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  1. #1
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    Default 3.5 yr old not settling in kindy

    Our 3 year old boy is not settling in kindy and has been there for over a month now. The teacher said he is very clingy and does not mix at all with other kids, the class are a very outgoing group and they have tried to get him involved but he doesnt talk or mingle with the other kids. They have all made friends at this stage.. He is the youngest in the class as alot of the kids turn 5 this year. He will be 4 in a few months time in May. I just feel something is bothering him looks forward to going there but once there doesnt want to be there even after i leave. We feel like taking him out as dont think he is ready socially to start. He is really good with numbers letters etc but feel that this stress is affecting his enjoyment. Not sure whether to try different school or take him out completely and just concentrate on bringing him to playgroups etc. He does kindygym and is relaxed with the other kids in that and with swimming. Teacher has suggested playdate with one of the kids in his class but have tried and he just refuses to play with them. Saw an article today then saying 6 is time enough for kids going to school and that there can be negative effects if they start too early or when they arent ready Anyone in the same boat or have advice??? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Only time will tell. It may be that he isn't ready socially, but if that's the case the routine of going to Kindy now as opposed to Pre-Primary next year (called different things in different states I know but I'm a W.A. girl so please forgive me!) would benefit him.
    I disagree with the 6 is time enough argument. Besides the fact that most states have a 5 year old compulsory level/ or Pre-Primary AND the National Curriculum has come in to play with levels of expectations right from 5 years old +... having a 6 + year old that can not read, write or socialise, follow simple instructions, listen and speak appropriately is pretty heart breaking to watch. As children struggle whilst their peers do not is noticed by them, they feel isolated and frustrated.
    In saying all of that I know exactly what you are going through. My little man is very clingy come goodbye time, it's gotten to the point where I just have to walk out to him crying and calling for me, luckily he has a great teacher who is not afraid to pick him up and give him the cuddle he needs and then she occupies his mind with "helpful" tasks. Somehow I don't think he is much help. He is also very shy and I was worried that he was going to be trodden over when he got thereand just watch it all happen, but today I got to witness him actually playing with another child (granted the other child was pretending to be a vampire and had to be stopped before biting anyone, but baby steps!)
    I just keep reminding myself that at their age they can't remember children's names until months and months have past, so how can they feel confident enough to get in and play (if they are especially shy) and learn new skills straight away (and to them a month is still straight away). It must be so overwhelming. My son had been going to Daycare for 2 years previously so I was shocked to have to deal with the separation anxiety as well.
    My question is... Is the teacher new to teaching Kindy? If not she should have some strategies for involving children to the point of forgetting that they are not wanting it, besides the "play date" one. If she doesn't, maybe ask if you can spend half a morning there doing the activities with your son AND other children, being a helper so that he can see you sharing and interacting. Beyond that only time, don't be too rash and withdraw him yet he isn't 4 until May, You will notice a change throughout those months.
    Good luck, I know I need it!


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    My dd is also the youngest of the pack (born 30jun and cut off for wa is 1jul - i know!) and quite reserved. Though she only cried the first day, she hardly talked to her teacher, did not play with her friends, did not sing, etc. the first three days of school. Then i started researching about helping shy kids and we've been having playdates, role plays and practising lines at home, sticker charts to mark her 'success' in talking to others or doing something 'brave', go out more to expose her to new environments and people, etc. Slowly she starts showing progress. Now she talks more and starts playing with friends.

    Yet she still shows signs of shyness, like she's always the last to move and freezes when put in spotlight. The teacher raised her concern this week and said something along the line that maybe i need to pull her out as she's not ready. Btw she said the same thing only the second day dd was at school because she did not speak. This upsets me so much because dd loves school, she's looking forward to go, and she has no problem academically. She's just shy.

    I started googling again and found that holding back kids from school just because they're young does not result in long term benefits. In many cases it will even result in negative feelings (confused, embarrassed, failing) when they learn they're being held back. Young kids might struggle at first and being shy means a lot more work for parents and teachers, but they'll catch up. Please give your little one a chance. I know it's hard, but kids vary greatly, ours may just need a little more time and a lot more patience. Good luck!

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  4. #4
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    I have to respectively disagree with dompita about 'holding children back' (that is a term that I don't like btw) being harmful. Yes, that is an issue when you hold children back at school, but not at age 3.5 in pre-school. At age 3.5 they don't understand that they are waiting another year and that their peers are 'going ahead' of them. Think of all the children who never start pre-school at 3.5 and instead just start at 4.5, do they feel 'held back'? No, they don't.

    As for benefits, well there are plenty and they are mostly social, both in the early years and again in secondary school at the end particularly. For when they are in the early years of school (eg. Prep here in Vic) they need to be able to manage socially and expectations are high (such as dressing/undressing on their own, toileting alone, managing playground disputes without teacher assistance at least initially, etc). For the youngest child in the class this is going to be a lot harder than the oldest child in the class (on average anyway). And at the end of secondary school the youngest child (who may be 18+ months younger than some of his/her peers) will be the last to get a drivers licence, the last to develop physically (definitely quite an issue for boys who have a growth spurt at around 15/16).

    Basically I go with the philosophy of 'What is the rush?', because what is the rush? If the child isn't socially ready, then it is irrelevant that they are 'academically' ready. What is the point of being able to count, read, etc if the child is too socially reserved to talk about numbers, letters, words?

    My ds started '4yo Kinder' (a misnomer I now realise) at age just 4 (his Birthday is in Jan) and he was almost the youngest in the class and really struggled socially. While the others mostly played in groups well, he was still mostly playing alone or with one other child. He wouldn't talk in the group setting, he showed no outward (public) interest in numbers or words (but he could count to well over 20 and he could read quite well). He couldn't even choose which activity to do when presented with multiple options - he would ask the teacher to help him choose. He wasn't crying though. To us, we thought he was doing well as he said he was enjoying himself and he was happy to go to Kinder each day and he would tell us all the fun stuff he did during the day. It wasn't til the teacher sat us down in June and said that he really wasn't socially ready for school the next year that we realised there was a serious problem.

    So, we gave him a 2nd year of Kinder and wow what a difference a year made. He was playing in groups from Day 1, he was talking up the front of the class, he was writing words on his creations and overall he was just managing SO much better. He is now in Prep (first year of School here in Vic) and he is thriving. He still has some social issues (slow eater, slow dresser, not the most outgoing child), but now we can get some idea of his long term social skills level. I think from 3 - 5 children change A LOT and although some children are naturally shy, most will improve dramatically over the course of a year.

    Do I have any regrets? Only 1 - that I didn't send him to 3yo Kinder at age 4, instead of 4yo Kinder (he was in childcare prior to that and they had expressed vague issues about his socialisation but only super vague comments with no real suggestions).

    So, if you haven't made a decision yet and are still looking for advice I would suggest that you keep your dd home for another year and send her when she's 4.5.

    Sorry for the essay.

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  6. #5
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    I held my son back in kinder as did probably 80 other mums who started their kids in prep, turning 6 early in the year (Jan/feb/march/April) rather than turning 5.
    It didn't harm them and they are none the wiser not to mention that they are all well ahead of the scheduled reading levels for their year and age group.
    I guess you have to think what are the chances that I 'will regret holding them back once they are 9' or 'will regret not holding them back once they are 9'.
    I myself prefer to offer my kids the best possible start to schooling possible. Allowing maturity to develop, social abilities to develop and the mind to develop is the most beneficial thing I believe.
    And if in the end you still have a child struggle in primary school then you know you done what you could possibly do to try and avoid this and if they thrive then you also know you have done all you could do.
    It is not uncommon for kids to start school later rather than earlier. It is recommended by the board of education and you would have / should have received a letter about deferring upon application to kinder.
    It's a hard choice at the time, I struggled alot to come to my decision as I just assumed all kids started school age 4-5 but not these days and until you get more involved in kinder/school etc you don't realize how common it is

  7. #6
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    My son was much the same last year when starting kindy at 3.5. We persisted and it was the best decision for him he is now 4.5 and in prep (first year of fulltime schooling in qld) and he ia absolutely thriving, one of the top in his class.

    Ultimately it depends what state you are in and your own personal thoughts on the matter. In qld if we didnt send DS1 to kindy last year he would not have been able to go this year, unless we jumped through a hell of a lot of hoops and then if he didnt start prep this year he would have been placed straight into year 1 next year and miss out on prep altogether. .

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    I do appreciate that it works differently for each kid. I didn't know you can have your kids stay another yr in kindy - i think i would feel better if this option was presented to us. in our case the teacher suggested to simply puling her out. Knowing my dd, it would be too drastic of a measure for her. That's why we thought of giving her a chance.

    In saying that, this morning I had another long discussion with DH and we'll be prepared to see what other options dd has if she doesn't improve in a short term. I guess you just have to work out what's best for your kids.

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    I think about when my parents were little ... child care was almost non-existent. Children stayed home and followed mum and dad around, helping with chores, playing games with siblings, playing on their own. I really wouldn't force it if your child doesn't have to be there (because you both work etc.)... trust your instincts, if you are not comfortable with the room then it probably isn't the right place for your child. My little boy goes 2 days a week and has since he was 3.5yrs. I send him to socialise as I felt he was getting a bit bored at home .... He gets upset in the morning but when I come to pick him up he doesn't want to go home so I know he has had a great day. If I picked him up and he was still upset then there is no way I would leave him there... they are only with us for such a short time before they have to go to school so I wouldn't push anything if it isn't needed Playgroup is a great way for him to feel comfortable interacting with others as mummy is there!

  10. #9
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    My ds started kinder at 3. He was the youngest and by the end of the year he was 2 months off 4 and all the other kids were 4.5, 5 and a bit older.

    I got told it's very normal for boys to take a long time to settle in, especially if they're a bit younger. It takes a good kindy/pre school teacher to make time and effort to help them settle in.

    By the end of tue year my ds still didn't have a best friend but he played with the other boys from time to time, and did some alone stuff too.

    He cried for a few months but as soon as I left he'd stop. He had his favourite teacher and she really helped him alot.

    Up to you if you take him out, only you know your ds. I'm a bit like 'you have to see it through' and not let them give up so easily- I think it's a life lesson that a 3yo can start to learn... but obviously if it's really distressing and it's affecting his confidence adversely then it's a different issue.

    Good luck, hope he's ok soon xo

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notably Nutty View Post
    Only time will tell. It may be that he isn't ready socially, but if that's the case the routine of going to Kindy now as opposed to Pre-Primary next year (called different things in different states I know but I'm a W.A. girl so please forgive me!) would benefit him.
    I disagree with the 6 is time enough argument. Besides the fact that most states have a 5 year old compulsory level/ or Pre-Primary AND the National Curriculum has come in to play with levels of expectations right from 5 years old +... having a 6 + year old that can not read, write or socialise, follow simple instructions, listen and speak appropriately is pretty heart breaking to watch. As children struggle whilst their peers do not is noticed by them, they feel isolated and frustrated.
    In saying all of that I know exactly what you are going through. My little man is very clingy come goodbye time, it's gotten to the point where I just have to walk out to him crying and calling for me, luckily he has a great teacher who is not afraid to pick him up and give him the cuddle he needs and then she occupies his mind with "helpful" tasks. Somehow I don't think he is much help. He is also very shy and I was worried that he was going to be trodden over when he got thereand just watch it all happen, but today I got to witness him actually playing with another child (granted the other child was pretending to be a vampire and had to be stopped before biting anyone, but baby steps!)
    I just keep reminding myself that at their age they can't remember children's names until months and months have past, so how can they feel confident enough to get in and play (if they are especially shy) and learn new skills straight away (and to them a month is still straight away). It must be so overwhelming. My son had been going to Daycare for 2 years previously so I was shocked to have to deal with the separation anxiety as well.
    My question is... Is the teacher new to teaching Kindy? If not she should have some strategies for involving children to the point of forgetting that they are not wanting it, besides the "play date" one. If she doesn't, maybe ask if you can spend half a morning there doing the activities with your son AND other children, being a helper so that he can see you sharing and interacting. Beyond that only time, don't be too rash and withdraw him yet he isn't 4 until May, You will notice a change throughout those months.
    Good luck, I know I need it!

    I agree with most of this.

    Our kindy knew my ds would get upset in the mornings When i left so they would set up his favorite activity every morning on the days he attended. It helped him not get so upset and settle quicker.
    He also had a buddy who would help him, and they'd ask my ds to be helper of the day alot so that he could feel engaged with the activities that were going on.

    A good teacher/assistant should know how to handle these situations and make the child feel relaxed.

    They should know how to handle a 3yo instead of a 4yo. Not just suggest after a few weeks that they are not coping.


 

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