My daughter just started kindegarten in August, and the first little while went great. But now for the past few weeks I have been having to check in with the teacher at the end of everyday to see how the day went. I started this after the teacher confronted me one day. She keeps telling me that my daughter is very impulsive, chatty and doesnt listen. We began disciplining (No TV, no playing outside with friends) her trying to correct the behavior but I am still hearing from the teacher that we never have a good day, some days will be better then others but never good. It all seems to be little things like not staying in her seat, one day she got in trouble for shouting out that she had 4 green crayons (i think she was excited after discovering this). She went to 2 years of preschool and the first year was great very structured but still fun for the kids, the second year they changed to a learn by discovery program and the structure went out the window, I am really beggining to regret that second year. But at the same time I have asked the teacher if its just my child having issues and she says no, and I know last year the teacher was a 1st grade teacher, is her hopes and standards a little high. What can I do to make my daughter understand how she needs to behave and actually do it. I know she knows when she has a bad day cause she'll try to drag me to the car to keep me from talking to the teacher.
I am a kindergarten teacher and have taught in some extremely difficult urban schools. I have seen pretty much everything. My first guess is the teacher is fairly new to teaching 5 and 6 year olds. I say that because, parents are not usually the source of the resolution to the problem. Any good K level teacher knows the answer lies within.
Firstly these kids are 5 and 6, and early Kindergartners to boot. Impulsivity and chattyness is par for the course. A good K teacher knows how to turn this into an asset. Talking is not a problem, neither is impulsivity - they need to be directed into positive outcomes. Teachers that think students should not talk should quit the profession. For example my students are given time during each curriculum block to "turn and talk" for a few minutes regularly about what we are learning. This may mean a character in a book, why numbers are important, writing sentences versus fragments..... The talking is allowed and welcomed, but the volume is strictly regulated. Additionally I allow students to act out answers, use funny hand gestures or expressions, make funny faces. We have unstructured playtime (20 minutes recess) when I play with them and act silly too. If you allow for this natural expressiveness in the classroom it won't become a problem it will be an asset to learning.
The reason school started off well and now is falling in a rut is this. At first, your daughter was not comfortable being herself in school and now she's adjusted and feels less inhibited. She's more at liberty to be herself. For what its worth, Kindergarten is probably the most difficult grade level to teach and oddly enough so many teachers opt to go there because they think it will be easier - NOT! Good Kindergarten teachers are wizards of creativity and adaptivness. The problem is not your daughter, its the teacher. That does not help you. Punishment will not help. Positive reinforcement will. The teacher (again) must be willing to reward (something thats rewarding to her)your daughter for getting the response she wants. I usually have lunch with my kids so I would let your daughter have the preferred seat next to me. Perhaps she could sit at my table with me for the day. I give an award medal for STAR STUDENT. The student gets to wear the medal all day. I call home. I send E-Mail's home. I put their picture in the hallway. All kinds of intrinsic rewards to ilicit the right behavior. Be careful with punishments, they usually backfire in my opinion. The ones I use with chatty kids are, loss of recess time while they write (I will stop walking/talking around/in the classroom - 10 times) I had one little boy this year who was like your daughter . I just moved him to a table with kids that will not talk, even when you ask them to. Needless to say he does not talk anymore because they won't talk to him. Teachers need to figure it out. Give me a break, tell her to stop whining and start figuring it out for goodness sake. I bet the problem will stop when your dauhter gets the sense that the teacher cares about her. Then she'll stop because she won't want to upset her/him and will want to please them. That's pretty much the strings that I use to influence my little puppets. I truely love them and they like me too, its a fun place. Good luck. Mr T (yes mister) married father of 2 and a Kindergarten teacher
My 1st grade son is like this--very chatty and impulsive, constantly fidgiting, and it seems like he doesn't listen oftentimes. He's extremely extroverted, so being social, chatty, and interactive is expected of him, but it becomes a problem when he gets too excited and loses a lot of his self control/impulse control. You can tell him not to do something, and he understands why, and he'll genuinely seem to want to obey, but literally, within moments, he's doing the exact thing you told him not to do (which usually involved motion/fidgiting and/or talking; it's almost like he can't help himself, and he realizes what he's doing and knows immediately that there will be consequences, either if he's caught and faces discipline or if the laws of physics play out naturally).
For example, I told him just the other day not to run on the pavement outside after a photo shoot because his shoes are a little too big and he'd trip and fall. I told him this *multiple* times. I told him as his pace picked up into a speed walk, and I told him to stop running as he started running. What happened? He tripped and skinned up his hand. I said, did you think this would not happen? He sobbed, I just wanted to run.
You can tell him not to tip his chair as he sits in it AS HE'S TIPPING IT, and he'll nod okay while he continues to tip it without realizing he's doing it until you tell him to set it down. It's frustrating and irritating.
What I'm getting at here is a problem called Sensory Integration Disorder. It's where the developing nervous system of a child is either over or under stimulated in certain senses. My son has been "unofficially diagnosed" by his vision therapists who work with SID kids every day (as vision disorders are sometimes a part of SID), and they use a lot of therapy techniques with him to keep his hyperactivity and impulsiveness under control to get his vision therapy done. Apparently, he probably has proprioceptive (input to the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue) under stimulation, so he seeks movement and impact.
Upon getting more info about his from his vision therapist, I'll be seeking out an avenue to get him into the proper occupational therapy from here, but in the meantime, my husband and I are working with him at home with simple theraputic exercises that can be found on this really helpful site (remove the spaces I inserted to avoid the link being removed from this post):
http://www. sensory-processing-disorder. com/sensory-integration-activities. html
I've also noticed a lot of things influence how my son reacts to stimuli around him. If he watches fast-paced, loud, mindless cartoons (such as SpongeBob), his hyperactivity is almost uncontrollable, as it is with the types of food and drinks he has (processed and sugary foods, caffienated beverages are like loading him up with dynamite). He is also the type of child, like your daughter, that needs to be in a classroom with tons of structure and very little self-led, curiosity, learn-by-discovery methods, otherwise he'll go haywire. He was in a great private school last year in a small class of 12 other kids and a lot of discovery learning methods were used. He did alright there, I have no complaints, but he averaged two yellow cards per week (color-coded behavior cards). This year, he's in a magnet school in a class of 20 students and a teacher who is very firm and extremely structure oriented. There is a process for everything down to how pencils are sharpened. He is averaging two yellow cards per month now, and his teacher says he's a "model student." His first quarter report card was straight A's (and high A's too--98s and 100s). So he CAN listen, learn, retain, follow instructions, and even obey--but his whole environment has to be structured enough for him to do it, and he has to have the right leader (firm and unyeilding, but sensitive and understanding of his personality, which is very tender-hearted).
So anyway, I'd recommend checking out that site and seeing if any of those exercises might apply to your daughter's behavior, and maybe even get an evaluation with her pediatrician and see where to go from there. In the meantime, make sure your daughter knows where all boundaries are established at home and at school, knows the consequences for disobeying and crossing the boundaries, and *consistently* has the same discipline.
Two excellent posts. As a retired elementary school principal, I think both posters have excellent ideas.
I just want to add one thing. When you said, "We began disciplining (No TV, no playing outside with friends) her trying to correct the behavior." You really are doing more harm then good. In fact, when she gets home, the worst thing is to be punished! She needs to get outside and play!
Children of this age do not have the ability to recognize that the punishment they are getting is linked to something that happened hours earlier and then to learn from that. What you want is behavior change. To get that you need consistent, immediate reinforcement. The key words are immediate and consistent. What you do at home will not lead to behavioral change if your goal is to change her actions at school - maybe by age 9, but certainly not now. Eatfish has excellent ideas for what to do at school. And there are things you can do at home to help. Working on her behavior at home will carry over to the classroom. Also there are several wonderful sets of books that are meant to be read to the 4 to 7 year old child. A good example would be "know and follow rules." It can be found here - http://www.amazon.com/Follow-Rules-Cheri-Meiners-M-Ed/dp/1575421305/ref=pd_sim_b_4 and if you scroll down you will see other examples.
First of all, I am totally jealous of your chatty kids! My DD has a speech delay so we are trying so hard to get her to chat coherently. I love what eatfish007 said about teachers. It's important to work with kids instead of fighting them every step of the way to get them to do what you want. My DD's new prek teacher doesn't force them to do anything (unless it's a safety issue!) and now she has started going along with the program on her own.
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your reply. I love hearing from teachers! My son is in K so I really appreciated your insight. I am going to relax and the next time I get a complaint I am going to ask the teacher what she has done to correct the situation. Is there a way to find you if I have a question in the future? You seem to be a great source! My email is ***@****. Thanks!
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