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Unhappy or Tired 6 year old
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Unhappy or Tired 6 year old

Hi,
I am worried about my 6 year old son.  He has always been a sensitive sole, but recently, he seems more so.  He acts like a much younger child (bursts into tears not caring that he is amongst his friends at school), he wants to play with cuddly toys most of the time.  He is known to the school as a nice child but never rushes, so much so that the teacher will start teaching the other children even though my son is still sorting his 'stuff'out!  I am sure he is not mentally disabled but just on a different time frame to everyone else!  I am always saying to him, come on, speed up, hurry up, today, get a move on. mainly because he is sooo slow in doing anything.  He does get picked on at school, mainly because he is an easy target - he will burst into tears if anyone says anything to him. He has told me that it hurts his feelings.  My husband doesnt see it as a problem, just that my son needs to toughen up.  I may be reading too much into it.  I have a history of depression, is it hereditary?  Should i just not worry about it and all will be ok?  Unfortunately, because both of us work, my son doesnt get much of a break between school terms.  He goes to a sporty holiday programme, he loves it but is all go all the time.  So it maybe down to exhaustion.  But i have to keep working, i cant afford not to. I take my holiday when i can so he doesnt have to go to the programme but it doesnt always work out.  My son also gives up on things too easily, especially reading.  This maybe because the teacher doesnt give him enough time to do things, i have tried to talk to  her, but she just puts it down to my son being too slow.  I am writing this as i think of things so thats why it is abit disjointed! If you can give me any help I would be very grateful...
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Avatar_m_tn
By reading your post it sounds like your son still finds it hard to adjust to things going on around him due to his sensitive nature. It sounds as though the things going on around him make him feel totally overwhelmed. Your son reminds me alot of myself at that age, as i was myself, a really sensitive child and when refecting on the things i that occured during that time, realise that things were at a pace that was too fast for me, and found it extremely difficult to adapt. This could very well be a reason for the slow pace he's working at. (This happened to me too, i was so overwhelmed, it'd take me forever to do things because i was scared of getting things wrong, didn't really understand etc).

I must say i don't agree with your husbands view of him having to 'toughen up' as this can place more stress/anxiety on him and think your son sounds like the type of child that needs to adjust to things at his own pace, in order to feel comfortable (even gain the trust of others).

the holiday camp sounds like a good way to go as it helps to increase his communication skills and interactions with others however, at the same time be too much for him also. I work with children during the school holidays and there are some kids who go to before and after school care aswell as holiday care and can tell from experience that some of the kids don't want to be there.

To my parents credit, they were incredibly patient with me, and because of that, knew they had faith in me which made it easier to adapt to situations as i got older. I'm starting to dribble hahaha. in other words, just keep encouraging him and guiding him through and eventually his confidence will grow and he will continue to thrive as per normal development. All the best :)

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Avatar_n_tn
I am a kindergarten teacher in a classroom of 28.  I have been a kindergarten teacher for eight years.  I have taught my students to help each other out.  Some of them help out and some of them don't.  (There are jackets to unzip, book bags to hang up, homework to turn in.)  Sometimes none of them want to help out and I model positive behavior by personally going over and assisting the student.  

Will your son mind help in sorting his things out?  There are some children who are possessive of their belongings.  Talk to him first.  Is there someone in the class who can help him?  Usually there will be a couple of students who don't mind helping another student out.  Is he shy also?

To get the teacher to see your son in a different light start out by saying that you understand how hard it must be to deal with so many different personalities. Tell her you appreciate all the extra time she has given your son and you will like to talk about his progress how he is doing.  When she gets to the part of how slow he is to prepare for the day ask her if there is another student who can help him.  Maybe she can assign him a buddy who can help him move on to activities.  

Inform her of the after school program you have him enrolled in and your expectation that he will be successful.

As for not finishing projects encourage him to finish a project before beginning a new one.  I know it is easier said then done.  But it is so worth it at the end.

Personally speaking as a teacher I think it is rude of her to start teaching without your son.  I usually don't wait if a child is in the bathroom because they should have gone at home.

        
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I would work with your child's teacher. If they recommend some type of evaluation, I would encourage you to do it.  Not because it is right or wrong but because it is more information about your son to paint the whole picture.  There is something called motor planning that can cause a child to be slow at doing things.  This is part of the brain's messaging system and helps a child organize the thought to do something and then the motor coordination to do it.  How does your son do at bike riding, using scissors, his hand writing?  If given a new activity that is either gross or fine motor related, does he struggle a bit at first?  If he does a song with hand motions or finger play, does he have to look at the person next to him and is a little slow to get it?  That is motor planning stuff.  It has nothing to do with intelligence but is rather prossessing issue.  If this is the case, it will surface more and more as he gets older.  An occupational therapist assesses this.  Our school system has occupational therapists on staff for such evaluations and therapy recommendations or if needed.  (motor planning is part of the sensory system).  I have a sensitive souled child myself.  He feels things deeply and cares deeply.  He also cries easily.  With boys, peers do tend to be hard on the emotional children.  Toughen up is okay to a point.  But he underlying reasons for the sensitivity need to be looked at.  He may be trying very hard to keep it together at school (an enviroment he can't control and there are expectations placed on him like keeping up with everyone) and thus, when he gets upset, he cries easily because he is already stressed.  

I would approach his teacher as a team mate of hers and like you both have the exact same goal (which hopefully, you do) which is to help your son be successful and comfortable.  We've been so blessed with wonderful teachers and an excellent program.  They use a "busy box" in my son's kindergarten class.  They have certain things that they can't complete but in order to stay with the class, they put the unfinished item in the busy box.  The next day there is time to go back to the busy box and complete what isn't finished.  This takes some of the pressure off if something isn't completed at that exact moment and the class is moving on.  My son always tells me if he has something in the busy box to be completed the next day.  
If you are worried that he is tired, and a new school situation can tire a kid out a little more at first due to new expectations, try putting him to bed a little earlier.  We just did that because my kids were just a little cranky.  They go to bed 25 minutes earlier and it has really helped.  I would make sure your son is getting some physical activity.  Is he allowed to go outside during aftercare program?  If not, you might incorporate a little physical play time or evening swim lessons or something like that every night.  It helps with behavior and focas tremendously.  Anyway, good luck.  Your boy sounds very sweet and this is a transitional time for him getting used to school.  Best wishes to you both.
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