Son started Kindergarten a month ago - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 09-14-2004, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Everyone!

My son started kindergarten at our local public school about 1 month ago. The school was not my first choice, but my son says he loves it. The teacher also says that he is doing fine in class.

My question is about the following issue. Since he started kindergarten his behavior at home has gone downhill. He cries easier and longer. He reacts stronger to things when he doesn't get his way, he talks back more to me, etc. He's always been spirited, but he's been much more challenging since he started school.

Has anyone else dealt with this? I've talked to a few other people who are mothers of boy kindergartners and they are experiencing similar things with their sons. Is it because they are adjusting to something new and they are a little stressed?

The school is an academic one and I would have preferred one that was a little more easy going. I am worried that he might be having a hard time with being in his seat for longer periods than he is used to.

I have not been to visit his class yet, so I don't really know that much about what is going on in class. I have a 2 year old daughter to also take care of, so I am just working out babysitting. He tells me some things that happen at school, but not very much! Any ideas on how to get more information?

Any thoughts about his behavior? Thanks in advance!

Collette
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#2 of 13 Old 09-14-2004, 07:29 AM
 
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Hi Colette! When my ds started k-garten, it was the same way. He fell apart everyday until Christmas, and then things evened out. There was nothing bad going on, I think it was just using up all his energy to go to school. We reduced after school activities so that there was nothing else he "had" to do during that period, except chill out at home, and we weathered it, set limits on how grumpy we wanted to let him be with us, provided extra nurturing, etc. (hard to do when you have a 2 yr old too!). It IS hard to get info out our little ones, because the day is so long! Can you get ideas from the teacher about what to ask him? I remember the k-garten teachers gave out a list of good things to ask, like "whom did you play with at free time? what book was read to you today? what craft or art did you do today? what was snack? did you go outside (or if raining, what did you do instead because of the rain)? what did you learn in morning meeting (usually weather, a letter, seasonal things)?" Questions like these might get him going a little bit. I think it is a transitional stage, which in my experience was worse for my ds than my dd, and will pass. You will get your little boy back!

 
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#3 of 13 Old 09-14-2004, 09:52 AM
 
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my boy is doing the same thing! I've noticed that it gets worse towards the end of the week. I think he's tired even though he's only going 1/2 day. I think the structure and the pressure of behaving is exhausting right now. He's fighting his urge to yell and run all morning!
My son loves his teacher and wants to do well for her. He looks forward to going every morning and is in a pleasant enough mood when he gets off the bus. He generally starts flipping out an hour or so after he gets home. I'm choosing to take this all as a compliment, he feels safe with me so I get all the garbage!
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#4 of 13 Old 09-14-2004, 11:03 AM
 
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also, don't forget that now they are in a "real" school with big kids. It's a big transition and as adults we often don't realize what a major shift this is for little ones. They also go through some big developmental leaps - reading, riding bike w/out training wheels, losing teeth - so hang in there! it gets better.
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#5 of 13 Old 09-14-2004, 11:55 PM
 
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yup, here too. Our boy is an emotional trainwreck when he comes home--he has daycare added to his school day too so he's wound up tight by the time he gets home. He's had several tantrums that we haven't seen for years and today he had a doozy that lasted a good thirty minutes. I agree with what others have said and also wanted to comment that home is safe. It's safe to let all our stresses out, to vent, to blow off steam, all that stuff that's really unsafe to do in front of peers and teachers you don't know very well. We're just trying to ride it out. We haven't limited the extracurricular stuff yet, but luckily it all happens on Thursday and Friday afternoons and since I don't work on Fridays he's a little less strung out then. Hang in there!
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#6 of 13 Old 09-15-2004, 01:03 AM
 
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My ds is doing the same thing. My friends who've had their kids in daycare call it "spillover". They realize that they have to 'be good' at school, so when they get home where they are comfortable and they know they're accepted no matter what, their emotions and actions kind of overflow the boundaries. I'm hoping its temporary and will lessen in intensity as he gets used to the routine. Hang in there everyone! 2
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#7 of 13 Old 09-15-2004, 02:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robugmum
My ds is doing the same thing. My friends who've had their kids in daycare call it "spillover". They realize that they have to 'be good' at school, so when they get home where they are comfortable and they know they're accepted no matter what, their emotions and actions kind of overflow the boundaries. I'm hoping its temporary and will lessen in intensity as he gets used to the routine. Hang in there everyone! 2

I agree with this 100 percent. Kids who can operate well at school sometimes need to vent at home. This does NOT mean they are not happy at school. It just means that at school they are enjoying being "mature" big kids and at home they need to vent a little
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#8 of 13 Old 09-15-2004, 10:38 AM
 
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every morning she'll cry over something. either i pull her hair too tight while putting it in a ponytail or she cries about the mosquito i killed ( "Don't you know she was on her way to see her mommy??") or about our cat that died...in june of 2003. she is an emotional ball. but then when i see her in the afternoon she races in to my classroom and yells"hi michelle!" so she is recovered . this is only in the morning and on weekdays.
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#9 of 13 Old 09-16-2004, 12:56 PM
 
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We are in the same boat! DS started full-day kindgergarten (6.5 hours) last week, and has been exhibiting similar behaviors. It's painful for me sometimes, because I want our (more limited) time together to be fun and pleasant, not contentious. He really likes school so far, and seems to be adjusting well. I agree that we should just give it time. A friend of mine, who works in early childhood ed. and also has a k'gartener recently said, "I'd expect to see some manifestations of stress" in him, even if the transition seems to be not that difficult. I thought that was a good point.

One thing about communicating about school: for a couple years now ds and I have done this thing, after reading stories in bed and turning out the light, that we call "talk about our day." We just recount everything we did (I usually leave out any conflicts, unless he mentions them.) It seems to be the time when he's most receptive to talking about what went on at school. Also, his teacher just gave us the weekly schedule that they follow, so now I can ask more specific questions ("What activities did you do in gym today?").

We also didn't sign up for any extracurriculars for now, and I'm trying to give him plenty of opportunity to get outside to play and ride his bike after school. Also, ds has been enjoying planning our outings for the weekends (ie, visiting a museum, etc) - he's used to going lots of places during the week, so this gives him something fun to look forward to, and also more control over how his non-school time is spent, since he's picking the outing. We also often do a couple things one-on-one with our kids on weekends (ie, dh has one boy for an hour or two while I have the other), which they enjoy.

I appreciate all the comments about our kids releasing in a safe environment - definitely good to remind myself that this is not only normal, but in a weird way, desireable! He definitely has a lot going on right now.

Becca
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#10 of 13 Old 09-19-2004, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello everybody!

I'm in the midst of a cold, so it has taken me a while to write back. I appreciate that you all have written to me about your experiences. It's nice to know that I am not alone.

Some friends have suggested that I also take my son out in nature ( a walk around the neighborhood) after school and that might help center him again. This has also been suggested as a remedy for too much tv watching.

I'll write more later.

Collette
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#11 of 13 Old 09-19-2004, 12:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maya43
I agree with this 100 percent. Kids who can operate well at school sometimes need to vent at home. This does NOT mean they are not happy at school. It just means that at school they are enjoying being "mature" big kids and at home they need to vent a little
I was reading something about this in the book Playful Parenting. He talks about how kids can be on their best behavior in other situations, but when they're back with their parents all the stresses come out. I experience the same thing with my daughter. Of course, it makes me not want to pick her up some days. I've heard the opposite thing, where the children act up in school and the mom is saying, "I just don't understand it, he never does this stuff at home." So I'm wondering if my daughter gets comfy enough to act out her frustrations at school, maybe she won't do this at home. But I'd rather help her work out her frustrations at home.
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#12 of 13 Old 09-19-2004, 07:46 AM
 
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I like the idea of getting outside together for a walk. also how about some other nurturing ritual, like a special cup of tea just for after school?

 
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#13 of 13 Old 09-20-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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We are still dealing with this, especially since my youngest went to first this year (last year K was half day, first is full day).

First of all, we have become much stricter about breakfast. Every day breakfast is either oatmeal, whole milk yogurt and granola, or eggs. They can have toast and fruit too, but they must eat the other items first. Also, we really encourage them to drink a big glass of water before they leave. Dehydration and hunger don't make for happy kiddos.

When I pick them up at school, I bring some water and a snack. Sometimes we hang out, but usually we go home, because my youngest is begging for us to leave. She likes school, but she likes home, too, and she is ready to leave school at the end of the day. So we go home, and typically they veg for a while...either they draw, or lay in their beds listening to music, or they read (or are read to). Then after a half hour or so, they kind of come out of the funk and want to play, talk, etc. After supper we go for a walk every night; it is nice exercise for all of us (and the dog won't sleep well unless she gets her walk!), and it is a physical release for them.

Snacks in school can also be an issue. DD#1s class only has stuff like pretzels or crackers, and I'm okay with that. DD#2's class has that, but also really sugary cereals, etc. So dd#2 brings her snack (her request) almost every day. Typically it is a piece of fruit, or a couple of peanut butter or cheese crackers. My kids *always* bring their lunch, and I try to make sure it has plenty of protein in it, to keep them going through the afternoon. In their classrooms, there are several kids who bring their lunch, and many do so because the families are vegetarian or vegan, or simply don't think the lunch is healthy. So it isn't a big deal for them.

Finally, like everyone else said, it is a huge developmental transition, and there is alot of stress (not necessarily bad stress, but stress nonetheless) on the kids, especially the younger set. Hang in there, it *does* get better!

Lori
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