Please Tell me what your just turned 4 year old boy is like! Worried about mine!

(32 Posts)
1fish2fish Fri 26-Jul-13 14:46:56

I have twin boys who have just turned 4 years old. Daily life with them is a bit crazy, some days just surviving the day and getting through it as best I can is as good as it gets. I have this deep seated worry that I am not doing enough with them and that they are not 'right' for their age. They start school in September, as summer born babies, only just 4 and I just cannot imagine them there, going on their behaviour at home.

Their attention and listening skills are really poor, they will not sit still, they run around shouting, screeching, pretending to be puppies or babies or trains or pirates for hours on end somedays, they are in role play, imaginary mode. I know I should be pleased my kids have such a great imagination but they take it too far! The constant high pitched noise that comes from them drives me insane, they use baby voices, I just keep thinking 4 year olds really shouldn't be screeching like this. They just seem so immature for their age. They do talk quite well, good sentences, etc, they can both count to ten sometimes 20, they know most of the alphabet by sight, know their colours, shapes, can count objects upto 10 and beyond, can do age appropriate jigsaws etc. they CAN do it, but their ability to sit and concentrate on say a jigsaw puzzle is like 2 minutes, then it's back to wild and crazy jumping off the sofa etc.

I'm just so worried about school, what is your 4 year old like?,

1fish2fish Fri 26-Jul-13 14:54:44

Btw, they have just finished their year at preschool, where they went 4 mornings a week. They have always flagged up attention and listening skills as poor, obviously the fact they are twins is a big factor because they mess about. But it upset me when they got their little report as they finished as they were scored as 22-36 months for attention and listening, meaning as almost 4 year olds they have the attention of 2 to 3 year olds.

Minoan Fri 26-Jul-13 14:56:38

Sounds normal from memory re my DS (nearly 7 now). Schools know what to do, and the dynamic is different in a class, anyway.

My tips for days at home would be to get them breakfasted and out of the house ASAP to run around a park, then lunch, then try getting them to do quiet time e.g. reading to them or playing play doh or colouring in, mine can do that for an hour at a time if we play a story CD at the same time. Then when DS was a little older he started being able to play properly with Lego, which was great.

Also just keep telling them off for any dangerous jumping and keep telling them to speak in their proper voices. It does get better, I am thinking now, what if my DS had been twins! Have DD too (nearly 4) but either she is not as bonkers as DS was or the fact we have the exercise routine already in place for DS means we are already managing.

Sounds fairly normal, the immersion in games shows that they can concentrate, but they have other priorities. School will be used to it, and they will have lots of routines and rewards to entice them to behave. It is a shame that they have to start now because another year might help, but academically it sounds as if they are ready.

MrsBungle Fri 26-Jul-13 15:07:58

I have a just turned 4 girl. She's a lot like this. Non-stop talking. Not really listening to me although she will listen very well when I'm reading to her. Your boys sound very normal and just like all my friends kids with just turned 4 year olds.

I am a bit worried about this summer born issue - only because I've read so much about it on here, though!

Amiee Fri 26-Jul-13 15:12:00

Hello.
I don't have a 4 year old (DD is younger) but i do work with them. Attention, like anything, differs greatly between children. I do often feel sorry for some of parents of the 'high energy' kids i work with and it sounds like you have two of them. You probably already do these things but this is the advice i would offer-
You can encourage their attention by playing board type games (orchard games are good) and obviously reading books.
If you can spend time one to one. 10 min a day of 'mummy time' doing a calm activity. (If you have someone who can take the other for a while.)
You could also try praising and giving attention for calm behaviour.
Just try to remember it will get easier and the reason your knackered is because your giving your boys everything they need, a loving mother who cares greatly about them.
You have raised free spirited intelligent children. Maybe you need a big pat on the back, a glass of something nice and a long bath!

1fish2fish Fri 26-Jul-13 15:14:17

I wish they were September born! I know I have the option of holding them back a year but I don't see what advantages that really holds as they would just end up having a year less at primary and still go upto secondary at 11? Still got toileting issues with one as well, poos in pants, the other is fine. The fact they are boys AND twins AND summer born i think is like 3 disadvantages over most of the other kids there.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 26-Jul-13 15:15:45

What you are describing is one of the key reasons why many argue 4 is too early to start school.

Remember many of the children in their class will be closer to 5.

At that age a year makes a huge difference.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 26-Jul-13 15:18:50

There is the option of deferring term by term, so you can assess progress.

The fact they have a year less doesn't matter, it is not as though they will learn nothing at home with you!

Learning has happened already at home - they talk, they play, they count etc - try to separate learning and school in your mind. School is one setting where learning takes place.

I am not saying what you 'should' do, just replying to the points you raise.

1fish2fish Fri 26-Jul-13 15:29:39

I have seriously thought about holding them back, but I worry they will fall behind more socially than anything else. They need the social interaction with other kids because they are twins otherwise they will be even more in their own little world iykwim. I think they are already behind socially as they play with each other so closely they rarely let other kids join in their games

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 26-Jul-13 15:34:01

I don't know enough about twins to comment on that aspect as I don't know if school can ever change that bond or it just carries on.

Will they go into the same class? Or two different classes?

Maybe you could do half days for the first term, give them a really long time to settle in?

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 26-Jul-13 15:39:20

Hang on, hang on - but if they were September babies they would be 4.11 when they started school - would you be wishing to send them a school year early to boost them socially??

In the 'old days' everyone, even twins, went in as 'rising fives' - why can't you apply that system to your own two?

They are not 'behind' socially is my guess, but twins are twins and their experience is never going to be that of a non-twin.

cathpip Fri 26-Jul-13 15:43:26

My ds is 4 and the fact that he prefers to run around the garden shouting at the top of his voice makes no difference at all. At nursery his attention levels and behaviour are good, he just releases all the naughtiness at home. As for being a twin really its not a disadvantage ( I am one) if anything it made me more competitive, school did have to work a little harder on the friendships front, but even now (20 years post school)we have the same friendship group and we live 250 miles apart.

Sonar Sun 28-Jul-13 01:58:45

I have a challenging 4 year old (4 next week) with similar attributes! I feel he is ready for school in many ways but perhaps not with the attention skills either. Have you discussed with the school? I was worry about how my sons school to be would cope with his challenging behaviour & so have spoken to them. They reassured me that they have methods to cope with such behaviours & the age doesn't matter as they address these appropriately as always have a number of summer born children.
My ds is exhausting especially when I'm waking up in night to feed my 15week old so can't imagine what twins are like. I take my hat of to you!

doughnut44 Sun 28-Jul-13 14:40:44

I have just finished looking after twin girls who sound like your boys. Maybe it's a twin thing? I don't know. They were the first set of twins I have ever minded and I was surprised at how different they were to single children.
I am sure school will sort them out.
as for being summer born - my son is August 21st birthday and he was fine

nextphase Sun 28-Jul-13 15:07:49

My 4y2mth also starts in Sept (not a twin).
He spent nearly the whole of last week hopping everywhere, as he was a rabbit. I have had to buy radishes in tesco this week. Nursery haven't really batted an eyelid, and have actually signed him in as "Mr Rabbit".

Apart from the toileting, I don't think what you have said sounds too many alarm bells. Can they make an attempt to dress themselves?

If your really worried, what about deferring fro a term, and sticking with preschool for one more term? Although that might reinforce the twin bond, as other friendship groups may be cemented by the time they join?

Mij Sun 28-Jul-13 15:18:52

Isn't there also a testosterone surge at around that age in boys? Makes wild things even wilder I think. I'm also of the opinion that 4 is too young to expect any kids to sit still and listen, and their attention to their games (which they've chosen and created on their own terms) is clearly excellent. They can sustain an activity, just not those that are set by other people! I really think it will come, but undertand how wearing it is at the moment.

messybedhead Sun 28-Jul-13 15:55:45

I have a 4 year old boy starting school in September.

Your description of your two sound just like my DS. grin

I'm not saying that its not a problem, as I am worried about my DS as I know he is probably behind in terms of listening and concentration.

BUT... I'm a teacher (which makes it even worse as people expect him to be a genius) and I know that in a few years time he'll have grown up and hopefully be like the rest of his peers.

I think its worse as I have a DD and so am comparing him to what she was like at that age.
Whatever you do, do not compare them with the girls in their class confused

1fish2fish Mon 29-Jul-13 16:24:24

Thankyou everyone for your replies! Next phase, that did make me laugh about the rabbit, mine have been snappy crabs today, for about 3 hours, walking sideways and pretending the bottom of the stairs is their rock pool. Peppa pig is to blame for this one! Sometimes I think they are the most bonkers kids ever...!

hangonasec Mon 29-Jul-13 19:20:28

Speaking as a nursery teacher, and a mum of 3 boys, I would say, what fab boys you have and don't panic!! They sound great to me. The things you have listed that they can do make them sound very able to me, and great imagination to boot! Part of the Reception Year process is teaching the children the skills needed to sit for longer periods and learn in groups. A lot of their time is still spent 'learning through play' as this is developmentally where they are at. Holding them back, in my opinion, should really only be done when there are very obvious advantages to doing so. Like you have said, they would perhaps miss out socially. The early days are spent teaching children the rules and routines of the school day and on activities that help them gel together as class, not to mention all the early literacy and numeracy skills they will work on - which your boys sound really ready for. And honestly, most experienced reception teachers know full well that a lot of children need teaching how to sit and concentrate. Well, maybe not a lot, but a sizeable number!

As for the twin thing, my boys definitely hype each other up but have learnt when to calm it down. That's just the way it is, perhaps mixed gender families are different, the same, I don't know but I do know boys together make a lot of energy and noise, but it doesn't mean it's wrong.

Boys learn differently to girls, your boys sound super. Enjoy them and enjoy the hols, holiday go too quick and kids grow too fast smile

1fish2fish Mon 29-Jul-13 19:50:10

Hangonasec, thankyou so much for that lovely reply, put my mind at ease. Their playgroup teacher has said to me that the problem is they make each other giddy and are in their own little world and I suppose I am worried about what school will make of that. I hope the teacher has had twins in her class before but it is a small village school and I don't think they have had twins there for quite a while.

hangonasec Mon 29-Jul-13 20:38:55

It won't hurt to speak your mind if you feel that the school are not getting to grips with the 'twin thing'. We have a lot of twins through nursery and discuss a lot of things with parents as all twins are different with regards to how much to separate them, build independence etc. All are different, some thrive together, some need to have some time apart which we structure carefully. Schools often do, for example, talking partners, you could ask that when children are paired up for things they make a point of separating them at least some of the time, once they are settled in. Once they start school, you could perhaps make a habit of regularly inviting friends to tea to try and shake up their dynamic a little bit.

And also try and remember that all things come in phases, and each one shall pass - middle son driving me mad at the mo so I am repeating that like a mantra!!!

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 29-Jul-13 20:49:45

Terrible twos? Meh. Threenager? Okay, now you're talking. Four? Oh. Holy. God. I am surprised this stage doesn't have a name because it has been the most intense and challenging for me so far. (Perhaps it doesn't have a name because the only possible way to describe it isn't fit for print? grin)

It seems like the summer before they start school is a particularly challenging one, it's nothing you are doing.

Spongingbobsunderpants Mon 29-Jul-13 21:14:37

This stage does have a name! The f****ing fours!

I'm currently in France spending a tortuous holiday with ds (4 in three weeks) and 21 month dd. Dh seems to be in some kind of shell shock. I work part time as a teacher and spend lots more time than him with them so I knew what to expect. We have just spent the evening thinking out our battle plan for the rest of the holiday as the last two days have been a nightmare. (Involving long walks and lots of exercise early in the day, picnics, rather than cafe/restaurant food, and some quiet time before bed colouring etc)

Ds appears to be on some sort of drugs - throwing himself on the floor of the intermarche (not in a tantrum just expending his wild energy) with the French customers looking on disapprovingly. Lunches have been a disaster (dd2 in full on terrible twos mode, hitting and not sitting still and ds1 whining and crying so dramatically over the least little thing that his sister, I or dh do that he doesn't agree with) NOTHING seems to make him happy other than running in and out of the waves..but dd is shit scared of the water, hates the sand and won't sit still so even a simple trip to the beach is a problem.

Sorry to sidetrack but your two sound so normal. It's just very very exhausting. I hope we can all hang on in!

ShesAStar Mon 29-Jul-13 22:43:25

My DS started school last year and is the youngest in his class, he was and sometimes still is exactly as you describe your DSs, no attention span, never listens, ignores everything he doesn't want to hear, in a constant dream world where he can play imaginary games for ages to the point that it becomes irritating because instead of asking for what he needs he 'meows' at me (likes to pretend to be a cat).

The teachers were amazing, they saw that he was very young, spent the first half of the year doing basic phonics and getting him used to a class room and all that comes with school. They did everything at his level and pace and he has loved it! I was so worried before he joined but it was all for nothing. Relax, your boys are very normal and the school has seen it all a million times before.

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