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Frustration in 3.6 year old boy

How can I handle my 3.6 year old son, he started nursery school two months back, but there were complains from the school that he was restless all the time, will not obey the teacher, does not write when asked to write, all the children are practically the same age as he is.  He also bullies other younger children, he pulls and pushes them, and even scratched a girl's face.  Once he even hit an older boy in another class.  I fail to understand why my lovely child is behaving like this, at home, he is naughty and disobedient at times, which is like any normal child.  He plays well with the neighbour's children, but nothing as bad a scratching anyone's face.  The summer holiday's started, and I was advised by friends send him to summer school, so he could socialize with other kids his age.  I have done that, and even warned the teachers of his behaviour, since I did not want anyone's child hurt.  But surprisingly, its more than 20 days, since he joined and not a single complaint about him.  I even checked with the summer school teacher she says, he's such a lovely concerned child, yes he is fidgety, does not like to sit in one place for long, and does not like to write, but hitting and beating has not happened.  Now Summer School is getting over soon, and Nursery school will start in 2 weeks, I have not choice but keep him at home.  Am now sure how he's going to behave at Nursery again, and why does he do this ?  The Nursery teacher also said he cries alot in class too.  Am at my wits on what to do, its not easy to change school in the middle of the term.
4 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Your boy sounds EXACTLY like my boy at that age.  I will tell you at 6, he is now a different kid than he was then . . . but he was diagnosed at 4 with sensory integration disorder.  Don't panic when I tell you this . . . it has not been a bad thing in our lives.  He just had trouble coping at times and preschool was the place we saw it first.  At home, kids cope better because they are used to the enviroment and have some control over it.  At school, it is a different story.  

At 3, we had our son evaluated by an occupational therapist and it was inconclusive.  At 4, we had him evaluated again and it was clear.  He does occupational therapy which is like play therapy that addresses the nervous system and works on behavioral things.  Now at 6, most can't tell that he has sensory integration disorder as we intervened early.  

Sensory involves the nervous system and how the brain processes things.  Google sensory and see what you think.  It is hard at 3 because kids are so variable and it is easy to write off what is going on to many other things.  It gets clearer as time goes on.  One thing that keeps my boy very calm is what they call "heavy work" in the sensory world.  (google this for ideas).  This includes things like going to a park and doing everything possible there----------- running, swinging, climbing, jumping, rolling, skipping, etc.  Jumping on a trampoline, swimming is the perfect exercise to quiet an over active nervous system.  And what I didn't realize is that these types of activities have an after affect that results in a child being more calm in a classroom.  We do this stuff just about every day and it helps my son maintain well in school.  

I have a zillion ideas for a preschool classroom if you are interested as well.  Lots of things that are no big deal for the teacher that really help.  Simply giving choices is helpful.  Then the child feels like they have some control over the situation and are more apt to comply.  Circle time sitting issues?  Well, do something active with him just prior to circle time (jumping jacks, marching in place, have him move a couple of books in a bag across the room, erase a dry erase bourd, wall push overs (game where you try to push the wall over by using your weight), leap frog race, etc.  Then ask him where he wants to sit.  Does he want to sit in the circle with the group or would he like to pull up a chair outside the group? (or whatever).  Then he can still participate but in a way that he prefers.  

The physical aspect may be because he is overwhelmed at school.  Work on teaching personal space boundaries, etc.  Possibly consider another school to see if the issue follows.  Good luck
Avatar universal
Is there any chance there might be a bully at the nursery? Or possibly the teachers are overloaded and too busy to listen to him? Well-behaved kids typically only start lashing out when they're angry & defensive about something. Something in the environment has to be causing him to act this way. Have you tried talking to him? I'm frequently surprised by the stories my 3.5 yr-old tells me about his preschool, but only if I take the time to ask him to tell me about the other kids. Are you living somewhere that you have a choice of other nurseries to send him to? It would be very interesting to see if he remains happy and well-adjusted somewhere else; then you'll know for certain that it was something at 1st nursery. I'd really encourage you to try again somewhere different; the socialization they get from a couple days/week is so beneficial at this age!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your responses, especially thank you to "Specialmom", after reading your advice, I called my son's class teacher to tell her, how she could help my son get along with others in the class.  Surprisingly, during his summer school, I never received a single complaint about him beating other kids.  Infact, his teacher told me he was a very loving and caring child.  Got all the arts and crafts done by him, all were done beautifully.  Am not sure how they handled him.  Just two days ago, at home, he bit one of his friends, I was really angry with him.  How do I handle a situation like this.  It's so shameful when other kids don't do the same.I liked your advise on giving him choices and helping him drain out his energy prior to sit down job.  He loves running and playing, but will just not sit and write or draw or colour.  How can I help him here.   Pls help
973741 tn?1342346373
Well, with a 3 year old, you will find that a lot of boys don't want to sit down to write, color or draw.  My boy didn't because it was slightly hard for him and he avoided all things that were difficult.  What I would do for writing and drawing is make it an interactive game for him.  You want him to get comfortable doing it.  Get a chalk board and some chalk and a damp tissue.  You draw a shape on the board with the damp tissue and it will leave an outline.  He then traces the shape over it.  Shapes come before writing.  Then you can do the same with letters.  Then you can draw a shape lightly with chalk and he can trace over that.  Then encourage him to copy it next to it.  Chalk boards are fun.  HE erases it as this is stregth building for the hand and wrist.  Dry erase boards are also fun to kids.  You can do the tracing and copying thing there as well.  You can also draw a line down the center of the chalk board or dry erase board and he draws on one side and you on the other.  And you talk him through drawing something.  Or he can copy what you drew.  It will build his confidence.  Grip is a biggie too.  If a child has any issue (mine sure did) with grip, it makes writing difficult.  Get a pencil grip.  You can get them at a teacher supply store (check your yellow pages or search on line or call a school near by and ask them where one is).  An excellent, excellent program is "Handwriting without tears".  It is really great.  We get our books through our occupational therapy office but you can get them at the teacher supply store or on ebay.  I didn't want to pay for all of the things in the program (wooden letters to show and chalk board) so I just used what I had around the house and got the work books and pencil with grip.  A short pencil like a golf pencil is just right.  The shorter it is the more they will use the proper grip.  

Before doing an activity with you, have him run around a lot!  Then sit down for about 10 minutes to do these activities.  That is about the attention span of many 3 year olds.  That is why a preschool is broken up into very short increments of activities.  So, 10 minutes is realistic to expect from a 3 year old.  But everything must be fun and a game.  We did refer to it as homework time, but it was always fun.  And when you do this at home, it will carry over at school/daycare.  He'll have more confidence to do writing/drawing at school.  But lots of boys do not love such activities.

Biting is a big big no no.  I'd make it a rule that if this occurs, end of play date.  He must have an immediate time out.  Ask him how he felt when he  bit the boy.  He must have been very upset.  Then tell him that his biting hurt and upset the other boy just like he was upset. This builds a little empathy because he can associate his bad feeling to causing it in another boy.  But it does call for firm discipline when he hurts another.  And yes, it is embarressing when our kids do things that are so drastic.  I think it helps to remember that no child is perfect (or any adult for that matter.)

Good luck
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