What can be done to help a kindergarten child learn not to talk too much and to experience a good healthy 1st school year?

"Our granddaughter has always been an excitable child, eager to learn and eager to please. She has always had a great imagination and could play for hours talking to her stuffed animals and dolls. Kindergarten came and she gets punches for talking to herself and sometimes to others. She has been grounded from recess, excluded from exploration 30 min.class where she has had to keep her head down on her desk while the others enjoy the exploration of the day. She has come home not able to explain why she gets in so much trouble for talking and that she just plain forgets herself and talks. She is so depressed so are her parents and so are we. Mom has talked to her about the talking and how it is distracting and cannot be done in school settings but she continues to forget. Her work is always done well and on time.  Occasionaly she does dawdle when putting things away.  Mom has written to teacher begging for information as to the offenses and what can be done. Punishment is the thing most used. What can be done to help this child learn not to talk and to experience a good healthy 1st school year?"

Asked by a grandparent after reading the article, "When You're Worried About Your Kid's Kindergarten Teacher":
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness, Working with my child's teacher(s), Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 22, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Starting Kindergarten is a major adjustment for most children.  Most of the adjustment is not necessarily the academics or doing the work that is asked, but the social and behavioral issues which may be addressed for the first time, especially if the child did not attend preschool.  

Your granddaughter may be a very bright and creative child and hopefully her teacher can see this.  But, in a classroom when there may be 20 or more children the same age, the teacher has to enforce some sort of rules around talking.  Now that being said, an experienced and understanding Kindergarten teacher will know that positive discipline teaches children and helps them learn from their mistakes.  Punishment addresses the mistake with more of a band-aid approach and may cause children to feel guilty and afraid.  Hopefully your granddaughter’s teacher is staying positive and encouraging with your granddaughter, while trying to teach the social skills she needs.

Please encourage your granddaughter’s parents to speak with the teacher on the phone or face to face when possible, rather than just send notes.  It is very important for the parents, and for you, to uphold the teacher, to not say negative things about her in the child’s presence.  Do not let your granddaughter hear you discuss this situation.  If your granddaughter thinks you are “against” the teacher, she may lose enthusiasm for school and not try as hard to do well.  She should not be feeling “depressed” over this; it should be seen as a learning experience and an adjustment period for her.  If she continues to seem depressed, please talk to her pediatrician or family doctor for more suggestions.

If your granddaughter’s parents continue to feel their child’s needs are not being met at her school, they can always look at other educational options.  One which comes to mind is the Montessori method.  In the Montessori classroom, there are mixed ages of children, and the children work at their own pace.  It is not as teacher-led, as the traditional classroom.  There may be wide variations in the private and public Montessori programs, so you would have to do some research

Your granddaughter is very fortunate to have such a caring and involved grandmother in her life.  Continue to encourage her creativity and individuality, but also reinforce that there are times and places for chatting and other times and places for not talking.  It is not easy for some children…and adults for that matter!  Thanks again and best of everything to your granddaughter and your family!

Boys Town National Hotline
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Additional Answers (1)

dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi, I had a friend who had a similar situation with her son when he was in kindergarten. Her child had a teacher who focused too much on punishment, which was causing some emotional problems for her son (and seemingly exacerbating his social and behavioral issues in the classroom). When she found (after several weeks of trying, and her son spiraling further and further downward) that she couldn't get the teacher or the principal to change the teaching and discipline approaches, and that she couldn't get her son transferred to another class, she transferred her son to another school (where she did thorough interviews with the principal and other parents about the teaching and discipline approaches at that school before enrolling her son there). He excelled in the new environment almost immediately. He's in second grade now, and is still doing wonderfully -- academically, socially and behaviorally. While considering options for how to help your granddaughter behave appropriately in class, you might also explore transferring her to another class or school if need be.

I'm including some resources on that you may also find helpful for your situation.

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