janlynn2002 asks:

Our kindergartener is struggling with homework.  What can we do?

our daughter started kindergarten this year. She has never been in a school setting before. She was sent home with homework. She is supposed to practice writing her name. While she knows how to write her alphabet she refuses to try to write her name. She throws herself on the floor and screams she can't do it. We have tried to reinforce her positively, reminding her how well she was doing with letters and that now we need to practice putting letters together to form her name. She seems to do very well at school, her teacher says she does wonderful at writing her name. Is there somerthing that someone can suggest?
In Topics: Helping my child with school work and home work
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Sep 2, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Dear parents:
How wonderful to have your daughter in a school setting for the first time.  It sounds like she has already adjusted to listening to instructions from other adults at school, but keeping that focus and controlling her emotions at home seems too difficult for her right now.  
Firstly, your daughter is adjusting to the change of being in school.  This is an adjustment for you as parents as well as your daughter.  Pre-teach her what you expect when she does come home with homework.  You can explain that this is a part of school, getting homework from the teacher, doing it at home, and handing it in to the teacher the next day.  
There are a couple of things to remember and be aware of.  When are you asking your daughter to complete this homework, are the expectations from the teacher too vague, or is the work too much?  Is your daughter tired, hungry, or just does not feel like doing it at the moment you suggested?  
You can think about your family schedule for each day of the week and find a time to spend about 15 minutes or less to do homework.  You can think of ways to make the experience fun for you and for her.  Try getting a special pen or pencil, and/or gathering some paper, crayons, markers and designate it as a homework supplies.  After you have taught her what the routine will be, over time she will be able to get the homework supplies, bring them to the table and she will complete the task all by herself (no tantrums!)  However, before you get there, you have to make it fun for her now, and try to motivate her to do the task and not throw herself on the floor screaming that she can not do it.  You are doing a lot of good by reinforcing her positively, keep doing that, remember consistency is the key.  
Along with getting the special pens and or pencils you can try things like:
1. Pour out some flour, sugar onto the kitchen table, and using her finger, write her name in the flour.  You can model this for her by writing her name or your name.  
2. If you have a sandbox, (if not, go to a park) practice writing her name in the sand.  
3. Make a rainbow with the letters of her name.  
4. Take one crayon color, write her name, then trace it with another color,  or make a 'dotted' outline of the letters of her name, and she can connect the dots.  
5. Have her use chalk and write her name on the sidewalk.  
6. Get some dry erase markers and board, and have her practice writing.  
Remember the goal for you is to get the work done, and for your daughter, she will remember how much fun you had together and she will ultimately remember how to write her name when she is asked to.  Smiling, praising, and hugging your daughter to show her how proud you are of her will also help.  
Keep in mind that your daughter will not be 100% obedient all the time.  Monitoring your own feelings and frustrations will also help her to use better self control when she is asked by you to complete a task.  When she decides to throw herself on the floor screaming she can not do it, she is not in control of her feelings.  Ask her calmly to calm herself down and you will sit and wait for her.  If it is appropriate, you can try and do another task while you wait for her, this can give you time to think of what you need to say to her.  If you try and teach to her while she is screaming she will not hear and this will frustrate her and you even more.  
Then when she is calm, ask her why she feels she can not write her name.  You want to try and pre-teach to her that she will need to use words to express her feelings of frustration, and not to throw herself on the floor, and scream.  Your daughter is trying to get attention from you either positively or negatively.  And as a parent you would rather give your daughter attention when it€™s for a positive behavior rather than a negative.  Hopefully with consistent, pre-teaching of your expectations of homework and self control, she will develop good habits for completing homework and using more self control when she becomes frustrated.

Best wishes!
Boys Town National Hotline

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Additional Answers (1)

rkaiulani writes:
Hi there,
It sounds to me like you might want to consider doing some fun writing activities. Your daughter might just be responding to the idea of this being "work," not "play." Here are some fun writing activities you could try:
> 60 days ago

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