How do I keep my 1st grader focused in class without stressing us both out?
I just recently received my son's first behavior report for the 2012-13 school year and already he has areas that need improvement (completing assignments, confidence in self as a learner, interest and participation in classroom activities, etc.) Last year was a very stressful year for myself and him, the principal and the teacher wanted to hold him back in kindergarten simply because they felt he was a younger 5 and that he didn't work independently, academically he reached all milestones for each quarter and did well however. With the phone calls from his teacher or reports sent home for his being fidgety or not paying attention and having to be redirected it led to him hating school when he once loved school. My concern with this recent report of basically the same things is what can I do to NOT have a repeat of last school year. I have already sent a note back with this report to meet with his teacher to discuss this and get some input from her as of what to do and hopefully that will start me in the right direction but I fear that might not be enough as that is what we did with his teacher last year. It seems it doesn't make a difference how much I talk with him about needing to pay attention and finish his work without being told several times or take away things that he enjoys if there's no improvement, it doesn't work. HELP!
It sounds like you need to change schools! he is a first grader and it would appear their expectation of him is quite off the developmental scale. "completing assignments, confidence in self"--are they kidding? Most first graders have limited attention spans and not ADD. Those kids who are ADD are truly disruptive or bright and failing. You did the right thing to meet with the teacher and then I would go to the principal or curriculum development person to discuss what they really expect of a 6-7 year old boy. The best discussion will be with the PTA moms and dads and see how they are feeling about this class.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
Are there any motivators that he enjoys doing while at school? For instance, when he is finished with his work, he can work in the puzzle area, or computer area, or color a picture. You can also give him shorter but more frequent work periods. have him work 5 minutes at a time/with a two minute break with a fidget (stress ball, visit with a nieghbor, etc)
Sometimes, by changing how he is sitting, for instance, we have a student sit on an exercise ball, As he is working, his body is focusing on sitting on the ball. Giving his mind/body a way to focus a bit more and then allowing him to work at the same time. As he is in 1st grade you may need to utilize a smaller exercise ball but they are out there. :)
okay, i think you should award good grades and punish bad. for example he got 89 on his report card and there's this toy he want you the toy because of the grade; but if he gets a 80 and under don't get him that toy tell him why because they also need to understand and maybe next he will get a good grade.
So I had the meeting with his teacher today and I left feeling very confident that things will turn around as far as what he needs improvement on. She listened and was very sympathetic to my concerns of him not having another miserable year and feeling like he'd be punished simply because he's not developmentally (maturity-wise) where some of his peers are. Her suggestion was that to build his confidence in being more independent that we (her included) just need to praise him for the small things that he accomplishes on his own, get into a routine of him having small tasks around the house that he's responsible for on a consistent basis and hopefully with that he will become more confident and more focused and attentive while in class. She said we all will just continue to show him love thru this and be patient because the maturity may not come as soon as we'd like but it will come. I was happy to hear that he was NOT the only one (as this is how I felt with his previous teacher). She suggested maybe having him involved in some type of sport or cubs scouts outside of his normal activities at home might help as well. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and answering my question and I look forward to hearing more suggestion!
I feel your pain and anquish here! I too, have a 6 year old little boy that I feel like the school has too many expectations on. He is an active little boy that apparently has a hard time focusing in class and tends to play with his hands (shooting with his fingers, playing ninjas with his hands, tapping his pencil). I have also been made to feel like my child is the only one that has difficulty. It has caused many tears on my part, as well as my sons. I have had several meetings with the teacher and the assistant principal. Each meeting they tend to say over and over again that he doesn't pay attention and without saying it directly want him evaluated for ADD and medication. Of course when I asked them directly if this is what they were leading to, they stated that they could not recommend that. I am a nurse and I know my son. He is a normal little boy and I will not have him put on medication so he can become the little soldier they are looking for. It does not help either that Mississippi has changed their curriculum and has started a math program that introduces algebra (in a crazy way). He is having difficulty thinking in abstract ways instead of concrete. What the heck happened to the tree has 6 apples on it and 2 fell off; how many apples are left? To make an extremely long story shorter, I have had numerous conversations with his teacher and made numerous suggestions. They have initiated a behavior chart where he is rewarded for paying attention and not playing with his hands. He is rewarded by receiving a smiley face for each subject during the course of the day. He has an opportunity to receive 8 a day and he also has a color coded behavior cards he brings home at the end of the day. These couple of changes have made a huge difference. It broke my heart when he started hating school and crying because everything around him seemed impossible. He is such a loving child and he is motivated to please those around him, as most people are. I wish you the best of luck and will send prayers up on behalf of you and your son!
I just wanted to let you know you're not the only one struggling with this. I really think schools have gone too far with pushing curriculum and behavioral standards that are just not realistic for 5 year old kids, which is probably why so many parents are waiting an extra year to send them (and so many teachers are advocating it). And why can't learning be fun and interactive for kids?
My suggestion is just to keep up the dialog with your child, and continue to support him. Try to keep things positive and supportive at home, and give him a safe place to work on skills that will translate to school. Most importantly, keep in touch with your teacher and do whatever you can to help your son via that route.
The suggestion about sports and extracurricular activities is very good. We have found with our son that taekwondo gave him a focus and self-discipline that other students weren't getting from t-ball and soccer. It still burns off good energy as well!
At the end of the day, boys are boys and we shouldn't expect them to be grow up faster than they need to. They are supposed to be somewhat wiggly and play 'finger ninjas' and so forth! It's part of what makes them really cute! Let's be honest!
We have this sane issue. After discussing it with my mother in law we decided to cut out as much added sugar as possible. She did this with her oldest son and it made a huge difference. We are almost done weaning out our supply as I couldn't bare to trash so much stuff... I did give away a lot too. I'm shocked at the items with added sugar. I can already tell a difference! Our snacks are fruits, veggies with dip, toast, croutons dipped in ranch, chips etc. I thought it would be much harder than it has been! I will still allow him to participate during special parties with sweets but the day to day is where it's changing!