It’s been a couple of months now and hopefully your child has gotten used to school and has settled in nicely. Everything seems to be going along great when suddenly he/she gets “in trouble” at school. What do you do?
First of all, there are all levels of “trouble”. There’s being sent to the principal’s office (take it seriously) all the way to being told to “use your inside voice” (most children are told that at some point). Try to find out from your child the exact circumstances and what was said. Was it specific to your child or directed at the whole class? Did the reprimand come from his/her classroom teacher, a special area teacher, another child? Where did it happen….in the classroom, the hallway, cafeteria, library, etc? That will give you a sense of whether it was said to the group as a whole during a particular rowdy part of gym, for example, or if your child was really acting up for some reason.
Of course, some children are more forthcoming with answers than others. Some are guilty or upset and can’t wait to tell you about it. And some internalize worries and won’t say a word about them. You know your own child. I gave you a whole list in the above paragraph but I wouldn’t bombard your child with that many questions even if he/she is a talker. Try to get him/her to tell you about the incident in a quiet place, maybe over a snack or cuddled on the couch, and really listen. You’ll get a sense of when and where. The biggest thing to find out is if it was class directed or really meant only for your child. Most five year olds that I have known take any kind of teacher correction very personally. In one incident, a student of mine went home constantly telling her mom that, “The Gym Teacher keeps yelling at me.” This went on for weeks until the child was afraid to go to Gym. The mother finally wrote to me (she hadn’t wanted to “bother” me before) and I brought it up to the Gym Teacher. It turns out she hadn’t been “yelling” at the child at all. The Gym is a very big place and she had to speak loudly for the children to hear her. Add to that the fact that they were riding on little wooden tricycles all over the Gym and you can see why she “yelled”. But this particular child took it all personally. When we figured it out, the Gym teacher sat the class down and explained why she had to speak loudly. She also made sure to give the little girl some extra TLC in class. In the classroom, I used my bear puppet, Muffin, to have the children help him brainstorm what to do if he was reprimanded in school. The point is…try to find out exactly what happened. Don’t assume the worst. Usually it’s a rebuke said either to the whole class or in a group situation even if it is directed at your child (stop talking, hands to yourself, let’s share, etc.) If your child really won’t tell you what happened, contact his/her teacher or the special area teacher or both. No one is going to think you are being a pain for being concerned about your son/daughter. If there’s really a problem, you can work together to correct it before it gets out of control. But probably you will find out that it was no big deal. Then you can reassure your child that he/she is doing a good job in school and has nothing to be worried about. Either way, you are keeping a little problem from becoming a big one!
PLEASE post any questions, problems, comments,( or good things about Kindergarten that you’d like to share) in the comments. If you have them, other folks do, too. And I’d love to address them in these posts.
Take Care. 🙂