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Avatar universal

6 year olds behavior

I have wonderful 6 year old daughter she's in the first grade and very loving. I pregnant with my 2nd child now and would like to get my daughters behavior underline control before the new baby arrives. All this has been going on since the beging of the school year. She talks out a lot in class. She refuses to be quite and listen to the teacher it started out being maybe once a week we would get a bad report but since January its been 3 to 4 times a week. She is a very talkative little girl. But she knows when she needs to listen and not talk. It's like she just doesn't care anymore. We have tried everything, spanking, time outs, taking things away, even grounding her to her room. Nothing works. She's started it at home now too down right rufusing to listen to us when we tell her what to do. We tried talking and getting down on her level she just cries and says she doesn't know y she does it. The teacher suggested am after school activity so I enrolled in karate. She loves it but its still not making a difference. We have run put of options here. Everything we do has little to no effect. My husband is a middle school teacher and we tried every trick they taught him school still nothing. We have tried postive reinforcments when she's good nothing. I've tried telling her is she's good all week I'll take her for McDonald's. Still nothing. I don't know what else to do here I would gladly take any advice u might have. Please help me here!
8 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
Is this her first all day experience?  My sons never went to a full day of school until first grade is why I ask and it can be a big change for some kids.  Did she do fine in kindergarten and preschool??  This is new behavior related to going into first grade?  She's still 6 which means she has a late spring or even a summer birthday-----  so, is she young for the class as well?  When does she turn 7??  I have a first grader that turns 7 this month----  he is middle of the road in his class regarding age with at least half the kids being older.  That makes a difference in the early years for how one child compares to the next.  

My son had a lot of adjustment to first grade this year----  I found extra sleep really makes a huge difference.  Even just an extra half hour a night makes or breaks his behavior.  So, I'd think about if you can put her to bed a little earlier.  I also think that after that long day that kids do need movement and activity.  I'd get your daughter outside (Or indoors to someplace that you can do it in) and get physical exercise for her.  Run, jump, climb, swing, ride bikes/scooters, jump on trampolines, run races, kick soccer balls, hang off monkey bars, climb a rock wall, do gymnastics, swim!!!  Go to parks, gyms that have indoor pools, play with neighbors outside.  Do as much of this as you can and really, make it every day.  It is very telling to me that the teacher suggested an after school activity/karate.  Your daughter needs to blow off steam and providing outlets for her is essential.  You may not see improvement over night but these things do calm a child and benefit them.  So, do it whether it makes things perfect right away or not.  
Being quiet in class is really a social skill.  She's not yet learned that it is rude to talk while the teacher is talking and not being a good friend to talk so that her friends in class can't hear the teacher.  It should be presented to her as a social skill.  We don't talk while other people are talking.  Period.  We don't make it so our friends can't hear the teacher.  Period.  Friends will get mad and we should always try and want to be a good friend.  
There is a social story we used with my son for this (and yes, they use these for kids with autism which my son does not have but this book was very helpful)----  it was about being quiet in class.  It drove home the point that if you talk when you aren't suppose to, Sally can't hear what she needs to hear.  You are not taking care of Sally or being a good friend.  This usually resonates with young kids believe it or not.  

You could try a voice volume system------  we use it at home and ironically when we started school, the whole school uses it.  Basically it goes like this---  volume 1-- silence, 2-- whisper, 3-- normal speaking voice, 4-- outside playground voice, and 5-- emergencey-- FIRE! voice.  She should be reminded that whenever the teacher is talking it is always voice volume 1.  The teacher could have a card on it with a one on it and hold it up to her if she starts talking.  At school, we never use voice number 4 unless we are outside.   So, helping her understand the different volumes (act them out for her) and when to use them (church, volume 1--------  at the park, volume 4, at the dinner table, volume 3, etc.)  might help her
You can NOT discpline a 6 year old for what happens at school.  It is way too after the fact and does not accomplish anything.  It has to be immediate and so -----------  what does the TEACHER do at school to address this.  

At home, I'd look for natural consequences to help.  If she speaks when she shouldn't or interrupts, ignore her completely.  If she handles that appropriately, praise her and address her/answer her.  If she yells, tell her you will not talk to her until she is using a level 3, normal speaking voice.  If she will not listen to you--------  give her one warning "I'm going to take X away (and make this personal and tough-----  I've used the sacred pillow my son sleeps with every night----  get them where it hurts) if you do X again".  And then when she does X again, "Oh, so sorry.  I must take X away now".  Go get it and put it where she can't get it.  Keep it there for a while.  Direct consequence for undesirable behavior.  

I do let my kids know that I am the boss in our house.  I am the keeper of all things like they want.  Food, activities, hugs/affection, etc.  They'll have to respect me and what I say.  I've never spanked my kids.  The book "love and logic" by Charles Fey and Jim Fey is really helpful (they are a father and son psychologist team) and gives many good suggestions.  There is also 123 Magic that is a good one for helping to find ways to direct behavior.  

good luck.  
973741 tn?1342342773
Oh, one other thing I did with my boys regarding school is I'd have a period of time at our house each day in which they could only talk to me or each other if they raised their hand and were 'called on'.  I made a game out of it but it helped them get the idea of what it is like in school.  Worth a try to help her understand the dynamics of the classroom setting.  We had fun with it at home, my boys thought it was funny and both are good little hand raisers when at school now.  
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
    Specialmom has excellent points.  I want to stress her last post about learning at home how to act in the classroom.
     First and foremost - at this age there is nothing that you can do to punish her for what she does at school ...because it won't work.  Maybe when she is 10, certainly not 6.  At this age any behavioral change modification must be immediate and consistent!  To do something to her for something she did hours earlier is a waste of time because she does not have the capability to link these things together.    Its up to the teacher to deal with this at school.  But as specialmom points how you can work with her at home to change her behavioral patterns.    And this is also why your husbands ideas are not working.  What ever he found works with middle school kids won't necessarily work with 6 year olds (except for consistency and immediate action).
   In fact, the worse thing to be doing now is to be punishing her for whats happening at school.  You have a second child on the way.  I am sure she is wondering how she is gonna fit into all of this - and when she gets home from school, she gets punished?  I think I can understand why she is getting worse.
  For behavioral change to happen at this age, the reward or punishment must be immediate and consistent. While positive consequences are great to tell a 6 year old that if you are good for a week - this will happen - just won't work.   And the experts say it can take almost 3 weeks of this reinforcement to effect a change in behavior.  Frankly, she needs to feel good about coming home.  Not getting smiley faces, and then possibly dreading coming home after a rough day at school is not fair to her.  When she is about 10, its a whole different matter.  Talk about her school day.  Praise her if she gets smiley faces.  If she doesn't - talk about it briefly (perhaps briefly problem solve it) and move on.  As a school principal I was always upset if my primary grade teachers made the kids take home daily "smiley faces".  Certainly, it was important to have some kind of immediate reinforcement in class.  But I always felt it amounted to some kind of torture to make them take it home since it couldn't help the situation.  Makes me wonder a bit about how experienced the teacher is.  
   Couple of last thoughts.  She may be too young for the class as specialmom noted.  Have the teacher compare her age to the others in the class.  How did she do last year?  Is this problem only related to this year?  If so then the pregnancy and the teacher could also be part of the problem.  If she had similar problems last year, then maybe after you have tried specialmoms ideas - you could check up on something like ADHD.  But I have a feeling it is more due to the new baby coming (just cause I have seen this happen multiple times on this forum).
    By the way, the love and logic book that specialmom mentioned is great.  But for this age, I kind of like  "SOS Help for Parents," by Lynn Clark as the initial one and then moving into love and logic.
      This was kind of a rambling post.  Hope it is helpful.  I certainly can understand your frustration.
Avatar universal
She was born in Aug but there's a few othet kids in her class that r the same age as her. And it isn't her first time being in school all day I've worked the night shift at work for 4 years now so she's been in all day day care since she was 2. We had some problems but again nothing like this. And she started this before we even knew I was pregnant. And I tell her all the time that mommy and daddy's love grows with a lil brother or sister so she knows we r not replacing her. We have the volume system at home and she does it at home, I don't know what they do at school or y she doesn't follow what we do at home at school. All I know they do at school is a card system ( green for good, yellow for warning ect ) I praise her when she's good and give her a piece of chocolate for being good on those days. She's plays outside 2 to 3 times a week and goes to bed every night by 8 30 at the latest I usually try to get her to bed at 8. If I put her in bed any earlier she wakes up at 5 am and cant get back to sleep. I've read the SOS book and followed them to a t. It's never worked. I'll try the books u said and see if they help. I really feel like a bad parent her. When it was only once maybe twice a week we didn't punish we talked about when got home she understood y she shouldn't do what she did and them we moved on it wasn't untill it got to 4 times a week that we started punishing her. When she got home. The teacher says she's really smart for age and tends to finish work before the rest of the class I suggested giving her am extra sheet to do but she will still finish it before the rest of the class finishes there one. I don't want to make her feel like she's being punished for being bright. At home we do take things away if she doesn't listen like her blanket she sleeps with every night or her favorite toy its like it doesn't have any effect honestly tho she doesn't do a whole lot she's not supposed to at home the only problem we have is interrupting us really
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
   Thanks for the extra information.  It does change things.
Is so hard to really know what is going on without being there.  I can read between the lines to some extent, but its still not like being there.  However, you are there.  I suggest you try and visit the school and see what is going on in the classroom.  And I think that eventually, you may want to pull the principal into this discussion.  Why?  Well, I am beginning to get the picture that you have a really smart child who is bored and a teacher that doesn't know how to deal with this.  I don't blame her.  It took me a while to figure that out.  And ya, the extra work sheet (at that age) will not work.   Reason for getting the principal involved now is really for next year - you want a teacher that might be a better fit.  And you want to place that in the principals mind before the classes are assigned.
   The green, yellow card system is pretty standard.  Its what you do (as a teacher) with it.  If all you do is hand out cards - nothing is going to change.
    I repeat - punishing her at this age for what is going on at school is counter productive.  Talk about it.  Work on learning new behaviors.
    You say you tried the SOS method.  No where does she talk about taking away the childs blanket or toy.  Its always a timeout.  A very constant and immediate timeout.  What I can't remember is if she states how long it takes that system to work.  I do know from other sources that it takes about 3 weeks of constant, immediate consequences to change behavior.  A smart child will quickly figure out that saying "that doesn't bother me" means the parents panic and move on to other things.
     I also wonder if you are doing the night shift (thats hard) if possibly the consistent part of this is not always being followed up by your husband?
     You might want to investigate the "Learning to get along" series of books.  They are aimed at the 4-7 year old child and make a wonderful night time story/discussion item.  Check them out here.  The Amazon site also lists other books in the series.  http://www.amazon.com/Follow-Rules-Cheri-Meiners-M-Ed/dp/1575421305/ref=pd_sim_b_4
     As far as interrupting you at home.  You might want to try the ole raise your hand if you want to talk.  Basically, trying to ingrain that for school.  Its crazy I know.  And I certainly wouldn't do it all the time.  Pick just certain times and for not real long periods.  If she interrupts without raising her hand - ignore her (or give her the signal to raise her hand).  You could also use it as a timeout.  If she is interrupting too much - then you go to a raise your hand timeout for 6 minutes.  After 6 min. it stops until she breaks the non-interrupting rule and then you repeat.  Good luck!
Avatar universal
I know it doesn't say anything about taking things away I was just pointing out that I try that too. With SOS we did it about 2 mos before I finally gave up. My husband does follow up with what I'm already doing. I made an appt with the principal to talk to her about my daughter and I will try to raising the hand thing and see if it works. I'm really trying here I want a happy well behavied child before the new one comes. She's happy as far as that goes. I do appreciate all ur advice
973741 tn?1342342773
In truth, I also tried the sos book and it didn't really help me that much with my kids.  My kids just didn't do well with time out.  I use the time out method that the love and logic program (I went through actual training over a 10 week period for love and logic along with follow up sessions . . .  loved it!)  uses-----------  it is a little different.  It includes the empathetic statement "so sorry" as you gently lead the child to their room and as you get to the room and close the door, you say "you can come out when you are happy".  I've used that a bit with my younger son with success.  

Natural consequences worked much better for me.  A reminder that my son has baseball practice in an hour and it would be so sad if I could take him because he didn't follow the rules.  Or, my kids love to ride the bus in the morning.  I don't have to get upset as they are moving slowly, I simply say "I'd be so sad for you if you missed the bus and I had to drive you, which costs 2 dollars".  My kids put a move on because they are motivated to ride the bus and not have me take money.  If I want them to get ready for bed without a fuss, I say "if pj's are on and backpacks ready to go by the door by X time, then I will read a story while you drink chocolate milk."  Then if they are ready, we do this thing that the love.  If not, then we don't . . . and I mention that we are going to start bed time 15 minutes early the next night to make sure we can be on time.  AND, this is key-----  I ALWAYS follow through.  If my kids yell while I'm driving, I pull over.  I say not one word------  and I just sit on the side of the road.  I've only had to do it once to be honest as I simply say "I can't drive if you are fighting, I'm going to have to pull over". They stop immediately.  

so, I actually did find love and logic to apply to my kids of age 6 and 8 and our school uses it as their structure with kids.  Our teachers ask "what do you want to do about it" if someone says that they forgot their homework.  That gets kids thinking and solving their own problems.  They begin it with kindergarteners.  

Ha, I guess I'm a big advertisement for that program--------  but it really has worked well for my kids and other parents I know.  The 1-2-3 Magic book is another that got good results.

And I know the SOS book is well liked but truthgfully, it didn't work for me. Find what works for your child--------  they are all different.  good luck and don't give up!!  He'll get it, I promise,
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
   I think the appointment with the principal is a good idea.  I would try to make the meeting about your concerns for next year as your daughter has been having some problems with boredom which may have led to behavioral issues.  If the issue does get around into whats going on in the classroom now - be a little gentle.  Maybe ask the principal if he has ever been in the room and noticed how your daughter is doing?  It really is very hard for you to do so and its pretty hard to work with your daughter to help the situation if you don't know where the problem is.  In other words, do she interrupt all the time - only when she is bored or excited or ?  Do other kids interrupt the teacher all the time and how does the teacher handle that?   Actually, you might want to (if you haven't done so) talk very specifically with the teacher so you can get  better feeling for what is going on.
   I do agree with specialmoms assessment of love and logic.  Might be interesting to know if the school has ever looked into using their ideas.
  Its kind of a tough time for all of your family now with everybody working and its certainly going to get a bit more hectic.  Make sure you all get some good "together" time.
   Keep us posted.  Best wishes.
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