Friday, October 3, 2008

Her, Me, or Them?

So Daphne isn't doing too well at school. She's three, and she's already having problems at school.

First, she came home from her second day of preschool and told me she had gotten a time out. She described the incident in detail. It went something like this: "Mommy I got time out. I take the chair and the boy fall and bonk his head. Then teacher make a grumpy face and I so crying." When I asked the teacher about it, she said it went down pretty much just like that.

The next time I picked her up, the teacher was a sub, and I asked, "So how did Daphne do today?" Her response was, "Well, she tried." "What do you mean?" I asked. She said that Daphne had a hard time sitting still and listening to instructions. This, I know. This is one of the two reasons I sent her to preschool at age 3. She's smart, and I figured she'd learn her letters and numbers and stuff in 4 year old preschool just fine. But the one thing, well two things, I knew she needed work on before that were 1) Sitting still and following instructions. I learned this because every time I looked in on her at church nursery, all the kids were sitting in their chairs for singing time and Daphne was running in circles around them. But the weird thing is, she's not hyper. Spirited, yes. Hyper, no. At home she listens to instructions fine. She sits still to color for long periods of time, plays with her toys quietly for long periods of time, watches shows without wiggling hardly at all. And she does what she's told. There are consequences at our house and she knows it. But at church, maybe not. At preschool, I don't know. She is very clever and I would not put it past her to work the system. If someone isn't firm with her, I can see her not listening. 2) Socialization. She is the eldest child so she doesn't play with other kids or watch their examples at home. And she rarely plays with other kids outside the home. There is one other kid in our neighborhood close to her age (8 months older) and they play together twice a week. But he's a very meek boy. So there aren't a lot of struggles between them. But when Daphne gets around other kids or groups of kids, like nursery or preschool, I can see that she doesn't really know how to communicate with them and share with them. So I wanted her to go to preschool to learn appropriate behavior with other kids.

So both of those issues are clearly coming up in preschool. This shouldn't surprise me. But I swear nearly EVERY time I go to pick her up lately, the teacher tells me she has had a time out. Tuesday it was for not sitting still during reading time. So she got a time out, which meant she came up front and sat next to the teacher. And the teacher told me that Daphne wasn't phased by this at all. Well, Daphne is super adult-oriented. She really likes to play to adults. So my guess is that she saw that "time out" as a reward, a chance to sit up front and be close to Teacher.

Then Thursday they said she had been fighting with another child over toys. WTH??? I realize she's supposed to be working on these issues--that's why I sent her. But I'm starting to feel like i have a troubled child when she comes home almost every day with a story about how she got time out or when the teacher tells me she has all these issues. it her? Is it me? Or is it them? Are they not strict enough? Is she a problem child and I'm in denial? Or am I not doing something at home (or doing something wrong at home) that is causing these problems? I'm a first-timer, so what should I think of all this? Do I need to be having de-briefings after every day of school? Should I be giving double time outs at home? Help me! I'm seriously clueless.


Jen said...

It sounds to me, that its not you at all! I think that if she is doing great at home with the listening and being punished when she isnt, then its the teachers who arent doing the disiplining. Which could mean that since there is little at school she is playing off of it, or like you said maybe there idea of disapline is not working with her. (like having her "time out" by the teacher.) I would just ask them what forms of disapline they are using and then maybe suggest something else to help her understand that she cant get away with things there just like at home. I dont think she is a bad kid or a trouble maker at all, However kids will be kids and push boundries. I think you are doing a great job! =)

Shandra said...

Okay, so I missed Blurker Amnesty day, so forgive me. Anyway, I check in on your blog occasionally. (I found it through Tiburon's, who I found through an actual person that I really actually know.) Well, I've been working on my Early Childhood Education Degree (where I'd be teaching preschool) plus I help out with my daughter's preschool. You may want to talk to the teacher about setting up rewards for Daphne instead of punishments. Instead of calling it a time-out when she has to go sit by the teacher, which she obviously loves, have the teacher use it as a reward for holding still. My daughter loves sitting by her teacher and one of the few ways we've gotten her to sit still with the class instead of whining for me or moving around is to sit on the "special stool." It's just a stool from the other room, but she feels more grown-up when she earns a seat on it. Anyway, talk to the teacher. Your child shouldn't be coming home every day from school feeling like a "problem child" especially when there are no such problems at home. I'd talk to the teacher about techniques that will work with your kid. You're the parent, she's the teacher. Who knows your kid better? Good luck with it!

Devri said...

I think everyone just took my comments so I will just say-

You are a great mom, keep up the good work,

Lame I know, but that is all I got.

Kristine said...

Arianne, I think it's just her personality as well. You are doing a great job! She probably is just excited to be at preschool and doesn't know how to focus that energy in a positive way. It's only been a month, right? I'd give it 6 months to a year before you start worrying about anything. She will learn. But I would mention to the teacher about the whole time out during story time being seen as a positive reinforcement rather than a punishment. I think that's a bad idea having a timeout next to a teacher anyway. Most kids love their teachers.

It's interesting reading your post because I have been worrying about Josh for the past couple of weeks of preschool for probably the opposite reasons from Daphne. Every kid is so different.

I heard a quote once that said something like - As parents, we expect our kids to be perfect even though we are not. It's kind of true. We just want the best for them and want them to be the best they can be, but we really should just let them be kids and use their own free agency.

Hope that helps. Sorry for the rambling... :)

Judi said...

It is SO them!!
My oldest was just like your Daphne. She is 3 for heavens sake! Good Luck with what ever you do though!

Sara said...

After having 3 kids go through pre-school. i realized they all have different personalities, and some teachers cope really well and some don't. If she can't handle Daphne, she needs to get a new job, seriously!

Christie said...

I agree with the previous comments - she's 3. I think the whole reason you send your kids to preschool is for the socialization - so they can get used to playing with other kids and sitting still so that by kindergarden, they're ready. She's got time, and I'm sure she'll be just fine.

Chelsea said...

One thing I noticed while observing Sawyer's preschool camp this summer - ALL the three year olds were running around not listening to instructions, including the ones who had already been to preschool for several months, while the 4 and 5 year olds were all behaving perfectly (well, not perfectly, but at least they were able to sit still and focus.) I mentioned it to the teachers and they said it really is just an age thing. She'll learn and acquire those skills as she gets older.

Mia said...

Zoey is in her second year of preschool, is the oldest, and is very adult oriented. She thrives on hugs and complements from her teachers and will do almost anything they ask if she is promised a hug or the chance to sit in Teacher's lap. She never runs in and says hi to a friend she hugs her three teachers then tells them about her day/weekend. She also spent the first year without "friends" because she was so content to play by herself. Ok it was more like after Christmas break that she really started playing with the others. So I am with the rest give it 6 months to a year.

I had a friend who was having struggles at our preschool which baffled me because I have always loved it there. We had a third friend who's child also goes there come in and talk to the teacher. She was an impartial third party who had been around this girl enough to know a few tricks/reward systems/time change activities that really worked for this girl. That way the parent wasn't emotional, the teachers weren't defensive and they came up with some good solutions. This little girl, unlike Daphne, does have struggles with attention so her situation was a little different.

The teachers do need to be patient with her, she is three for goodness sakes! Don't get to feeling down, I know this might sound trite since we haven't actually met... but you are a good mom. You love your kids, you encourage your kids, and you set boundaries/expectations/requirements for them that they meet on a regular basis. I think that is what we are supposed to be doing right?

Mindi said...

this was SO kaitlyn--classic first child. i used to flip out if i stayed to watch her dance class when she was 4. it seemed like every child in the room could follow instructions but her, and it gave me total anxiety.

if she's smart and isn't fazed by this, just keep doing what you're doing. let her go to school, let her learn the rules on her time. if she was coming home crying and beside herself that she got a time out, then you'd have to figure something out. but some children learn differently from others--the preschool teacher has a lot of young kids all going diff directions at one time (bless her heart. she's CR-AAAAAAAYYYYYZZZZZZZEEEEEEE to do it. but i love women who will do it so i can drop my kid off) and she's gotta have something that works.

that little daphne knows what she's doing.

Suzie said...

OH, Arianne!
I have one of these children too. She is now 21 and has been a handful her whole life.
Different things have always motivated her. Be patient. Trust your instincts. Work with the teacher.

Notme said...

Daphne and Landon would kill each other if we left them alone. Seriously. Even my Ped said to buy a book called "Raising your spirited child" Because Landon is SO much like D. Very VERY independent and stong willed. If you get her figured out will you please pass some advice on to me? I would totally appreciate it.