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Consequences for Hitting & Kicking in a Preschool Classroom

by Erica Loop

Although it isn't entirely uncommon for preschooler to act out or get aggressive in the face of powerful emotions, there are typically consequences for actions such as hitting and kicking in the classroom. When you send your little learner off to preschool her teacher will expect that she can keep her emotions under control and obey the rules when it comes to getting physical. If not, the teacher will have to enforce school or center's policies on the subject.

Time Out

The National Network for Child Care notes that time outs are effective, non-punitive, discipline tools that preschool teachers can use as consequences for unwanted behaviors. Hitting and kicking are often at the top of the list when it comes to preschoolers' worst behaviors. These aggressive actions are often the result of -- according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website -- the child's lack of self-control and inability to express himself verbally. A time out gives the preschooler the opportunity to calm down and collect himself while working on his self-control.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

If the teacher's toolbox of discipline techniques doesn't achieve the desired result, you may be called in for a parent-teacher conference. The child development experts at the Kids Health website recommend that parents refrain from acting defensive during a parent-teacher conference. It can be embarrassing to openly admit that your child has hit or kicked a peer, but view the conference as a an opportunity to address and solve the problem. Discuss possible reasons for your little one's aggressive actions, the schools' discipline strategies, offer your suggestions for helping your child at home and talk about what the school's policies are in the event that your child doesn't stop.

Changing Rooms

If your child's hitting and kicking behaviors aren't general, but more specifically directed at one child, the preschool may choose to move your little one into another class or room. Preschools that have more than one room for each age group -- such as two 3- to 5-year old preschool rooms -- may use removal as a consequence for aggressive acts. While this is never a first choice strategy, after other attempts to mediate the situation fails, changing rooms may end up as the only viable option.

Expulsion

Although early childhood education experts -- such as your child's teacher and the center's director -- are typically understanding when it comes to preschoolers who occasionally lose their cool and hit or kick, a pattern of physical acts that won't stop won't be tolerated. While experts recommend teachers use less drastic measures such as conflict mediation or calling in outside professionals as a first measure, if the schools has done everything possible to turn this problem around and it still persists, expulsion is often the only answer, particularly if the offending child seriously hurts another child, the hitting and kicking occur on a daily basis or other parents fear for their children's safety.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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