Category Archives: Behavior

Emotional Growth of 5 and 6 Year Olds

Your child 5 year old child will experience enormous physical and emotional growth this year. We focus on the physical because we can measure it and see it but we cannot measure the emotional growth of a 5 year old as easily.  You’ll have to make observations about the emotional growth as it matures during this school year.  The American School Counselor Association published the following about Kindergartners:

Where They Are:
The average five-year-old is enthusiastic, helpful, and conforming. He:

  • Attempts only things he/she knows he/she can do.
  • Needs attention, affection, and praise.
  • Is energetic and fidgety.
  • Has a short attention span.
  • May show opposite extremes of behavior.
  • May become less well-behaved as the school year progresses.

Where they’re Going:
At five years old, your child is learning to understand himself/herself. You can help by encouraging him/her as he/she:

  • Develops a positive, realistic self-image.
  • Learns to respect himself/herself.
  • Begins to understand his/her own uniqueness.
  • Gains awareness of his/her feelings.
  • Learns to express feelings.
  • Learns how to participate in groups.
  • Begins to learn from his/her mistakes.

To learn about the emotional growth of a first grader read here:

http://childparenting.about.com/od/physicalemotionalgrowth/a/6-Year-Old-Child-Emotional-Development.htm

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Children Should Be Expected To Say Thank You

When my daughter was 24 years old she said to me ‘I have one complaint about how you and Dad raised me’.  Oh, boy, I thought, what is coming next? She said ‘you taught us how to say thank you’ and that is the problem.  Still not quite understanding her, she went on to explain that when you are raised to say thank you at all times, you always expect the same courtesy from others at all times.. and it doesn’t always happen and it can be very disappointing lesson in human behavior.  How true!  Not only are 5 and 6 year olds negligent about saying thank you, grown-ups can be guilty as well.  Very few, if any of the Kindergartners or first graders that I have taught say ‘thank you’ when I hand them a paper, give them a sticker, give them a compliment or say anything that should be answered with the words thank you.  5 and 6 year olds can write thank you notes for gifts, even if it means that mom and dad write most of it and that they sound out what they can.  Children should be taught to say thank you when something is given to them, when someone hands them something, when someone stoops to pick up something that he/she has dropped, when someone moves out of your way to let you by, when someone says “bless you” after a sneeze…the list could go on and on.  Please demand that your child show you courtesy and respect by using the words thank you as often as possible and then perhaps that learned social skill will carry over to the classroom with teachers and classmates deserve the same respect.

Re-posted from 2009

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Discipline At Home

Young children crave and need routines in their lives.  It makes them feel safe when they know what to expect not only at school but at home as well.  One of the routines that often fall by the wayside in homes is discipline.  Discipline being teaching your child about right and wrong and what you will and won’t accept from their behavior.  By discipline I do not mean physically hurting your child to get them to do what you want but, teaching appropriate and acceptable behaviors. Year after year, and this year is no different, there will always be some children who test the teacher at every possible turn.  More often than not, these children also test their parents and win!  This ‘winning situation’ is seen as power by 5 and 6 year olds and they don’t understand why it doesn’t work at school. Some children learn at home that if they push and push and push the adults, eventually the adults will be too tired/frustrated/worn out and will just give in.  Sound familiar?  Parents will say to me at conferences in November, how do you do it?  They won’t listen to me and I don’t know what to do.  Parents, you MUST get a handle on your 5 and 6 year olds’ behavior, it takes work, just like it takes lots of work for me at school to get 25 children a day to follow and obey ALL of my class behavior rules.  We work day after day after day on the same issues and by mid October MOST of the children understand them and then we are able to pick up the pace on academic learning. Who doesn’t get it?  Who is a repeat visitor to the time out table?  Almost always a child who exhibits the same oppositional behaviors at home but the consistency needed from the adults to correct the behaviors hasn’t been given.  I often hear, ‘this doesn’t happen at home’ or ‘this didn’t happen in preschool.’ Children are very smart and learn quickly what they can and cannot get away with and who they can get away with it from. They also learn quickly which adults will take the time to correct their behaviors and which adults will let them slide and not address them at all.  The time to regain control is now, middle school and high school come sooner than you can believe and I can assure you that if you cannot parent your child at 5 and 6, you will need lots more than luck when they are a teenager.

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Teaching Your Child About Your Behavioral Expectations

Wouldn’t raising a child be so easy if all children did everything that was asked of them at all times?  Talk about living in a fantasy world! Since children are children, and we know that perfect behavior does not happen all of the time, there are ways to help teach your child about appropriate behavior no matter where you are.  The most important tool that you can use about to teach your child how to act when you are out in public is to lay out your expectations for his/her behavior BEFORE you go and he/she creates a scene somewhere.  Before I take my class of 25 students anywhere out of my classroom, whether it is a simple walk down the hall, or to attend an assembly, we always talk before about what I expect from them while we are out and about.  My class repeatedly receives compliments for how we behave at school assemblies when others around us are misbehaving.  This is because I always talk with my students about what I expect BEFORE we get to the assembly. You can do this too. The next time you have to take your child with you on errands (say I expect you to walk with me at the mall and not run off), or to grandma’s house (I expect you to respect Grandma’s house and not jump on the furniture), to a friend’s house (I expect you to play nicely with Johnny), to the store (I expect you to not ask for me to buy you candy/toys etc) to name just a few possible scenarios.   Talk about what you expect BEFORE you leave your own house.  Also tell your child what will happen if he/she does not do what you ask.  Your child will better understand about making inappropriate behavior choices if you can remind him/her of your expectations and then deliver the consequences if needed.  This is hard work on your part, but it does pay off when your child knows ahead of time what you expect each and every time you leave your house and gradually learns how to behave in all social situations.

Re-posted from 2009

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Be Good At School

What is the last thing that most parents say to their children before they head out to school?  “Be good at school!”  Famous last words.  Parents know exactly what they expect from their child by reminding them to ‘be good.’  The problem is that most 5 and 6 year olds have absolutely no idea what mom and dad mean when they say ‘be good at school.’  Ask your child what he/she thinks you mean when you say ‘be good at school’ and see what kind of answers you get.  You may be surprised that your child doesn’t understand your directive as well as you think he/she should.  Take a few minutes to lay out for your child your expectations of his/her behavior while at school.  Tell your child EXACTLY what you expect from him/her while he/she is away from you:

  • Try and do your best work at all times
  • No matter what other children are doing, follow your own head and do what you believe to be right
  • Play nicely with the other children
  • Follow the rules at school
    • Talk when you are allowed to talk, listen when you are supposed to be listening
    • Listen to your teacher at all times
    • Your teacher will only say the directions once…Listen the first time
    • Do what the teacher asks of you at all times, even if it is something that you may not want to do
    • Keep your hands and feet to yourself (even on the bus)
    • Listen to the bus driver and stay in your seat at all times while on the bus
    • Be a good friend and others will be a good friend to you

Re-posted from 2009

 

 

 

 

 

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Time Out Table In School

Blog  51 Time Out Table in Kindergarten

You might wonder about the number one question that parents ask Kindergarten and First Grade teachers at the start of the school year.  It is not about Academics, Assessments, Daily Schedules, Curriculum, Seating Arrangements, etc.  Oh,no. The number one question is about discipline.  How do we handle children when they misbehave in our classroom?  This leads me to believe that most parents know that their children misbehave, and believe me some misbehave more than others.  Parents just want to be sure that they are OK with how we handle their rule breaking 5 year olds.  I have a time out table in my room (located  about 4 feet from all of the action) and I explain to parents at Back to School night that it gets heavy use during the month of September as we lay down the class rules and expect the children to follow them.  By October, it is hardly used at all, as children settle into the routine and have learned to follow the rules and regulations of our classroom.  But, it still sits there waiting, just in case it is needed. This is the way it is used in my classroom and you could use a table, chair or quiet spot at home to achieve the same goal.  When a child misbehaves, in this example talks to a friend during story time, this is what happens:

  • I tell the child he/she is interrupting my story by talking to his/her friend.  I say that they can either listen to the story quietly, or talk, but if they choose to talk, they have to go to the time out table.
  • Always, the child will say “I will listen to the story quietly” and the within moments, ‘chooses’ to talk again.  At this point I will say, ‘you have chosen to talk and we said that if you talk again you would have to go to the time out table so you need to go to the time out table now’
  • This interchange is not always met with favorable results and I will then say, you can walk to the time out table or you can choose to have me hold your hand and walk you there.
  • Most children then decide walking the 4 feet to the time out table is the better choice rather than being led by the teacher.
  • I will continue to read the story and when done I will go and talk to the child at the time out table.
  • I will ask, “What were you doing that go you sent to the time out table?”  Ultimately I am looking for the response that begins with the words “I WAS……” In this case “I was talking during the story”
    • Notice I did not start my question with the word “why”.  The word why is very open ended and does not always need a factual answer and 5 year olds know that.  Be sure and start your question with What…you will get a more factual answer.
    • I will now say, yes you were talking during the story but the next time you will listen quietly to our story and then that is the end of our talk
    • When a child is able to accept responsibility for what he/she has done wrong, he/she is well on the road to improving that behavior
    • When a child says that the reason he/she is at the time out table is because I put them there, we have to review again what took place prior to being removed from the class group and I will remind the child that he/she had a choice to go or not go to the time out table and they chose ‘to go.’ This child needs a few more minutes to think and then I will repeat the question, “why are you at the time out table/?” and hopefully the answer will begin with “I was”

Most children only need one or two visits to the time out table to know I mean what I say, but there is usually a few that will test awhile longer.  Please parents, under no circumstance should you use the “I will give you to the count of three to …….(fill in the blank here with what you want your child to do) You have only taught them that you don’t really mean it on the first try and that they have some more time for stalling.  If you use, 1,2,3, please stop now.

Re-posted from 2009

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Retention is Refused

I would just like to say a few sentences to all parents who have forced their child to go to the next grade level when he/she wasn’t at all ready or well prepared. I mostly am talking about Kindergarten retention and moving on to first grade when you shouldn’t, but what I have to say goes for any early elementary grade level. When an elementary school teacher recommends retention there are usually many, many reasons that she/he has said given that advice.  Among the most frequent reasons are:

  • Developmentally not ready
  • Academically not ready
  • Emotionally not ready

I have recommended retention for many children through the years and more often than not, the parents refuse.  When your child is not ready for the next school year, he/she walks into the new classroom already behind.  Yes, I know that some children pick up skills over the summer months, but let me tell you, so do the children who grasped all of the skills the previous school year.  Your child will give up before he/she even begins because the feeling of not knowing what is going on is overwhelming.  I see this every year! I always try to talk to these parents to see if I can understand the reason behind their decision to send their ill prepared child to the next grade, but there is never a concrete answer.  Then, what I usually say to the parents is to be prepared for 12 long school years ahead while their child tries to catch up with his/her peers, but more often than not, is unable to do so.

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