lovinmom4 asks:

We just moved from a place that had young 5s to a place that doesn't. Now my son is 7 and in kindergarten. How can we help him?

His birthday is in Feb. So he started at 5. Then he was moved to young five program. There were several kids that were moved along with him and they were also in his class this year. So he felt comfortable. Now he feels out of place. Plus he came from a half day program to an all day program. When we left, his teacher said he was right on track. His new teacher seems to have higher expectations. Any suggestions..reassurances would be helpful.
In Topics: Cognitive development, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Hand in Hand
Mar 10, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Lovinmom,

Good for you for asking for what you need! Your son is not defined by his year in school, or his developmental stage at the moment. He's yours! He's unique! He's his own best self. And the moments you are able to view him with that kind of confidence will give him a better chance of remembering that, too.

Children periodically and frequently need some adult support to build good play and school relationships--children whose parents are as aware as you are, and who want to help, are fortunate indeed.

So first of all, it will be good to offer your son your perspective. At a moment when all is going well for him and you, let him know that school is for helping kids learn, and that he's just right the way he is. That what he knows today is less than he will know tomorrow, and that every day we each learn something that helps us grow. And you might include the information that kids may tease each other, or not want to play with each other, but that they only do that when they don't feel good inside themselves. That kids who feel good inside themselves want to play, and have fun, not to make fun of others or exclude them. Some kids have parents who work so hard that they can't be warm and loving in the morning, and it's that kind of thing that can lead kids to be hard on each other at school. He's fine the way he is. There's something wrong with how hard parents have to work every day, so they don't feel like they can be sweet with their kids in the morning, or in the evening.

Play dates at your house are a really good way to help a child build relationships with others in his class. If you start a playdate out with a pillowfight (you "lose," of course), or a game of tag where they get away from you over and over again, or with bucking bronco rides on your back, so you get to jostle them around before they finally fall to the carpet and scramble back on you, or balloon-bopping "fights...", or jumping on a big bed while you try to catch their feet, but fail, then the time together begins with laughter, with children getting to be rough and tumble in a good way, and with them siding with each other while they try to "get" you. Laughter in this kind of parent-child play creates bonds that are strong. And it makes a playdate at your house really special. Most kids today have far too little play in which they don't have to be careful, and far too little playful connection with adults. Your son will benefit from this kind of play with you, and his friends will, too.

I hope this is helpful. Here's a success story that may give you a more detailed picture of how challenging physical play and wrestling can lift a child's spirits and help their outlook on school, and even their functioning there. I'll also include our website, which has more information on what we call Parenting by Connection, a source of tools to help your son move forward in his friendships and keep his confidence high.

Good for you for reaching out for help! Parenting isn't something to try to do in a vacuum. Your son is fortunate to have you thinking about him.
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