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  1. #1
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    Default How to "undo" daycare methods

    Hi all, (I'm already sorry for the long post! )

    I posted about my 6yo son's behaviour issues in the Behaviour and Discipline forum, but I have another question I hoped mums with school age kids might be able to assist with please.

    At daycare, they encouraged the children to have a self imposed time-out/thinking time/calming down time if the child was upset or getting angry etc. Our daycare had a cool teepee that my son used quite a lot. They would basically let the children stay in the teepee as long as they wanted, but the carers would come by every couple of minutes and ask if the child was ready to join in again, and eventually the child would come out. DS has always has issues with getting angry and calming down (for which we had seen a psychologist) but he has been doing SUPER well since daycare ended last year.

    DS has started school this year, and has been hiding (in the bag room or under a table) when frustrated or upset. It's only happened a few times, but most of them were last week, and it seems like his behaviour issues are ramping up again. The first one was when he got lost on day 2 and I kind of understand that one as he was new, didn't know any kids, and was scared by all the bigger kids running around when the bell rang. These other ones are just tantrums.

    I have tried to explain that the rules for daycare and the rules for school are different, and that going away like that isn't what you are supposed to do at big school. His teacher is getting extremely frustrated by the behaviour as he has spent between 1 and 2 hours hiding each time! According to both my son and the teacher, the inciting incidences were nothing especially huge (once he felt he couldn't do an art activity but refused to get help from anyone, and the other times another kid bumped him and it upset him even though it was accidental which even he knows) and I am struggling to help him identify that 1. small things should be easy to get over and 2. hiding is not ok or solving the problem/calming him down.

    The teacher has said next time he does this, she will have to send him to the principal , and he just doesn't get that it's a big deal. He is so used to being able to have a time-out on HIS terms because of the way daycare worked.

    How can I help him understand that he needs to change this behaviour? I've suggested all the usual counting to ten, deep breaths etc etc etc, I've offered rewards for a good day or week, I've suggested taking things away, like TV time etc. I've tried reading stories with similar themes and he just keeps telling me he is "trying as hard as he can" or he doesn't know why he does what he does. I can't understand what's changed in the last week for this to escalate so quickly. He has made great friends and seems to have a great time in school, at playtime, and is doing just fine with his learning.

    Does anyone has ANY advice they could offer please? I don't want this to go on any further but I have run out of ideas to make him understand that big school is VERY different to daycare.

  2. #2
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    Firstly, I think the teacher needs to be a bit more understanding...he is in Prep and he is struggling with the transition, he won't be the first or the last.

    Is "sending to the principal" a punishment? Or would it be used as some one on one time with a grown up who can boost him up and help him?

    It is hard for a grown up to change a set behaviour, so it will be a gradual thing. Perhaps he could have some sort of comfort item for when he feels stressed? Something he could hold on to (even if he stays in his seat) to have some internal time out.

    I think that if you and the teacher work together, he will start to be stronger. Some positive rewards for "not self excluding"? Praise at the end of the day, a reward chart, extra play time or a special treat on the way home (stopping for an icypole or something).

    Talk with the principal too...your DS is not misbehaving, he is doing what he has been taught to do to manage his own temper...which is good.

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    I don't have a child with anger issues, but I don't see why this is such a big problem for the teacher. He gets upset so takes himself away to calm down. He doesn't yell, scream, bite, hit or in any way endanger himself or others. I would expect the teacher to work with him (and you) by suggesting appropriate options, not threatening to send him to the principal!

    Does the teacher approach him and try to re-involve him in the classroom or is he just left there? I'd be very concerned and unimpressed if he is effectively ignored while upset.

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    I always give my prep kids time out if they're getting angry etc... Can't see why it would be such an issue for his teacher. Do they not have a book corner of somewhere he can go? It's not possible to go 'cold turkey' on a coping strategy like this and will just cause more problems. Have you spoken to the teacher about what you can both do together to phase it out slowly? Your child obviously recognises when he needs time alone...that's a pretty mature thing and not something that should be squashed. I would speak to him about other strategies he could use to relax himself; stress balls, the balls with stretchy tassel things. He could maybe get that out and play with it while he works to calm himself down? I think he just needs time to adjust and gradually replace the hiding with something less intrusive to the classroom and work environment. Good luck!

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    Also can I just say that children don't often know why they are angry and to question them about it will often make them more frustrated (from my experience - I know I have this problem as well)

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    Can you organise a time to talk to the teacher about all that? This is a ongoing thing and you need to work out some strategies to deal with the situation.

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    This is me! Except my son doesn't have the daycare part! I have a parent teacher meeting next week with his teachers. One thing I found on the net last week while I was trying to find solutions was this.

    Sit down with your son and write a list 10- being the very worst thing that could happen to make him angry/frustrated/upset to 1- being the least. We spent just under an hour doing my sons. Number 10 was our house burning down and loosing all his toys etc. Number 1 was not getting sweets after tea. We talked about how each number was a different level of bad and warranted a different reaction. I laminated it and sent it to school with him so his teachers can use it to get him to refer to during moments of anger and say things like is this as bad as if your house was burning down? etc.

    Saying things like, 'When other children get angry like you/this they might try to .... etc' Or when get angry etc etc. I know its hard!

    How is his teacher? I think that might be part of our problem. In the 8 years our teacher has been at this school I have heard no parent give them a good report. The teacher yells a lot and very loudly. This makes it hard for a very emotional child as mine. She is good to talk to though so I am hoping we can work through things together.

    I will let you know how my teacher parent meeting goes and see if there is anything that could be of use to you.

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    Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies! You're all right - he IS just little and this is his self-preservation mechanism, so I need to remember it as well as trying to make the teacher understand this.

    I have had quick chats with the teacher after school on the days it's happened but nothing substantial - that's my goal this week to have that conversation with her.

    I answer to some of the questions - yes, I think the teacher tries to get him involved again but I also understand she has 16 other students to keep busy and under control. From the way she said it, I think a visit to the principal is a "talk" so I doubt he'll get "in trouble" but I'd like to help him before we get to that.

    Patsmum, I'd love to hear how your meeting goes - any advice much appreciated!

    Thanks so much for replying, everyone!

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    You know, personally I don't see that big of a problem with it. I mean if he's getting angry or frustrated and wants to hide to avoid the inevitable blow up then isn't that a good thing?
    I'd just organise with the teacher that he has a particular 'time out' space that he can use that's the only place he goes to like a particular store room or something. I'd get them to set a time limit on it (ie. 5 minutes) and give him a stop watch or something. It would give him something to focus on other than the fact that he was angry and still give him his space.
    I'd also give the teacher a timer with a buzzer or something to remind them go and get him (we all know what busy noisy classrooms are like and you wouldn't want him spending the whole day in there lol).

    He's only a little guy and I think showing the maturity to take himself out of a situation rather than loosing his lolly is pretty darn impressive at that age! It might be disruptive to the class to see him go off on his own but would they rather that, or him throw a fit and potentially clock another child simply out of frustration?

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    I'd be speaking to his psychologist for suggestions on how to manage him from your perspective and maybe a report for the teacher to have some recommendations of what to do in the classroom. (I mean make an appt with the psych, not just call them). Is there a school counselor? Maybe they could help as well.

    But, basically I'd be setting up an urgent meeting with your ds's teacher to discuss this. It makes perfect sense to me why he is doing it (and to him), but she may have no idea why and just think he's being naughty (hiding for 2 hours is no minor issue mind you!). Also explain that you are not sure what to do and see if she has any suggestions on how she is going to manage his behaviour.

    Hope it settles soon.


 

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