant blanket) and I stood by to assist with hugs and kisses and to wipe away the tears.

Now she wants me to have her weaned from the sippy cup to small milk containers and/or real cups. I'm beginning to feel like I don't know which end is up.

Am I delaying my daughter’s development or making her seem immature because I want her to use a sippy cup? I'm confused. I want to be supportive. I happen to also work at the daycare in another room.
A: Since you work in the same center, I would suggest you schedule an appointment with the director (or whoever is in charge) and discuss the situation. Be careful not to appear to be criticizing the teacher; tell the director you want to understand the center’s policy and understand more fully how to be a good parent without interfering too much.

In my thinking, the teacher’s refusal to give your daughter her “lovey” is much more serious than the questions about underpants and drinking cups. Allowing young children to hold on to something special from home is a standard procedure in high quality care. Sometimes a teacher will have to take away a special toy brought from home in order to avoid squabbles among the children. However, “loveys” are usually so beat-up and worn down that they don’t generate much envy on the part of the other children.

Hopefully such a discussion will help you determine whether your child’s teacher is carrying out center policy or simply enforcing her own ideas. Remember that you are an employee at the center; don’t jeopardize your position by reacting too aggressively to what the teacher has been doing.

Regardless of the outcome of such a discussion, I would also suggest a compromise. Give in on the underwear (you have apparently already done so) and the sippy cup and accept the fact that the teacher is trying to encourage more mature behavior in Kaity. But hold out on the lovey. Kaity should be allowed to have it with her until she signals that she’s ready to give it up.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education