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desgaudet
desgaudet asks:
Q:

My 6 year old's teacher says he talks in class and can't keep still. He always says he's tired.

I was not surprised that my son's teacher said he was distracted in class. We have homework daily and we do it (on the days he brings it home). He is in a class of 28 and his teacher says she has to stay next to him and prompt him, for him to do the work. I find I have to prompt him too (at home). He is doing well on his tests but doesn't seem motivated to do the work.
His teacher suggested setting a timer. I have tried that, but often find him daydreaming when the times up. On the same line I left him on. I usually give him 10 mins to finish a few questions and then allow him a break. Checking in on him, every 2 minuites or so, to make sure he has moved on to the next question. Do I stay and help him finish? How do I motivate him to work without constant supervision?
He usually complains that he is tired. His pediatrician says he doesn't have any isuues. He gets the recomended amout of sleep.  I think he is using this as an excuse to not work. He shows no signs of fatigue on the playground. But when it comes to work he is always tired.
In Topics: School and Academics, Sleep and rest, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Oct 6, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Desgaudet,

Your son sounds like a typical 6 year old boy who would rather be outside playing in the dirt than inside working on problems.  However, I know he has to get the work done and you want to have good study skills for the future.

First of all, little one have little to no concept of time.  This is a learned behavior.  In order to get him use to this, point out how long things take.  I liked to use a stop watch with my students.  They like to be in control rather than me setting a timer.  

Make it fun and have him find out how long it takes to:
watch his his favorite TV show
ride his bike around the block
make his bed
go food shopping
prepare dinner
brush the dog
or anything else you can think of.

Once he has had lots of practice with that, ask him how long something will take before it happens.  For example if he know that it takes 2 minutes to make his bed, how long will it take to make your bed?  Have him then do it once the stop watch is on.  See how close he is to his guess.

Now, as for the studying part...  I would model appropriate behavior for him.  Point out that there are things you have to do before you can do something fun.  Don't just explain, but mention it while it is happening.  For example, while making dinner point out that you have to prepare the dinner now, so it has time to cook in the oven.  If you didn't do it then, the family won't be eating until 8:00.  This is teaching him responsibility and prioritizing things.  

When he brings home is homework, sit next to him.  Ask him how long he thinks he will need to complete one problem.  Start the stop watch and have him go at it.  When he is finished, check the time.  Have a brief conversation.  Then do the same for the rest of the homework.  Keep and eye on him.    Once he has it down pretty will with one problem, go to two and so and so on.  Continue until he is able to judge his timing.

Adjust his schedule to find out what works best for him.  Some kids need some down time as soon as they get home before doing their homework.  Other what to do it to get it over with so they can go out and play.  And some kids like to wake up early and do it first thing in the morning.  However, it is important to point out that there are consequences for not doing his job - and his job is school which includes homework.

Hope this has given you some ideas.

Barb K
www.lessonpop.com

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