I think my son is extremely well-behaved. Well, at least he is around me. But to my surprise, he can be a bit naughty in class. Not purposely so. There are just certain things he just doesn’t want to do. Sometimes he doesn’t want to sit for story time. He says, “It’s boring!” So he runs around the back of the class and plays while the other kids are listening. Obviously this is completely unacceptable. And I know my son must learn to follow directions.
Some background. We skipped preschool due to the expense and opted to keep him at home. We are also fairly liberal parents, and don’t impose a lot of restrictions on him. Mostly due to the fact that he is such a good kid. He’s very self-contained and doesn’t touch things he’s not supposed to; there is very little to get on him for. But due to our ‘do your thang’ policy, he has trouble ‘doing someone else’s thang.’
K is exceptional academically. His reading and comprehension is advanced, and he is the best reader in his class. He is also pretty advanced in math. Given all of his aptitude, I was really surprised that he was having trouble following directions. Given his stubborn and independent spirit, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Some days my K would have a good day, and others were so-so. Very few were just great. (Great would equate to following all directions.) It’s not that he would just not follow, he genuinely appears to have an issue with certain activities. He seems to get upset by too much noise, so the sing-a-long is out. He hates taking pictures, so Picture Day was a wrap. And he doesn’t like strangers– even if they are firemen telling him to Stop, Drop and Roll.
We started punishing him for being disobedient in school. One day his dad brought him home and made him sit against the wall (with no TV or stimulation) for hours. It seemed to help, but he still wasn’t following all of his teacher’s instructions. So we worked with his teacher to come up with some creative solutions.
Here is what we are currently doing, and it seems to be having some impact:
1) He reads the daily schedule when he walks into the classroom. That way he’s aware of what will happen throughout the course of the day.
2) We pep talk him (and sometimes threaten him ;)) in the morning and night.
3) His teacher has created a daily progress report. The report is broken down into each section of instruction (ex. Story Time, Math, etc). When he participates in that part of the lesson and listens to adult directions, he gets a sticker next to that section.
4) We go overboard with praise and congratulations when he comes home with his daily progress report full of stickers.
5) I reward him for an entire week well done. (“Reward” is code for “toy.”) I had reservations about this tactic, but we all work toward rewards in life.
6) We volunteer in his class from time-to-time. Not always possible due to busy schedules, but we try.
7) His teacher emails me about his bad or good behavior. I make him read her emails to let him know that we are communicating.
8) I’m also creating a cash system. He can turn in a progress report full of stickers, or a golden ticket, toward a bigger prize of his choice.