School have called me in to talk about DS, 4yo :(

(106 Posts)
wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 16:46:21

Am a regular but have name-changed for this. I'm sitting here in tears and shaky, I don't know what to do.

DS is in Reception and is one of the youngest, a last days of August baby (which may, or may not, be relevant). Since he started in September, he is always in trouble and this was also the case when he was in a (private) nursery for mornings for the previous six months. We are talking general not listening, fidgeting, being silly etc. as well as some spitting and the odd bout of hitting and kicking, although my understanding is that there is less of this now. I realise that none of these things are acceptable and I can understand how irritating it must be for the teachers.

He has always been pretty feisty but we have always had boundaries and taught him right from wrong. I'm sure everyone thinks 'it's the parents' fault' but we really have always tried to be consistent. Both DP and I are pretty meek and mild, we don't fight, we never hit each other or the DCs or condone such behaviour in any way. We have seen DS's behaviour improve immensely at home as he has got older and tbh we don't have many problems with him, above and beyond the usual 4 year old stuff. If I take him on playdates or to parties, he behaves well. He can be so lovely, is a nice older brother and is doing well learning-wise at school. But something about school environments seems to drive him a bit bonkers.

At the first parent's evening before Christmas, his teacher told me he was naughty but 'I don't think he's on some spectrum, if that's what you're thinking'. We agreed to a sticker chart which I did for a couple of months but tbh it didn't really feel like it was helping him stop what is essentially impulsive behaviour and also for it to work relied on the teacher reporting back to me every day which didn't always happen or I didn't really know enough about why it was 'not a good day' in order to explain to DS why he wasn't getting a sticker. So it fizzled out.

Yesterday was the first day back after half-term. He was in trouble yesterday for throwing people's things. Today was worse (some spitting and DS said they put him in the nursery) and his teacher has asked me to go in on Thursday to 'talk about how we can support him in school'. I don't know what to think, I don't know what to do. I feel like such a crap parent for this to be happening but I just don't know what else to do when I don't really have major problems with him elsewhere. He does go through phases of being particularly bonkers (including the last couple of weeks) after long periods of relative calm; we have looked at food, sleep etc. but there seems to be no obvious cause.

Sorry for the essay and the ranting. I just wondered if anyone had any words of wisdom. I just know I'm going to go in on Thursday and blub, although I really don't want to sad. I want to work with the teachers and I also don't want my DS to be 'crying and bored' in the nursery every day sad.

mathanxiety Sat 02-Mar-13 19:20:31

He needs his snack. He needs to drink. Lack of either or both can result in wacky behaviour and diminished responsiveness to instructions/impulsiveness/aggression.
This doesn't sound like a well managed classroom tbh.

Try fruits and high fibre snacks that are not sugared up for snack.

He is possibly having the normal testosterone surges that can happen at 4-6 in boys.

adoptmama Sat 02-Mar-13 18:34:37

Ask them to write a reminder about the snack on his daily chart so that they do remember. It is easy to do when you are dealing with a busy class with multiple needs.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sat 02-Mar-13 17:59:22

Out of interest, how do you personally handle the spitting issue?

Lavenderhoney Sat 02-Mar-13 03:24:12

They forgot? That's dreadful - when you drop off make sure you mention it and ask how she will make sure she remembers in future. It's not very supportive is it?

Keep a note of how it goes and what happens, in case you get called in again and forget how many times she forgot his snack and could be linked to behaviour.

cuggles Fri 01-Mar-13 19:17:17

well done wheels DS...over half the day was great then! What a fab start! I should ensure you keep a note of the times when school dont do their side of things like the fruit too (and I say that not out to get the school as I am a teacher but I think it is really important that you as a parent and your DS can trust the school to do what they say they will and therefore they need to address it if they aren't). I find it abit worrying that day one after the meeting, this went wrong but maybe he wouldnt eat it or something?
Also, maybe suggest for carpet time he can have something to fiddle with (like a stress ball or similar) - I used to keep 3/4 in my classroom and simply hand them to certain students who were having difficult days - always boys! (secondary though). It is a fact that boys have more fast twitch muscle fibres than girls so they just can not sit for very long at all esp. when new to having to...they have to override their physiology! Good lad!

wheelsfelloff Fri 01-Mar-13 17:51:23

Well, day one and DS got 3 stickers out of a possible 5 (not 6, as I thought) smile School, on the other hand, forgot to give him his snack and it's still in his book-bag hmm

Sorry skim read - have they given him a carpet square for circle time? Can really help wriggly kids.

Lavenderhoney Fri 01-Mar-13 15:46:44

I found when my ds was in trouble for anything, like pushing in line or something, we ( me and ds and the teacher) sat down together and found out what happened. He doesn't like to get his friends in trouble even if he is, and will take blame. It was always the case that he was retaliating to another child sticking out a tongue or pinching or something. They have to be encouraged to say what happened " to help another child learn how to behave"

The new thing in the reception this year is all reception children play in the reception playground until school starts proper for 15 mins. Teacher and ta's are out there. Parents drop off at the enclosed playground. It encourages children to be on time too- well, to nag their parents to get them to school early!

You sound a very wise Mum if you don't mind me saying x

wheelsfelloff Fri 01-Mar-13 15:04:47

lavender - yes, they said that several other children had similar charts. Interesting point about the carpet. She has also made him a star with his name on it to sit on. she did stress that the carpet sessions were not very long and suited to their age...

He usually has a good breakfast, porridge or cereals and the deal is if he wants Cheerios, he has to have a weetabix too. I have also been tryng to remember to get him to eat a handful of nuts or a banana on the way to school.

MrsM generally his diet is good and he does not like fizzy drinks or squash anyway. But I have cut out sweets - fortunately he likes fruit so there is a mountain of it now for him to choose from!

steppemum - my understanding is that they have milk in the morning break and the fruit in the afternoon. Usually over a 4-5 hour period, even after a good breakfast, DS would probably have a banana and a bit of toast or something so he must be ravenous. He took in a muesli bar to day to eat in the morning.

mrslaughan - yes, I would love to know what the triggers are e.g. about yesterday's spitting, he told me that the other boy had been trying to punch him earlier. Not that that is an excuse but sometimes the dynamics sound a bit more complicated than just my DS doing something out of the blue.

Thanks again everyone - and for those of you giving advice about SENs, I am not ignoring your advice. I think I will see how the next few weeks go. It is hard for me to think he might have a SEN as his behaviour out of school doesn't throw up any concerns but as people have said, perhaps it's because he feels safe here or we can pre-empt his behaviour. I am bearing everything in mind.

Iwillorderthefood Fri 01-Mar-13 09:40:49

It's great that the school are not telling you he is the only one with any issues. He is very little, I am fully expecting issues next September with my July born DD. she just seems far too little to be starting school this year.

I have no experience of the special needs aspects that you are concerned with, but 6 times that he is required to sit still and listen in a day seems a lot.

Are you able to take him to play in a park for half an hour before school starts? My older DD used to love this and it seemed to start her off on a good note for the day. Maybe Let him have a snack just before he goes into the classroom too? Not sure what is practical for you, and I am sorry you are going through this. Will keep checking back since as I said I think this will mirror DD2's experience next September.

I am so glad your meeting went well today. I have a 3.5yr old who has had similar problems. The difference is that he is still in nursery. Mine is one of the oldest in his year but all the behaviour you mentioned sounds normal to me, I'm hoping that learning not to be so impulsive in his responses will come with time, and in the meantime there are stickers. My DS has hit other children and obviously this is taken seriously but i think that they often miss the trigger he doesn't behave like that at home (much). You have recieved loads of good advice already but i just wanted to let you know that there are a few of us out here. I definitely think that sleep and a good breakfast make a huge difference in my house.

Thewhingingdefective Thu 28-Feb-13 23:29:36

Sorry if this is oversimplifying it, but maybe he is just too young for school.

steppemum Netherlands Thu 28-Feb-13 23:13:51

OP - if you are in the UK then reception children get a free fruit snack everyday from government. Most schools give this out at playtime.
So where is their fruit snack???

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 28-Feb-13 22:55:51

Mrslaugh, shock we also had school staf "suggest" DS needed Ritalin! Several times, different staff.

mrslaughan Thu 28-Feb-13 21:56:03

Do not rely on senco for any advice on any form of diagnosis, they are simply not qualified and I believe very dangerous.
DS is sensory seeking (sensory processing disorder) this "looks" like ADHD in many situations - ESP school. Can only be diagnosed by a specialized OT - I had OT's tell me he "definately" had ADHD and advised us to medicate.....
What teacher can do, is observe and look for triggers - what happened just before he spat, hit..... Yes the behaviour is un-desirable, but to help prevent it, you need to work out what happened beforehand......
Was he running around like a mad man , or doing lots of swinging? , was he just asked to sit down and do a fine motor task that he doesn't feel capable of doing? Is he being teased?

mrslaughan Thu 28-Feb-13 21:45:57

The behaviour you describe was very similar to my DS , he has dyspraxia and sensory processing issues (sensory seeking). The behaviour happened for 2 reasons, out of frustration because he was being expected to do things, he couldn't do or because he was in sensory overload.
For the most part we didn't see these behaviours ( except the sensory overload, very occasionally).
Having been through what we have been through - I would not countenance that it is just because he is "naughty" - there is something happening at school, that is making him frustrated, dis-illusioned.... You need to get to the bottom of what that is to help prevent it.
BTW DS is doing fab now, it is all about understanding.

adoptmama Thu 28-Feb-13 21:37:20

Bananas are a great snack as they are filling and slow releasing for energy. Bran muffins etc also good. Also have a think about what he is having for breakfast and, if it is sugary cereals etc, see if you can add more into the mix, like weetabix or porridge which are also good for keeping them going. Glad the meeting went well and good luck with your review in a couple of weeks.

MrsMushroom Thu 28-Feb-13 20:54:19

Juggling exactly. I helped out in my dds reception the other day and it IS a struggle for many of them, I think reception is too learning driven.

There should be far more free play and the sitting and writing and listening to phonics should be no more than a couple of bite sized sessions unless a child is very keen or able.

IMHO they are probably expecting these young children to sit still and listen on the carpet for too long. It may not suit all of them, especially the younger ones and maybe the boys too.
So, don't be too quick to think all of the problem is with DS. They are meant to be meeting his learning needs in a way that's appropriate for his stage of development.
As they told you today he's not the only one having problems with what's being offered/ expected.
However, we have to work with the school and teachers in the best interests of our children I do accept that.
Hope things settle down for DS and you all ASAP, and he is happy at school with his friends. smile

MrsMushroom Thu 28-Feb-13 20:39:11

Wheels that does sound positive. Can I suggest again that you look at his general diet...see if you can replace sweets with something like home made muffins...there are recipies which use honey as a sweetner...it's not that I'm suggesting sugar is all to blame or that he has a crap diet...but I just saw such a difference with my young for her year DD when I cut out processed foods...

I focused on no sweets or squash or fizzy drinks whatsover and tried to reduce things like ice cream, cake and jelly...she was having them about 3 times a week in addition to the odd sweet...but once I got rid of them all, she seemed much more able to focus and happier too....she seemed to "wake up" somehow.

She was very sensitive to colourings and sugar.

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 28-Feb-13 19:07:47

Ds3 had Aspergers dx by age 4 1/2, but we recognised his behaviour as being different from about 12 months. Very active, but not ADHD, and at the milder end of the spectrum.

All the way though primary school we had teachers and the HT telling us our properly diagnosed child was NOT on the spectrum for reasons such as- he smiles, looks into eyes, can speak very well...

The feeling was very much that it was bad parenting IMO, and they refused to believe we had NO behaviour issues with him at home. Home was his safe place, school stressed him hugely.

I'd say a big difference between home and school behaviours does suggest some kind of issue which he may need some help with.

School staff can't diagnose an of these things, if you have concerns speak to your GP about a referral, as if he does have an issue, early intervention can be very helpful

Lavenderhoney Thu 28-Feb-13 19:01:53

Just read your bit about pre lunch and him not getting a snack! He must be starving as my ds is at snack time - mid morning. as a snack I make flapjacks and ds has that plus a glass or carton of milk. What would he like as a snack? And does he have a big breakfast? Boiled egg and soldiers? Keeps him going ( just!) til lunch. I take him a snack for the car on the way home too, or he is a nightmare.

Perhaps hunger and thirst might be at the root of your worries. If he behaves the way they say he does at school when hungry, tired and thirsty?

borrowedlight Thu 28-Feb-13 19:01:35

Watching with interest as step son has similar behaviour (not just at school though). Snacks? Always think bananas are good and my son loves the oat so simple breakfast bar, it's like chewy flap jack, full of oats to keep him going but feels like a treat.

Lavenderhoney Thu 28-Feb-13 18:54:46

Welll done for the meeting and nt getting upset- Interesting to hear he's not alone in the class, are all the children doing charts etc?

I mentioned it below, but next time you are in his class ask to see where they do carpet time, and look at the carpet. Sit on it yourself for a bit and see how long before you fidget and wish you were elsewhere- all the kids might need a cushion or something. At our school they replaced the scratch, thin old thing that smelt ( you had to sit on it with bare legs to realise). Plus floors are cold and hard.

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