What You Need to Know if Your Child Is Being Improperly Disciplined at Daycare

Daycares should use safe and effective discipline.It is tough for parents to entrust their children into another’s care, but many of today’s working families need daycares for financial survival. It is crucial to find a daycare center that provides appropriate discipline for kids. Here’s what parents should know about good daycares—and those that put kids at risk. 

How Good Daycares Discipline Children

When seeking a daycare center for your child, ask about their policies for disciplining children appropriately. Ask the following questions:

  • How do you approach discipline in your daycare?
  • How do you ensure daycare employees are properly trained?
  • Do you use timeouts? If so, how and where are these utilized?
  • What do you do when children are disruptive?
  • When behavioral issues are ongoing, what is your plan to deal with them?
  • How do you communicate with parents regarding discipline issues?

Look for the following items as they describe their approach:

  • Stable routines and clear expectations
  • Positive methods rather than harsh language, shame, or degradation
  • Age-appropriate consequences for misbehavior
  • Open communication between daycare staff and parents
  • A team approach among staff and parents when problems arise
  • Checks and balances within the daycare center

When Discipline Can Be Grounds for a Daycare Abuse Claim

Caregivers are violating childcare disciplinary fundamentals and opening themselves up to a daycare abuse claim if they do any of the following in response to behavioral issues:

  • Spank or hit a child
  • Use profanity when speaking to a child
  • Make disparaging remarks about the child or the child’s family
  • Prevent a child from eating, drinking, or using the bathroom
  • Confine a child to a closed-off area such as a closet
  • Use any kind of restraints
  • Let another child punish a child
  • Administer any cruel, harsh, or unusual punishment

Signs Your Child Might Be Experiencing Inappropriate Discipline at Daycare

Children may not be able to verbalize that they are being treated inappropriately at daycare, so parents should watch out for the following signs that there could be a problem:

  • Changes in behavior. If your normally outgoing child suddenly becomes shy, withdrawn, or depressed, this could be a sign that something is wrong. Kids who are being abused at daycare might also become suddenly aggressive—lashing out with kicking, biting, or scratching. Your child might also suddenly start to act out in social situations.
  • Regressive behavior. If your potty-trained child suddenly starts to have accidents, this could be a sign of stress. 
  • Unexplained bruises or other injuries. This could indicate that your child is being hit, spanked, or otherwise physically abused.
  • Hungry or thirsty at pickup time. This could indicate that food or water is being withheld from your child as a way to punish. 
  • Trouble sleeping or recurring nightmares. If your child suddenly experiences nightmares or has trouble sleeping, this could be because of traumatic events that are happening during the day.

What to Do if You Suspect Your Child’s Daycare Is Using Inappropriate Discipline

If you believe you have enough evidence that your child’s daycare is inappropriately disciplining your child, you should report your concerns to the daycare. You have the right to request that the daycare conduct an investigation. If the daycare is unwilling to do this, then you should notify a lawyer immediately and write down as many details about what you think might be happening.

You should also report your concerns to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. You can report your suspicions online or by phone.

We welcome you to contact our experienced daycare abuse attorney at The Button Law Firm. We can help you file a civil claim to seek compensation for medical expenses, your child’s mental anguish, and other expenses related to the abuse. This claim is separate from any criminal charges that may be filed for abuse or neglect. 

In addition to relieving the financial burden daycare abuse can create, filing a lawsuit can help to protect other children from suffering the same mistreatment your child has experienced. Schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today to learn more.