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Preschooler Attitude Adjustments

Your child's a little devil at home but a total angel at preschool. What do teachers know that you don't? We asked preschool teachers for their best tactics -- and for ways you can adopt them at home.
well behaved child Class Act

If your preschooler got a report card, she'd likely be a straight-A student. Her teacher says she's helpful, attentive, and kind to her buddies. But around you, she turns into someone the school wouldn't recognize: cranky, argumentative, and needy. How can your child be so sweet during class and so sour the minute she gets home?

The short answer: The group dynamic of school encourages young kids to fall in line with their peers and try to please their teachers. They can only maintain this model behavior for a few hours, though. "Kids need to let loose when they leave the classroom," says Jennifer Zebooker, a teacher at the 92nd Street Y Nursery School, in New York City. "It's natural for them to push the boundaries with Mommy."