My 1st post here RE: My son having trouble at new preschool (Long) — The Bump
Pre-School

My 1st post here RE: My son having trouble at new preschool (Long)

I have posted about this on Parenting, so I apologize if this is a duplicate for some of you.  I just realized there was a "Pre-School" board.  At any rate, I will try to make this as short as possible.

DS1 is in his 3rd week at his new Pre-School.  Prior to that he was in a licensed home daycare that did a pre-school curriculum.  Our plan was to leave him there until it was time for Kindergarten.  We decided it was time to put him in a formal classroom setting.  He would be around kids his age and get an idea of what "big boy" school is like.  We were very optimistic.  He is a very social and outgoing child.

It's not been great at all so far.  I think he has had maybe 4 good days out of the last 2 weeks.  There seem to be 3 specific issues.  He is having trouble keeping his hands to himself.  He's been pushing while standing in line, smacking blocks out of kids hands, etc.  He has also thrown a couple of fits if his teacher asks him to sit down and do work and he wants to do something else.  He is also being obnoxious at quiet time.  Instead of laying down, he's being noisy.

We have no clue what is going on here.  My son is far from perfect and the fits are not new to us.  It's something we deal with at home.  The pushing and stuff is very frustrating.  He doesn't even really do that stuff w/ DS2. 

We have talked and talked and talked to him about these issues.  We did punish him a few times, but it doesn't seem to make much sense to punish him for something that happened at school.  He has already moved on from it and the teacher has given him an appropriate consequence for his action at the time that it occurred.  I bought the stuff to make a sticker chart today, although, I am not hopeful it will work.  I don't see him making a better choice in the moment at school simply b/c he won't get a sticker at home. 

For example, I told him on Friday that if he didn't behave at school, he wouldn't be allowed to go to the Halloween party the school was having that night.  He didn't have a good day, so I told him he couldn't go.  He got very upset and was angry with me.  However, not going to the party made no difference to him during the day when the issues were happening. 

I'm really sorry this is so long.  I don't know if this is normal or not.  I keep hoping it will get better and it's not.  I know that this was a big transition for him, but these behaviors are not ok, and he knows that.  Any advice or perspective would be great.

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Re: My 1st post here RE: My son having trouble at new preschool (Long)

  • Will the teacher work with you on a positive reinforcement plan? Maybe like a sticker chart at school (clearly that the other kids can't see). Teachers could take a minute at the beginning of each day (or you could) to spell out expectations and a goal for the day that your son helps set (i.e. I will keep my hands to myself; I will use my inside voice), and if your son met it, then he gets a sticker (or whatever) at the end of the day. Good week=some kind of other reward? Pencil, ice cream, temporary tattoo? 

    Also, can you "practice" at home? Like practice quiet time and praise him/do reward if he stays quiet for X amount of time? 

    I agree that punishing later isn't likely to help much. 

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  • I would focus less on trying to correct the behavior and more on trying to figure out what is causing the behavior. He has some need that is not being met - his behavior is an attempt to get that need met. Good luck, I'm sure it's very frustrating!

    DD 4yo DS 1yo
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  • imagecmeon_the_water:

    My first thought is that he really, really needs more time to settle in. He's been plunked into a class with classmates who have had months of "settling in time"- actually, many are probably there for their second year- so, he's at a pretty big disadvantage. Hopefully his teachers and school admin are giving him a little leeway in light of that.

    If he was in an in-home with younger children (and the other older kids went on to formal preschools), he's had to "play down" for awhile, so learning how to interact with children his age is a challenge (that he will overcome). Younger kids hit, use their hands "too much", push, throw fits. No wonder he's showing some of that behavior.:)

    There are plenty of kids that are still adjusting a month in- you need to keep talking about and praising good behavior. 4/10 days is still 40%- that's not really that awful, given his circumstances!

    How are his teachers handling his behavior at school? 

     

    His teachers are handling it appropriately.  I think the consequences are matching the actions.  I think once I explained where he came from, it helped them to understand better what might be going on. 

    I totally agree with your assessment of his previous place.  The kids "his age" were actually not even 4 yet.  This really is the first time that he's been around kids his own age.  I guess it would make sense that he would have to adjust to that. 

    You are also right in that this is in the middle of the school year.  I feel like we put him at such a disadvantage by waiting.  And to think, we weren't even going to move him.  It makes me feel awful.

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  • You are right in the thought that what you do at home is not going to change the behavior at school.  The teachers need to be the one to work with him in regard to what is going on at school.  You need to be aware of what they are doing so you can reinforce what they are doing while at home through conversations.  As far as the behavior, this is a huge change for your DS and its only been 3 weeks.  Most kids go through a short honeymoon phase and then they really test and test some more to see what they can and get away with while at school.  If the teachers are doing their job, he should start to settle down soon.  My DD went from a daycare center preschool to a PreK at the elementary school, the 1st 2 weeks she was a total angel and then for a few weeks, her true self showed and she was really testing the teachers.  I know the staff well since my older DD was in the class last year and we had a few conversations on ways to handle my DD - it worked and she has now made it past the testing phase with them.  Granted, she still has rought days but way more great days.  Good luck and have a conversation with the staff to make sure they are dealing with your sons behavior in a manner that will work for him - the same things don't work on all kids.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • imagelovely40:

    I would focus less on trying to correct the behavior and more on trying to figure out what is causing the behavior. He has some need that is not being met - his behavior is an attempt to get that need met. Good luck, I'm sure it's very frustrating!

    I do agree with this.  I mostly think it's a need for attention.  He is the type of kid that wants attention, and he doesn't care what form it comes in.  Even if it's negative, it's still attention.  I'm not sure what to do about that though.  I think we spend a lot of time together outside of school and work as a family.  Maybe more one on one time with DH and I?

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  • imagecmeon_the_water:
    imageaforst:
    imagecmeon_the_water:

    My first thought is that he really, really needs more time to settle in. He's been plunked into a class with classmates who have had months of "settling in time"- actually, many are probably there for their second year- so, he's at a pretty big disadvantage. Hopefully his teachers and school admin are giving him a little leeway in light of that.

    If he was in an in-home with younger children (and the other older kids went on to formal preschools), he's had to "play down" for awhile, so learning how to interact with children his age is a challenge (that he will overcome). Younger kids hit, use their hands "too much", push, throw fits. No wonder he's showing some of that behavior.:)

    There are plenty of kids that are still adjusting a month in- you need to keep talking about and praising good behavior. 4/10 days is still 40%- that's not really that awful, given his circumstances!

    How are his teachers handling his behavior at school? 

     

    His teachers are handling it appropriately.  I think the consequences are matching the actions.  I think once I explained where he came from, it helped them to understand better what might be going on. 

    I totally agree with your assessment of his previous place.  The kids "his age" were actually not even 4 yet.  This really is the first time that he's been around kids his own age.  I guess it would make sense that he would have to adjust to that. 

    You are also right in that this is in the middle of the school year.  I feel like we put him at such a disadvantage by waiting.  And to think, we weren't even going to move him.  It makes me feel awful.

    OMG, please don't think I was trying to make you feel bad! You did a great thing getting him into school! Goodness knows, it's much better that he's going through this now, and not in kindergarten. It's just that he's (naturally) being compared to kids who have already had that time to adjust- you weren't there to see the chaotic first few weeks. I guarantee he wouldn't be the only kid who couldn't sit still for quiet time if we were looking at September's class! :)

    One of my son's BFF's last year came in mid-year, and woah. That January, we had 3 incident reports all related to this kid "beating up" on our son. Several times at p/u, he was busy throwing epic temper tantrums over something or another. He was a biter, too- that was probably the worst- I'd much rather hear about little-so-and-so bopping a block out of my son's hand, than have to take him to the pedi because little-so-and-so ripped 8 little teeth marks through his skin! (So, hey, things could be worse? ;)

    He ended up fitting in really well, but, it did take him a little while- we ended up going to his birthday party and my son was crushed when they moved over the summer. Obviously the rough start didn't hamper things much!

    No, I don't think you were trying to make me feel bad!!!   I've been having a very hard time with this for some reason.  I want to do what we can to help him, but I'm also worried about overreacting to something that, like you said, very well may work itself out.

    It's hard when you love them so much and they are struggling and you can't do anything to help.  Trust me, I have told DH so many times in the last 2 weeks that I'm so glad we did this now.  I'm hopeful this will make his transition to Kindergarten easier on him.

    You are right, it could always be worse.  He's not a bad kid, but I'm worried they will think he is.  I really do appreciate your input.  It's nice to have some outside perspective that isn't my overdramatic mother!

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  • That's part of my problem, I guess...I can't tell.  I think his teacher knows that we are very interested and concerned about how he is doing.  So, I'm not sure if that is why I hear so much about his particular behavior each day.  She will say that it wasn't just him that was pushing, that others got in trouble too.  I can also see that other kids are on the lower colors, so he's not the only one not having a great day.

    I don't know if I'm just being sensitive, as Fred said, because it's hard to hear negative things about your children. I just can't tell if she's telling me so much detail b/c she thinks I want to know or b/c it's so "awful" compared to the other children's behavior.  The first week I think she could tell I was frustrated with his actions and she said "Well, it is his first week."  I felt like she was trying to make an excuse, or offer a suggestion as to why this might be happening. 

    I'm afraid I'm way overthinking this, but I can't tell!!! I think giving it a couple weeks and then addressing with her if she sees any long term issues is a good idea. Now I feel like I've set this expectation of hearing every little thing he does wrong. I guess I'll need to work on changing that too! 

    As far as quiet time, he always had nap time at daycare, so that isn't new for him.  He knows he needs to be quiet.  I'm not sure if he's just testing or what the deal is.

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  • I don't know if it is normal. My boys.. 3, 4, and 6... have never behaved this way in school, heck they don't behave that way on playdates or anywhere but at home. My middle son started preschool at the end of the year due to his speech delay and he always listened to his teacher and never pushed, kicked, or touched another student. I think I would just work closely with the teacher, hopefully it is a transition issue and maybe try setting expectations right before you go into school on we keep hands to ourself, etc... I still tell my kids what I expect from them when we go places. But really I would just work closely/communicate with his teacher and hopefully things will get better.
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • imagersd12:
    I don't know if it is normal. My boys.. 3, 4, and 6... have never behaved this way in school, heck they don't behave that way on playdates or anywhere but at home. My middle son started preschool at the end of the year due to his speech delay and he always listened to his teacher and never pushed, kicked, or touched another student. I think I would just work closely with the teacher, hopefully it is a transition issue and maybe try setting expectations right before you go into school on we keep hands to ourself, etc... I still tell my kids what I expect from them when we go places. But really I would just work closely/communicate with his teacher and hopefully things will get better.

     

    Different children respond to new situations/transitions in different ways. I think it is pretty common for some kids to have a rough first month in a new preschool. Don't worry OP, it will work itself out and your son will get into the groove and respond better when he feels more comfortable in his new school. Transitions can be really tough on kids.

  • Maybe he is really missing his old daycare provider and perhaps he got more one on one attention there and he is missing that? If that's the case I'm not sure what you can do about it other than help him express his sadness over missing the other daycare provider. Try "playing school" with him at home. This works like magic for my DD when it comes to helping her work out feelings that she/i didn't even know she needed to work out. Let him be the teacher and you be the student - it's a great way to figure out what's going on at school from his perspective. It's amazing what you can figure out by listening to their pretend play. Don't beat yourself up either - we all do the best we can and it sounds like you are an awesome momma. :)
    DD 4yo DS 1yo
  • I agree completely with cmeon_the_water.

    I would try to schedule a conference with the teacher and come up with some sort of plan together. I'm sure being in a school setting is a huge adjustment for him. Any behavior corrections really need to take place at school where the behavior is occurring.

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  • imagejallascalla:

    imagersd12:
    I don't know if it is normal. My boys.. 3, 4, and 6... have never behaved this way in school, heck they don't behave that way on playdates or anywhere but at home. My middle son started preschool at the end of the year due to his speech delay and he always listened to his teacher and never pushed, kicked, or touched another student. I think I would just work closely with the teacher, hopefully it is a transition issue and maybe try setting expectations right before you go into school on we keep hands to ourself, etc... I still tell my kids what I expect from them when we go places. But really I would just work closely/communicate with his teacher and hopefully things will get better.

     

    Different children respond to new situations/transitions in different ways. I think it is pretty common for some kids to have a rough first month in a new preschool. Don't worry OP, it will work itself out and your son will get into the groove and respond better when he feels more comfortable in his new school. Transitions can be really tough on kids.



    Geez, my opinion. But as a parent I would be concerned about this behavior with MY kids. We just moved... so I get transitions and change. And I count my blessings my boys act out at home and not at old/new schools. At this point I would work closely with the preschool teacher and set expectations with my almost 5 yr old, I would even consider sitting in on a class too.
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • OP,

    Just wanted to say that I have been where you are.  My DS's teacher feels like I really want to know every.single.detail of my son's day and every.single.time he breathed wrong.  Therefore, she tells me everything he does that's not perfect.  When he first went into this current class, had some challenges with "tackling" his friends (he's obsessed with football like his daddy, so not helpful).  After a month or so, we were able to curb this issue and I've been hearing less and less about these types of things.  My DS really did need to adjust to his new room and what the new rules were.  Also, like your DS, he went from the oldest in his room to the youngest.  That's a challenge in itself.  Honestly, your DS isn't doing anything alot of other kids don't do.  I would bet $$ the teacher feels like she's helping by giving you all these details.  I was getting pretty defensive over it myself and was about at my wits end when it FINALLY stopped.  Now, I rarely hear about it and when I occasionally do, it's not so bad since it's not a common thing. I feel for you because I could have written your post last spring.  It will get better.  You did the right thing putting him in this class.  He and you will both be better for it :) 

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