Helping with behavior issues

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Helping with behavior issues
8
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 5:10pm

How do you help your student "conform and follow the rules" without squelching their enthusiasm for school?  I am struggling to help my 5 year old, who is having a really hard time transitioning to kindergarten.  She was in a daycare that did pre-k, so academically she is just fine, probably ahead of a portion of her class. She has always been a bit of a handful growing up, from colic at 6 weeks, to getting into any and everything at her in-home daycare at 2, but the last two years she has definitely flourished and gotten better, but she still has her challenges.  So I guess I didn't realize how big of a change it would be for her entering kindergarten, she's been doing worksheets, and projects and all that stuff for a while now.  But the first week she came home every day complaining she didn't like the new school, she had no friends, she wanted to go back to her old school.  The end of the first week she got into trouble for being excessively loud in the classroom and in the hallway, and constantly interrupting the teacher, which is something we have been working on at home constantly.  Second and third week, it was taking stuff off the teacher's desk, not listening to directions, this week, its hiding under the table when visitors were in the room, playing and trying to scare people in the bathroom (which is a game her and her dad play at home, and we've explained is not appropriate at school), just lots of stuff.  Yesterday was a particularly bad day for her in the morning, I got an email from the teacher at lunch about it.  Then I got one at the end of the day saying she had a fantastic afternoon, it was light night and day.  DH came home last night so that I could spend some one on one time with her, she's the middle child and when DH is gone a lot (which is a lot) she tends to misbehave more.  We spent some good quality time together last night, talked, painted our nails together, hoping that would help a bit if she was just trying to get some attention.  But today I got another email from the teacher that said :

I'm sorry I keep having to be the bearer of bad news :smileysurprised:(. I'd love to tell you she had a great day, but it was another hard day. She was really testing the limits today. If I revisited a rule with the whole class, she would immediately do the opposite and do whimper noises when I gave her warnings.

BUT it was a hard day for almost everyone, not just Emma. I don't know if it's the weather the changing of the seasons or what, but they have all been a little wild this week.

and then she explained her new reward system for the whole class.  I just don't know what to do.  We have tried positive reinforcement at home, and I will try a new technique starting tonight.  Negative reinforcement has NEVER worked on her at all.  I am just at a lose on how to help her, obviously I know she needs to conform to certain things, but I don't want to completely squash her spirit also.  Her teacher has been great about trying to work with me to figure out ideas to help her in the classroom, but I am just plain out of ideas at this point.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 6:05am
Just be consistent and follow through. Sounds like its am adjustment issue. Not sure when u started school. Here we started month ago but just had our first full week 2 weeks ago so kids still getting used to new teacher. She maybe testing some limits and sounds like others in the class are so just stay consistent. If u let something slide 1 day she will do it again. She could also be trying for attention. My sister has a behavior issue kid and he threives on the attention he gets even if it's from being bad. My dh has a work schedule where back to school is very busy for him
And he is working 6 10 hour days. It's hard on all of us. Boys miss him and when they see him it's right before bed or early in he morning or on Sunday his only day off and he is wipped. I do see them
Act out more over the change. Maybe some daddy and me time will her too. Again it could be a call for attention and while u don't want to reinforce it by giving it to her.
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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 12:38pm

Thanks, yes, they've been in school just about a month now.  She has always tested limits and been a bit of stinker, and she goes in cycles where she is really good for a while and then she goes back to testing again.  She has gotten much more anxious since starting kindergarten, and being the middle child, she does like that extra attention.  We had another good talk last night, I told her we're going to try a new tactic and reward system.  I got a bag of candy corn yesterday, told her we'll do a new theme each month, candy corn is for Halloween.  We are going to decorate a gravy jar this weekend, but every day she keeps her pin on a 4 at school, she gets to put 4 candy corn in the jar, if she's really good and goes up to a 5, she'll get 5 candy corn.  And when its full, she gets a special treat.  I haven't come up with the treat yet, its going to depend on how long it takes to get the jar filled up I guess, I tried to pick a small jar at first to give her faster reinforcement, if that makes sense. 

So I gave her a gentle reminder this morning to make good choices and pointed out her new reward jar and told her she'd get to put her candy corn in it when she got home tonight if she had a good day and she lit up, :smileyvery-happy: so I hope its enough to carry her through the day! 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 1:17pm
We the jar thing filled it with marbles got certain number for certain things. Worked really well. When it was filed he could cash them in for a reward. Should roll ha back out now that the 4 year old is testing. Good luck hope it worke
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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 4:52pm

well, got this email from the teacher today:

AWESOME day today! A few minor bobbles but nothing to write home about! We got a new student this morning so I didn't have a chance to start the gold coin system with her, but she was very helpful with him. She explained everything to him and showed him around. It was great! If she can do that again tomorrow, I'll let her move up to a 5!

So, I am happy and we'll have a good evening, I actually picked up some silly putty at the art store when I was there in case she had a good day!  So we'll keep working every day and see how it goes.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Fri, 09-28-2012 - 10:22am
Make sure she has a good breakfast with lots of protein. It has more staying power than carbs.

Ask her and her teacher if she is stimulated enough. If she covered the material last year she may be bored and finishing early so that she doesn't have enough to do. The answer to this is NOT to give her more of the same, but rather to give her harder work that is at a higher level. She sounds like a bright and inquisitive kid who needs lots of stimulation to keep her happy.

You may also want to go and sit in the back of the class and observe. It kind of sounds like this is a new teacher, who is having a hard time controlling the whole class. She may need some mentoring from a more experienced teacher. Sitting in the back would let you see if it is just your kid, or everyone because she is not consistent. Which, if it is her, you can gently ask her to be more consistent with everyone, as it will pay off with your daughter too.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Fri, 09-28-2012 - 11:32am

Tracey, I have a little limit-testing rebel, too.  I find that the difficult behavior tends to spike around growth spurts, and that it helps moods to try to have a good glycemic index in their diets.  GL.

 

Gwen

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Fri, 09-28-2012 - 1:14pm
Thanks Gwen, I hadn't thought about the growth spurt thing, but I was mentioning to DH the other day that she was due for one soon as the 3 year was almost caught up to her height wise, they tend to always be exactly a head height apart. I do try and keep a very healthy and balanced diet for them, we are in the middle of moving over to a more healthy, non-processed diet in general in the family, cutting out most/all gluten products, excess carbs and sugars. The kids are not entirely there yet, its a much longer process, but DH and I are almost entirely there now. Thanks so much for the thought!
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2009
Fri, 09-28-2012 - 1:18pm

Here's a wild idea:  start keeping a journal of everything (and I mean EVERYTHING)-- her behaviour patterns (what, when, where), everything she eats and when, things going on at school and at home (ie Dad home or away, what was going on in school, etc), sleep/nap times, etc.  After a couple of weeks you might see a pattern that might point to a clue about her behavior.  My youngest gets all out of sorts when he's tired or hungry, my oldest get all out of sorts when he's excited or frustrated.  Luckily neither one has food allergies or sensitivities (which can trigger behavioral issues).




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