(L)ittle Challenge

Griffin has been having problems in school again. We’re very disappointed, as we really love his teacher and we know that she is tough, but fair. And it is the same old issues: not listening, not doing what he is told, not sitting down to learn. It isn’t only affecting HIM (he is starving because he refuses to sit down to eat lunch, he is missing out on learning outcomes since he ignores the lessons) but it is also severely inhibiting Ms. Mona’s ability to teach, and he continually tries to grab the attention of the other kids in his class, affecting their learning too.

Today when I went in to drop him off, Ms. Mona had a two page letter for me written from Griffin’s perspective. It basically documented his day yesterday up until nap time.

image

How humiliating.

Part of it is that he’s a 4 year old boy. I get it. They are routinely challenging and full of energy. I’m not asking that he’s perfect. But part of that is just him. It’s not like we don’t notice any bad behavior at home- we totally do. We just try to deal with each individual situation instead of the “problem” as a whole. And some of it we assume he’ll grow out of, or we ignore because we’re so tired of being the disciplinarian. But all of that has to change. We need to do it so that his school life is easier (I want him to LOVE to learn like I did!), so that his home life is easier (I want this to be a safe, happy place he can relax in!), so that his family is happier (we don’t like feeling like things are ALWAYS a struggle), and so that his teachers have an easier time- because their lives are hard enough as it is.

I think I have it narrowed down to a few key issues.

1. his attention span is minimal. I’m not sure how to improve this other than limiting his screen time (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/health/views/10klass.html?_r=0) and maybe playing learning games with him. This is an area I definitely need to do more reading on (since I’m clearly not a child psychologist). But where we’re going to start is 1 hour of tv a day- that’s all screens including tv, ipad & phones, and that includes before and after school. I will also designate one hour of time every night to playing learning games with him, or working on his writing. I’ve never really structured our time that way before, but I’m thinking having a fixed schedule might help him.

2. he HAS to be the best/ the first/ the winner/ the most important at EVERYTHING. This is a challenge at home (for example, he has to be the first one done getting dressed and if anyone else is done before him, he FREAKS OUT and has a huge fit) and i is also a challenge at school (during circle time if Ms. Mona calls on someone else instead of Griffin, he gets very angry and says it’s never his turn, it’s not fair & he storms off). I am no longer going to entertain this behavior at home. There will be no “racing”, or “being first” and he & Evvie are going to be treated exactly the same.

3. he refuses to help with chores (at school and at home) when it wasnt his own idea. If Ms. Mona asks him to help his friends clean up a center, he’ll run away and hide. If I ask him to pick up his toys, he’ll sit on th floor and play while he attempts to ignore me. Part of this is his stubborn nature, but I wonder if part of it is the fact that he has no real chores or set responsibilities at home yet. So as of today, he has a chore list. He will now pick up his own toys, put his dirty clothes in the hamper, put his dirty dishes in the sink, and help fold his own laundry. Doing his chores will get rewards (a quarter!) not doing his chores will get consequences (no screen time).

This will all have to be modified as it does/ doesn’t work, of course. And we’ll need to still deal with things as they come. But it’s a start. I know the first few weeks will be rough for all of us. But we’re doing it for HIM. He’s so smart, sweet, and funny. All he needs is some support so that he can always have good days.

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4 thoughts on “(L)ittle Challenge

  1. lovetotrav says:

    Sounds like a great plan to put in place (from a teacher’s perspective as well) This is a challenging area but I think you are definitely on track and really understand the needs of your little boy. All the best, Cheryl

  2. legreene515 says:

    Having boys is hard. Teachers don’t get them (IMO). I received notes like this about my, now, 10 year old. He did have issues. He’s a very spirited, independent, gifted young child. We do the rewards system. He has to do what he’s told in the AM, do his chores, and if so he gets an allowance. He saved all his allowance to buy himself an ipod! I was impressed. It will get easier as he gets older, but it’s not uncommon for boys to get pegged. Attention span at 4 is something like 15 minutes long, and he could be a kinesthetic learner like my son, which makes school so much fun! Hang in there. I sympathize with you.

  3. Liz Brownlee says:

    They don’t get enough running around time – and four is WAY too young for some children to sit and attend. In Russia for instance they don’t go to school before 8 – my Russian pen friend’s son sent me a letter the year after he started written in English a beautiful, cursive script. They are ready to learn, and they learn. Four year olds should be running round, exploring, playing with friends and learning through that, they don’t need to learn all the things expected of them. Other Scandinavian countries are the same – in Finland which has the highest standards of education in the world, they don’t start school till much later, and they have just abolished ‘subjects’. They have lessons, and they are multi-functional, thus avoiding the thought that they might not be that good at one subject. Good luck with your little lad – if he was mine I would refuse all homework for him, except reading to him (from which they learn to read much more readily than making them read) and do some active stuff. ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

  4. Nicole says:

    This has to me one of the cutest blogs I’ve come across during the A-to-Z Challenge this year!

    Kudos to you for trying new approaches to tackling these issues affecting your little boy’s school experience. Here’s hoping things will get better for everyone involved (you, your son and the teacher who seems to want to help him have a pleasant experience as well).

    I’m visiting because it’s come to my attention that this is your most recent blog post (for Letter L) in the 2015 Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge. As the challenge schedule is currently on Letter U, we would love for you to meet us at the finish line when April comes to a close. Can you contact me to discuss your plans for blogging from A to Z?

    Thanks a Bunch!

    ~Nicole
    A-to-Z Challenge CO-HOST
    The Madlab Post

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