DS1 (reception) and rough play at school

(19 Posts)
MegBusset Thu 10-May-12 16:00:11

DS1 (5 in Feb) keeps getting into trouble for playing rough at school. In the classroom his behaviour is impeccable and he is doing really well academically. But his group of friends (mostly boys) seem to have developed a 'baddies'/'fighting' game that they play in the playground and at the moment 2-3 times a week I am getting a note in his contact book about him having been too rough or hurt someone.

I am positive that he's not hurting deliberately but the game goes too far and he doesn't stop to think. He knows full well that he shouldn't play rough games as someone could get hurt.

It's not just him as once or twice a week he complains about one of his friends hurting him in the same game! His teacher has confirmed that the whole group of friends is doing the same thing.

The playground supervisors (obviously) tells them off, if they continue then they are sent in from playtime. DS1 gets a happy face or sad face in his contact book and if it's a sad face then I follow up with a consequence at home (no laptop or TV time after school).

I am getting sick of having the same conversation several times a week. Is there anything more I/the school could be doing? Is it just a case of carrying on with the explanations/consequences or do I need to increase the severity of punishment? Is it just "something boys do"?

carocaro Thu 10-May-12 16:27:01

Yes boys do play rought games and love to wrestle and tussle with each other. But they need to know where that line is. He will learn eventually, the others will stop playing with him and exclude him from games, a sort of tough love on their part. Has the teacher talked to the whole group about it? DS2 is 5 and in reception and there was a lot of meaness and exclusion from games for no reason and some got very upset by it, so she sat them all down and talked about playground rules eg: being kind and helpful, not hurting anyone, making sure everyone has someone to play with and it seemed to help a lot.

They also set up a code word for stop, when one of them shouts VINEGAR they all have to stop what they are doing as someone is hurting. Vinegar was chosen as it is an odd word that stands out more than shouting stop 20 times.

Do you walk to school? I only say this as DS1 now 10 was very energetic and a good walk/scoot to school really helped him burn off some extra enegery before school, and he was calmer in school.

Both my DS's are aware where the line is eg: they can be much rougher with each other at home but know they could never act like that with someone else at school. It's natural to them to do it, could he do it more with Dad? A friends DS started karate because they learn all about control which has really helped him channel his eneergy and learn how to use it when appropriate, in 6 years of him learning he has never used it at school.

MegBusset Thu 10-May-12 16:39:53

Thanks. He does like to rough and tumble with his dad but actually I'd asked DH to have a firm line on 'rough' play as I thought maybe that was carrying over to school.

We do walk (well I walk, DS1 runs!) half a mile to and from school each day. He does extracurricular sports at school once a week but I'll look into karate and see if anywhere nearby takes them at 5.

The teacher does seem 'on side' about it and has spoken to the class (quite a few times!) about rough play. I do think there are one or two ringleaders and DS1 is more of a follower (he was sent inside today and when I asked him why he joined in a rough game, "Because X (his best friend) was playing it". He has only just made this best friend (his first ever, really) and I think the enthusiasm for having a BF may be clouding his better judgement!

ragged Thu 10-May-12 16:54:57

he is 5, they struggle to have any better judgement at this age.

MegBusset Thu 10-May-12 22:37:50

Bump for any more advice smile

IsItMeOr Fri 11-May-12 12:20:09

Hi, having a sort of similar problem with 3yo DS at the moment. Playful Parenting has some detailed ideas about how to do rough and tumble play at home to help them learn where the limit is.

MegBusset Mon 14-May-12 15:29:09

Bump. Another comment in his book today about playing rough. At a loss as to where I'm going wrong sad

5madthings Mon 14-May-12 15:32:26

you arent going wrong!!! he is only little and he will get there, school is still new to him and he is learning, seriously he is very little and what he is doing is very common and as you say its not just him.

how about a reward for the days when he doesnt get a comment, just something like a sticker etc to reinforce the fact he has managed to not be rough?

he is a lovely little boy and he will learn, it just takes time smile

sleepingflower Mon 14-May-12 15:34:21

I think this is a common problem with little boys in reception, they have lots of energy and not an awful lot of judgement - my 6 year old was much the same last year. He is a lot better this year and understands more about getting carried away and the consequences. He still wants to be a wrestler when he grows up though grin!

MegBusset Mon 14-May-12 15:59:47

Thanks guys smile He is lovely most of the time and I know he's only little, it's just frustrating when his behaviour in the playground seems to be getting worse not better. He does get a treat (laptop time) and lots of praise on days when he's been good all day.

5madthings Mon 14-May-12 16:06:18

well think about it, with al the wet weather have they even been getting out at playtime much recently? if not then of course they will go a bit mad when they do get to go out!! he is playing maybe talk to him about some other less physical games he can play, suggest some alternatives and just remind him he needs to think before he acts but at this age their impulse control is pretty crap! it gets better as they get older.... takes a while sometimes tho.

MegBusset Mon 14-May-12 16:08:27

Well he just said to DS2 "Mummy has been naughty to me so go and fight her" and got DS2 to come and hit me! So DS1 has now been sent his room and DS2 is on the naughty step!

TheHouseOnTheCorner Mon 14-May-12 16:11:43

In our school they stopped the boys playing a similar game in the end....and also stopped them playing soccer in the morning as the girls who were all queuing up already hmm were getting hit by the ball...I have two DDs and I thought they should have bloody stopped them queing up so early and made them play!

I feel for the little ones when they can't play their games but maybe they need a bit more supervision? It's a lot to expect if you ask me....a gang of kids being left to play more or less alone at the age of 5 and not hurt each other.

It just makes me think once again, that we begin them all too young. If I were you, I would go at playtime and have a little spy on DS and his friends...and at the supervisors too!

LingDiLong Mon 14-May-12 20:36:10

Oh it's infuriating isn't it?! I've had the same problem with my 5 year old DS. His class happens to be particularly big this year and mostly boys - around 22 boys to 11 girls or something. And the majority seem to enjoy fighting games, my DS being one of them. I've had the teacher speak to me once about his behaviour but I know he has also had to miss part of his playtime on a couple of other occasions. It's all play fighting gone too far from what he, his older sister (a reliable grass!!) and the teacher say. Fingers crossed it seems to have calmed down now with me doing no more than you are, I'm hoping they've all just settled into school life a little.

Only other thing I can think of is what TV does he watch? Some programs - Power Rangers being one of them - seem to be a real trigger for this 'fighting' type of play in my experience.

MegBusset Mon 14-May-12 23:13:46

He does not watch any action cartoons (Scooby Doo is as exciting as it gets) but all his friends seem to so he picks it up anyway sad

5madthings Tue 15-May-12 10:17:17

yep he will just join in with the other children and he really isnt doing it maliciously, really all you can do is what you are doing!

you know what my ds2 has been like! it is wearing and you think wtf am i doing wrong?!! but he has turned a corner recently and H will as well, one day you will just realise that you havent had a comment in the diary for a while. it will be so gradual that you dont notice the change.

has the teacher made any suggestions, i think they could perhaps be directing their play a bit more, at the boys primary the yr 6 children act as 'mentors' to the reception children and a few of them help supervise playtime and play games with them etc, they can encourage them to play less rough games, do they have anything like that at his school? smile

DeWe Tue 15-May-12 11:03:48

TV can't answer it. My ds (reception but not 5 yet) does these fighting games. He divides the boys into "fighting boys" and "football boys"(his terms) at least those boys he wants to play with. We don't have a TV so his watching is very strictly controlled. He has never seen power rangers, or anything of that ilk.

Two major issues on the fighting games is either a child not playing and coming too close and accidently being knocked (then says "he hit me on purpose") or one child going too hard, actually hitting and the receiver getting angry and retaliating.

They seem to be getting much better this term, however ds had a very bad day yesterday, the first for about a term, so hoping that was a blip rather than a new thing. sad

MegBusset Wed 16-May-12 20:56:01

Well interestingly I was in school all morning helping prepare for the fete and got to spy on their morning playtime. I was reassured (sort of!) to see that amongst the reception kids, quite a lot of the playing seemed to involve running round grabbing/pulling/pushing at each other, so at least DS1 is typical in his peer group! He actually spent most of the break spinning round like a whirling dervish and then sitting under a bench with his best friend smile

He has had two really good days at school so I'm feeling much better about things. My friend on the PTA said her older one was just the same in YR, always getting comments about fighting but grew out of it.

5madthings Wed 16-May-12 20:58:23

glad you are feeling better and YES he is totally normal!! he will grow out of it smile

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