A bit worried about DS at school

A bit worried about DS at school

Joined: April 13th, 2005, 10:53 pm

January 24th, 2012, 10:47 pm #1

My DS is 5 1/2 and in Kindergarten. He does well in general and is in the highest level reading class. The teachers are always impressed with the stories he writes BUT... They are concerned about his attention and focus. He sometimes has had to miss recess because he didn't get work done in class because he was goofing off or spacing out instead of working. I see similar behavior at home, and will have to repeat myself 5 times before he will follow directions sometimes. It's not all the time, but enough to be noticeable. Is there anything I can do to help him focus? Reward chart or something? Any ideas? Thanks.
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Joined: February 10th, 2009, 9:24 pm

January 25th, 2012, 4:44 am #2

My son is almost the same age. He sounds alot like your DS. My son can be very focused but can also be inattentive. It is not all the time, but tests my patience when it happens at home!

I have read suggestions for this which include :

1)make sure you have eye contact before giving instructions

2)give them simpler directions. In the past I would say Put on your coat, hat, shoes, mittens all in one sentence. This is how I do it now:

ME: J, put on your shoes

(shoes on)

Me: Now, put on your coat

(coat on)

Me: Now, your hat

(hat on)

Me: Now, your mittens


It does seem to help, but everything takes a little longer. I have learned to allow extra time to leave the house, etc. or I end up feeling irked.

3) Look at the hour your DS is falling asleep and the number of hours of sleep he is getting. Lack of sleep is known to cause this problem. If you read the book Sleepless in America, youll be convinced that lack of sleep is the root of much of this!! My son does best when I manage to get him in bed (asleep) by 7:30. That means dinner at 4:30, but I have had to adapt our schedules to do this. I have noticed that if my son goes to bed even an hour later, he is inattentive the following day, at school and home. My son frequently gets to sleep at 8:30 or 9, and I kick myself every time it happens because the next day is awful!!

4) Could it be hunger? I would ask the teacher when this is occuring. Does he eat a decent meal before kindergarten? DO they get a snack? I am going to bake some breakfast muffins tomorrow that Im hoping will help fill my boys up without taking hours to eat in the morning!!

THis is such a fun age, but this spirit of independence they are developing is something to be reckoned with, isnt it?

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

January 25th, 2012, 1:00 pm #3

My DS is 5 1/2 and in Kindergarten. He does well in general and is in the highest level reading class. The teachers are always impressed with the stories he writes BUT... They are concerned about his attention and focus. He sometimes has had to miss recess because he didn't get work done in class because he was goofing off or spacing out instead of working. I see similar behavior at home, and will have to repeat myself 5 times before he will follow directions sometimes. It's not all the time, but enough to be noticeable. Is there anything I can do to help him focus? Reward chart or something? Any ideas? Thanks.
but I really hate that the teachers are keeping him in from recess. He really needs the mental break and the physical activity. There is so much variability in children's attention at this age. If this were my ds, I'd also talk to the teacher and principal about this policy, b/c I think it's counter-productive.

Lots of classes do have some kind of chart system so kids can see if they're on track, or if they have gotten too many warnings. Does your child's teacher use this?




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Joined: November 8th, 2005, 3:01 pm

January 25th, 2012, 3:35 pm #4

My DS is 5 1/2 and in Kindergarten. He does well in general and is in the highest level reading class. The teachers are always impressed with the stories he writes BUT... They are concerned about his attention and focus. He sometimes has had to miss recess because he didn't get work done in class because he was goofing off or spacing out instead of working. I see similar behavior at home, and will have to repeat myself 5 times before he will follow directions sometimes. It's not all the time, but enough to be noticeable. Is there anything I can do to help him focus? Reward chart or something? Any ideas? Thanks.
that could be my son ... except he is not one of the better readers He totally spaces out, lacks focus and seems to be the last one to complete any task. The teachers freaked me out recently when one started telling me that she was dx as ADD in high school ... why are you telling me this ????!!!! I hate the way they skirt around the subject, although know that they have constraints.

Our DS has always been like this, head in the clouds type guy. The teacher asked (casually) early on in the K year if he had had a hearing test (yes, all fine at 5y well check) but we are going to have his hearing evaluated again. He can hear (when he wants to), but he gets a lot of wax buildup ... anything like that with your DS ?

Also, we had a lot of these comments from the teachers during voluntary meetings early on. I mean, he had been in K for a couple of weeks, come on teachers, new school etc. Perhaps he is more spacey that others but he had only been in school a short time. His pre-K was all play with limited constraints.

What does your DS say ? Their perspective is so interesting. This is what DS said when I asked him why he doesn't always pay attention or looses focus etc.

- It was boring ...
- They asked the same question over and over again = boring
- I didn't know what they wanted me to do.
- I tried to do it neatly but I kept making mistakes so erased it and started again (this is why he takes a long time).
- I couldn't hear what the teacher was saying (they are both quite softly spoken, I'm not).

The penultimate comment is a really good example of how they interpret directions. The teacher tells them that their work should be neat, the best they can do. So if DS makes a mistake or thinks it isn't neat enough, he erases it and starts again. So he's always last to finish. Perhaps your DS is the same in this way ?

After watching DS during a teacher help morning at shool, I told him to -

1. Sit close to the teacher during circle time.
2. Do not sit near x, y, z as they tend to be disruptive and he's easily distracted.
3. Drink lots of water and try and stay focused on what the teacher is saying.

I believe a lot has to do with the school setting too. DS is a diferent kid in the after-school program. It is an amazing place. When all the children get there they have a meeting, anyone can share a comment with the rest .... apparently (found this out last week), DS shares something almost every day ! I was shocked as at school they say he rarely speaks up (apparently).

Man what a waffle I wonder where he gets it from

I would ask DS about it, see what he says. We also started getting a little tougher on him, DH says I'm way too soft on DS. So I started being much more concerned and showing my concern if his school report for the day said that he was lacking focus etc. I also made him earn certain things rather than just let him have them as par for the course (10-mins/day of angry birds for eg.).

DS's teachers also said that they always see a huge leap in behavioural and academic improvement after the Christmas break. I have seen quite an improvement in DS since around Nov time when I initiated the above 1-3 points and made certain things attainable only through good efforts at school. This improvement is based on the daily reports that are now routinely "good job in book group/math class/circle time" etc.

Oh and recess is SO important. She should not stop him from going outside and I would talk to her about that. It is criticial to let off some steam. They can only concentrate for limited amounts of time and they need a break ! That would make me angry quite honestly.

Keep us posted .... if you ever want to just chat about it here is my email ..

ncfisheries at gmail dot com

Best V
Last edited by FishDr on January 25th, 2012, 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: July 8th, 2006, 11:22 pm

January 26th, 2012, 3:03 am #5

My DS is 5 1/2 and in Kindergarten. He does well in general and is in the highest level reading class. The teachers are always impressed with the stories he writes BUT... They are concerned about his attention and focus. He sometimes has had to miss recess because he didn't get work done in class because he was goofing off or spacing out instead of working. I see similar behavior at home, and will have to repeat myself 5 times before he will follow directions sometimes. It's not all the time, but enough to be noticeable. Is there anything I can do to help him focus? Reward chart or something? Any ideas? Thanks.
I just replied back to N's 5-K teacher's email about this EXACT issue not 10 minutes ago! We have a meeting regarding this next week.

She brought this up to us last November and was concerned that DS (5 1/2) was unable to focus and pay attention in class. In the beginning (they are on a color system) he would come home on yellow for not listening or follow directions. He DID not act out but just couldn't seem to focus. He's dreamy, stares off into space and therefor can miss a lot. Despite that, he is still advancing nicely academically in reading and math and it hasn't seemed to affect what he is learning. She moved him to the front of the class where she can see him all the time and can be sure to establish eye contact with him when necessary and that seemed to help. On my part, I'm trying to get more protein in him during lunch hoping that may help. She has noticed improvement after the Christmas holidays but he has back slid this past week

I'm really struggling with this as she skirted the ADD issue as well but according to our pedi testing is not recommended until at least age 6 and even if he were dx I would not consider medication for our situation. Honestly, at this age, I'm just not sure much can be done other than make the learning environment more conducive to holding their attention (i.e. putting them in front, removing other distractions, etc.). I wonder if age also plays a factor - like several of us - N is one of the younger ones - summer B-day - and my hope is he will outgrow this. I just don't believe N has the self control to catch himself when he is drifting off and for that reason I don't think a reward or punishment system would be much help until he is older. He would come home so sad when he would get a yellow day yet the next day he would drift off again

I've tried to talk to him about it with no avail - he says he pays attention just fine But I notice it at home too as I have to repeat over and over again - "Brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush your teeth, DO YOU HEAR ME!"

Apparently this is not uncommon with boys, but it still concerns me. I just don't want it to affect N academically....sigh...
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Joined: April 13th, 2005, 10:53 pm

January 26th, 2012, 7:22 am #6

My DS is 5 1/2 and in Kindergarten. He does well in general and is in the highest level reading class. The teachers are always impressed with the stories he writes BUT... They are concerned about his attention and focus. He sometimes has had to miss recess because he didn't get work done in class because he was goofing off or spacing out instead of working. I see similar behavior at home, and will have to repeat myself 5 times before he will follow directions sometimes. It's not all the time, but enough to be noticeable. Is there anything I can do to help him focus? Reward chart or something? Any ideas? Thanks.
I'm glad there are people here who understand. It is a tough issue! I have an appointment with DS's ped next week since the teachers suggested the ADD questionaire. I honestly don't think that's it.I think he is a normal, active, bored little boy sometimes during school.Thanks for all the great input and ideas. I am going to reply to everyone individually but it may take me a few days to do it! Thanks!
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Joined: November 8th, 2005, 3:01 pm

January 26th, 2012, 2:30 pm #7

... you said it !! I was helping the other week in the library and they happened to have a library class in session (guessing 1st grade). BORING !!!! OMG I was totally shocked at how totally boring the class was. Librarian standing with one of those smart board things, reading a book, couldn't see the words on the screen, everyone was fidgiting, she was completely monotone ... crap, I would have drifted off. It was a real eye-opener and I viewed DS's spacey moments a little differently !

DH also said, if it's boring, at least try to look interested LOL !

Good luck, I too think that the vast differences in personality etc. are key, some kids like more stimulation than others and I'll bet that your DS is the same. I know that my DS likes animated reading time, is loud and rambuncious ...

Keep us posted wont you
V

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Joined: November 8th, 2005, 3:01 pm

January 26th, 2012, 2:39 pm #8

I just replied back to N's 5-K teacher's email about this EXACT issue not 10 minutes ago! We have a meeting regarding this next week.

She brought this up to us last November and was concerned that DS (5 1/2) was unable to focus and pay attention in class. In the beginning (they are on a color system) he would come home on yellow for not listening or follow directions. He DID not act out but just couldn't seem to focus. He's dreamy, stares off into space and therefor can miss a lot. Despite that, he is still advancing nicely academically in reading and math and it hasn't seemed to affect what he is learning. She moved him to the front of the class where she can see him all the time and can be sure to establish eye contact with him when necessary and that seemed to help. On my part, I'm trying to get more protein in him during lunch hoping that may help. She has noticed improvement after the Christmas holidays but he has back slid this past week

I'm really struggling with this as she skirted the ADD issue as well but according to our pedi testing is not recommended until at least age 6 and even if he were dx I would not consider medication for our situation. Honestly, at this age, I'm just not sure much can be done other than make the learning environment more conducive to holding their attention (i.e. putting them in front, removing other distractions, etc.). I wonder if age also plays a factor - like several of us - N is one of the younger ones - summer B-day - and my hope is he will outgrow this. I just don't believe N has the self control to catch himself when he is drifting off and for that reason I don't think a reward or punishment system would be much help until he is older. He would come home so sad when he would get a yellow day yet the next day he would drift off again

I've tried to talk to him about it with no avail - he says he pays attention just fine But I notice it at home too as I have to repeat over and over again - "Brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush your teeth, DO YOU HEAR ME!"

Apparently this is not uncommon with boys, but it still concerns me. I just don't want it to affect N academically....sigh...
Hello my dear friend

Sigh, what are we to do with our boys you know, R and N sound so similar and have often been this way ! I also commented about age to the teachers once. They asked me if I knew another little boy from our neighbourhood who I did. His birthday is July. He said that F was also like that at the start of school but he turned it around quite quickly. i.e. age shouldn't affect their ability to remain focused. I do think though that age is a factor to some degree.

R also looses focus more during Spanish instruction and the other kiddie is adopted (Guatemala). His parents have been speaking Spanish with him since he was a baby. He finds Spanish easier compared to DS who finds it harder and tends to drift off. I wonder with N if a) he finds certain things boring b) does he drift off in certain subjects ? Subjects that R finds engaging he's all over (math and science, he's way ahead).

So I think that these guys are more spacey than others perhaps. I don't for a second think that that either of them are being negatively affected as they do hear what's going on and assimilate this information. I think that the teaching styles are important and wonder if DS would do better in a more Montesori/Quaker type school.

Ditto that R doesn't play up either, is well behaved, just a bit lacking focus. I'm trying not to stress too much about it -- it's hard when every meeting is about how he drifts off -- I'm also sure that all kids do it to some degree ...

let me know what they say ....
Hugs V
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Joined: June 20th, 2006, 2:07 am

January 26th, 2012, 6:10 pm #9

... you said it !! I was helping the other week in the library and they happened to have a library class in session (guessing 1st grade). BORING !!!! OMG I was totally shocked at how totally boring the class was. Librarian standing with one of those smart board things, reading a book, couldn't see the words on the screen, everyone was fidgiting, she was completely monotone ... crap, I would have drifted off. It was a real eye-opener and I viewed DS's spacey moments a little differently !

DH also said, if it's boring, at least try to look interested LOL !

Good luck, I too think that the vast differences in personality etc. are key, some kids like more stimulation than others and I'll bet that your DS is the same. I know that my DS likes animated reading time, is loud and rambuncious ...

Keep us posted wont you
V
that is always my first thought.

Hard to suggest this to a teacher though. heh.

What is it about librarians anyways?? The one at our school gave an 8yo trouble where she didn't really have to and made the kid feel stupid. I know this kid, really bright but her tone of voice just froze him because he's polite and wouldn't tell off an adult and believe me, I was just about to go intervene when he turned and went about his business.
(I had to pay for a "lost" book which I swear I returned but they say I didn't. roll eyes. We didn't even read it, it was a Munch and I can't really do the repeat readings of his books (sorry to any who love him) and the art bugs me too (it was Martchenko this time). The book was Mmm, Cookies. A highly sought after book, apparently. Some kid probably took it off it's shelf and stuck it elsewhere so as not to bother the grumpy librarian. when they find it we get reimbursed.



besides, some conventional teaching styles can be very boring for those with fast paced minds. When I am in DD's JrK class, there's this one boy who fidgets and flip-flops at the back of the carpet when teacher reads a book or has something to talk about/teach. She'll simply say "Cole, that is one" and he becomes calm. She does give him some leeway but almost always gets to 2 with a warning about what happens at 3. the lesson WAS boring. it was mixing primary colours to get secondary colours (didn't use those words. I would have. so what if some don't click to what primary and secondary means, they will eventually and enjoy being spoken to as regular people instead of some kid. plus explaining the meaning isn't so hard. Glassy eyes or not)
In fact I use the 1-2-3 at home and it's really magic with stubborn DD.

There's an alternative school near us and when I say alternative, as far as I can tell the differences are: work stations rather than stuck in the same seat for that lesson. No testing or report cards (uh... not sure I like that but would have LOVED this as a kid since I was so spacey too) and more or less self-directed learning. Focuses on team work and projects rather than sheets to fill out. So these kids tend to be more prepared for high school and higher learning--this is what that school told me so grain of salt time, ya know?? So people who have "difficult" kids send them there. I think schools need to teacher the primary grades more in this style and keep classes at 20 or less. (in fact, our Province has capped grades JrK to 4 at 20)


I wish there was an evaluating system where the kids can go hang out for a month (in the vein of a summer school/camp so no stress on them) and it gets determined what teaching/learning style suits them best. In theory, the teachers these days should touch on every learning style but it's hard when it's a human teaching them Who have their own issues, moods and strong personalities.

ok, done ranting
jm
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Joined: September 29th, 2010, 9:51 pm

January 27th, 2012, 1:44 am #10

My DS is 5 1/2 and in Kindergarten. He does well in general and is in the highest level reading class. The teachers are always impressed with the stories he writes BUT... They are concerned about his attention and focus. He sometimes has had to miss recess because he didn't get work done in class because he was goofing off or spacing out instead of working. I see similar behavior at home, and will have to repeat myself 5 times before he will follow directions sometimes. It's not all the time, but enough to be noticeable. Is there anything I can do to help him focus? Reward chart or something? Any ideas? Thanks.
Wow - I dislike that he's in for recess. There should be no amount of "necessary" work in the Kindergarten that is imperative to be completed by the end of the day. Really. Being a behavior analyst, I am in and out of A LOT of kindergarten classes. I do not think you or the teacher has enough information yet. Is it an issue of getting started "latency" or staying on task "duration." Is the task a one step, two step or three step direction? You could suggest a timer? (works well for getting started and time to complete the task). But either way, gather some more info and go from there!

Best of Luck
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