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Kindergarten Drama
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Kindergarten Drama

My son is 5 and is in Kindergarten.  Just has his annual meeting for his IEP which was integrated with his parent/teacher conference.  He's been in speech therapy for the passed two years. Good news, he's on track with his speech and he is on track academically; Not so great news, he's a rigid, disruptive student, who needs constant prompting to stay on task.

Examples of rigidity:
Must be last in line.      Must sit in certain spot on carpet.   Must place his book box in certain slot on shelf.   Schedule is on the board, and if there is a change he gets argumentative.

Disruptive behavior:
Sits right behind other kids on carpet and kicks/pinches.   Because he's been told he's not to put his hands on other kids, chooses to 'shoulder check' them instead (keeping his hands at his sides).    Refuses to listen to other students with working one-on-one.  Talks, tells his story/example, then tunes the other child out.  OR if the other child trys to start talking first, he will talk over them.

Prompting:
Teacher explains next activity to whole class.  Then she has to go one-on-one with him 2 or three times to get him going.  Multiple times/all day long.

**It's hard to hear all this about your child, UGH**

As a result of the poor choices he is making on his behavior the IEP is transitioned a bit.  The therapist will be working with him on his communication and if his behavior is not improving more by January, they will be looking at referring him to another specialist (praying it doesn't come to this).

We've had many talks about school and he's basically said that he doesn't like his teacher (his words, not mine).  I think he doesn't respect her and that's where the bigger issue lies.  I think his disruptive behavior is partially to do with that.  He's testing her, seeing how much he can get away with.
With the prompting she has to do all day with him, I have to do the same darn thing.  He can be stubborn, so if he doesn't want to do the activity, he won't.
The rigidity thing I'm used to.  I went through the same thing with my daughter at his age.  She used to melt down if her sandwich wasn't cut the way she thought it should be (triangles/not squares....can I get an 'amen'?).  Bought a book "raising your spirited child" by mary sheedy. used some suggestions in it, the girls is A-okay now.

I know his teacher is doing her best, but there are 22 other kids in the class and he needs to learn to respect their right to learn/be heard/be safe.  He's good at home, a little stubborn, a little rigid, and we work through it.

I need ideas on what to do/what to model at home to help him be more motivated to choose better behaviors at school.  I can't be there all day and I think his teacher is getting worn out....
12 Comments Post a Comment
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134578_tn?1404951303
I don't think the problem is the teacher.  Maybe he is testing the teacher or doesn't like her, but maybe this is just his reaction to a system where he has to be with a lot of other kids without immediate one-on-one attention and behave for the group good (in other words, life), and the teacher is in the unfortunate position of being the one whose job it is to make that happen.  It would of course be nice if she knew some magic methods to engage him, but if she does not, or if there are none, or if the system won't allow them, then he (not you) is the one who has to figure out that the world is somewhat un-accommodating to his desires and interests, and to  decide how to cope with that surprising and unpleasant fact.  He will have teachers of every quality from now on out in his education, not to mention bosses of varying levels of sympathy to his needs, so he has to learn methods and mantras to manage himself.  Schools only go so far when working with kids whose boredom tolerance is low.  

The only thing I would suggest to the teacher (if you suggest anything to her, which I would hesitate to do because it sounds like she is working pretty hard with him already) is that you could tell her that you've heard that some kids do better if they are put into a position where they have a task where they can be up and moving (i.e., for example in a later grade, up at the board writing things down for the teacher as the class says them, or in kindy, some other task or way doing something "for" the teacher).  That would be as far as I would take any suggestions to her, if you are even nervy enough to go that far -- she seems to have bent over backward to try to get him to move with everyone else.  

I would definitely use the methods and techniques with your son that you used with your daughter, given that they worked for her.  I am also wondering if, when you have to deal with his stubbornness at home, you might have gone for immediate peace via the path of least resistance, rather than the long-term learning for him (that he doesn't get to be a certain way that is difficult for others).  It's no fun fighting with your kid, but there really must be good books and advisories out there for working with a child on issues like these.  Do you have confidence that he can manage himself if he tries, and can focus when he has to?

In your shoes, I'd look for the books, get referrals from the pediatrician, talk to a child therapist, and see what you can do.  Then if some methods work really well, talk to the teacher about what is working and how she might reinforce it.  

Good luck, I'm so sorry I'm not more helpful.  Others on this site know a lot more about this and will probably write.

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4197923_tn?1350941039
Maybe look up positive parenting.  getting the teacher on board with giving him options and also focus on the things he does right.  My little guy was on that track to that kind of behavior and does have that kind of personality and what helped with him the most is, especially at school, praise him for all the good behavior.  It is hard at first to find things to praise him for but the more you do it the more he will want positive reactions.  Hope that helps
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Avatar_m_tn
    A word you use a lot to describe your son is rigid.  There are a variety of reasons why a child of this age can be "rigid", and not all of them are his fault.  When you mentioned he had been having speech training I immediately thought of specialmom and her son who if I remember correctly had to go through speech therapy.  Her son has sensory integration disorder and specialmom is the CL for our SIDS community here - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Sensory-Integration-Disorder-SID/show/1396
   I think you should re-post to her - especially the list of his behaviors.  A lot of your sons actions seem like they are due to sensory problems.   You can check out the symptoms here - http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html.   Its a very long list and make sure you read the introduction.     If he does have SIDS there is a lot that can be done for him that will make a big difference in his life.
     And I should also mention that he also shows some symptoms of ADHD (disruptive behavior, not paying attention, etc), but I would explore the SIDS first.
     The point behind all of this - yes, there is such a thing as a "spirited child",  but you deal with that child very differently than a child who has SIDS or ADHD - so its extremely important to try and figure out what is going on.
     I also am the CL on the ADHD site, so if you have any questions about ADHD please feel free to post over there.  Best wishes.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hii! i had the same problem that you are having , my son is not that rigid, but the disruptive behavior was the problem trough kindergarten, lack of respect for his teacher( a great teacher by the way) and not listening at home, please read the book "raising lions" this book answer all our question, I sincerely think that God heard my prayers and cry for help and put this book in my way because since I am using it he is like a different boy, still some times slips in to his  old ways but is mostly because I slip in to to my old ways and dont follow the book advice but this book is great, my son is in first grade he is turning 6 this month, and the teacher came to me and ask me what did I do?  my hubby cant believe it, he read the book after seeing my sons behavior change in few days, please find this book at the library, we bought it in the e-reader and after we read it decided to buy the actual book since we want to be able to use it and go back to it when we need it. good luck!!
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Avatar_m_tn
   Thanks for the book idea, that is one I will have to check out.  I do have a quick question for you to ask his teacher.  If your son is turning 6 in Oct. he is probably one of the youngest kids - if not the youngest - in his class, and that also presents a special set of problems.  So ask his teacher for the age breakdown of the other males in his class.  Thats the ones he will probably be with and competing against for a number of years.   As a retired elementary school principal I can tell you that age does make a difference, and it is something that you should be aware of.
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973741_tn?1342346373
I totally agree about sensory.  Your child sounds like my child who has sensory integration disorder.  

I'm happy to tell you strategies if you think there might be a fit at all.  My son is now 8 and has no iep, friends and is doing quite well.  

SensoryProcessingDisorder is a web site that gives good information and I'm the CL of the sensory integration disorder here at med help.

Sensory involves the nervous system and how it responds to environments.  My son also can be extrenely rigid, not know boundaries, disruptive.  All cause great difficultity in the classroom experience.

If you'd like to know more about sensory, please let me know.  good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Sandmand2  thanks for your comment.Yes it was an issue last year, we were not sure if it was a good idea to promote my son to first grade, we asked his teacher and she told us that he was not the youngest but only one boy has his birthday after my sons in his class. We decided to send him to first grade based on his academic performance , his reading skills were right on target, he was advance in math and reading comprehension and he pretty much would finish his work and go bother the other kids or bother the other kids and finish work that would take the other kids 10 minutes in a couple of minutes :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I am sorry I hit the post a comment by mistake, we do realize that his age can present a problem in the future however we could not imagine him having to study the same material with the same teacher without him being bored out of his mind and causing more trouble,I am a physical therapist (not born or trained in this country)and I have an idea about sensory issues and I think he has some, i think the pushing at recess and hands on people had to do with that however the lack of respect for teacher instructions, not listening and ignoring authority had a lot to do with what this book "raising lions" explains,we have had such a good outcome using this book his attitude has change still some minor problems in school and at home but nothing like before,I can see that you are interested in behavioral problems and let me tell you this book is a must,I have enjoy your advice for long time in this forum always trying to find solutions to those things little or big that take my sleep at night related to my kids and always I am able to read something useful from your posts, i just wanted to say thank you, your work is very important for all the parents out there that dont have a support system in this beautiful country and dont have a lot of family and friends to ask for advice , bye!!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
   Thank you for your kind words.  I can't wait to check out the book.
Probably was a good idea not to keep him with the same teacher as she did not seem able to or want to deal with him.  I do understand how in Kindergarten that is tough to do. Always felt as a principal that all K and 1st grade teachers were saints.   I assume there was only one K teacher in the school.  
   I do have a bit of a problem with a 5 year old not having "respect" for a teacher.  I do think that a teacher has to earn respect, but 5 year olds typically are pretty easy to get respect from.  
   Anyway, I do worry about his age.  And its more for later on.  He will be the last kid to drive a car, etc.  There are only about 10 states where a child can legally enter first grade after Oct. 1 - So I guess you are in one of them?   If you get a chance at the end of this school year to have him repeat (cause he loves his teacher, etc) do think about it.   Best wishes.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, this totally was not was I expected.  Do any of you actually read?  Thanks for the off-the-cuff diagnoses, but no thanks.  I wasn't asking for that.  If you read my post i was asking for IDEAS ON WHAT TO DO/WHAT TO MODEL AT HOME TO HELP HOM BE MORE MOTIVATED AT TO CHOOSE BETTER BEHAVIORS AT SCHOOL.

Yes, I did outline the the school related issues he's having, but not simply to show what we need to work on at home, not to **figure out why he is doing them**.

Nevermind.  It's my own fault (the site is called MEDhelp, not IDEAhelp).
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Avatar_m_tn
    Sorry you felt that way.   The reason for my post is that the way you work with a child at home is based a lot on what the problem is.  You do things differently for a child with SIDS than a child with ADHD than a child who has been neglected or spoiled, etc.
   Specialmom has a ton of ideas for working with a child with SIDS, but no sense listing those ideas if he does not have SIDS.
   I have just bought and started reading  the book "Raising Lions", by Joe Newman.  It looks like it could be helpful.
   There is also a wonderful set of books aimed at the 4 to 7 year old age group that are meant to be read aloud to the child and then that info used to change his behavior.  Its the Learning to get along series.  A good example would be "know and follow rules"  found here - http://www.amazon.com/Follow-Rules-Cheri-Meiners-M-Ed/dp/1575421305/ref=pd_sim_b_6      and you will find a bunch others if you scroll down the page.   Hope this helps a bit more.  But, I do want to stress that until you can figure out what is going on with him, it will be more difficult for his teacher or even you to change his behavior.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Oh my goodness.  Well, here are some ideas (as I must remind you that you are on the member to member forum and not a doctor forum).  

For getting too close and not respecting personal boundaries of other kids---  you illustrate that through a few activities.  Example is to take a hula hoop and place it around him.  (or an inflatable pool ring will do).  Then you try to get in with him.  He'll laugh as it is obviously too close.  He's not to be in someone's space/hula hoop space.  Another illustration is to stick your arms straight out and walk like a robot.  Then have him do it.  You can't bump bodies (shoulders) because you have robot arms in front of you.  He should never be closer than robot arms to his classmates.

Rigidity is something to practice at home.  Mix it up at home and see how he reacts.  That is real life and by creating it at home, you help him deal wtih it away from home.  If he has trouble, you role play ways he CAN handle things rather than getting upset.

I would set up one on one play dates as this may help him when he is in the classroom.  It also helps you get a good picture of where he is at verses his peers with play skills and you can coach him and help him along.

So, the diagnosis my son got of sensory at 4 was the best thing that ever appened to us.  Instead of having a child that I got calls about from school, I have a son in third grade with NO IEP, behaves beautifully, and does well.  We were able to address the root cause of his behaviors.  I'm very thankful for that as it changed the course of his life and education.  Self esteem is critical and kids that are in trouble all the time start to really dip in that area.  And THAT can last a life time.  My suggestion to look at sensory isn't an insult to your child but just an idea to look into to help you.

So do what you need to do and are comfortable with to help him along.  good luck
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