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Concentration/listening - daydreaming 5yo

(16 Posts)
bitzermaloney Wed 14-Sep-11 19:43:54

Just wondering if this is something that ds1 will grow out of or if there is anything I can do to help him. He is off in his own world for a lot of the time. It is not currently a problem at school (he's just gone into year 1) but his reception teacher and current teacher both mentioned that it can be hard to get his attention and he daydreams a lot. There's nothing wrong with his hearing and he has no SN.

Sometimes it is truly impressive daydreaming/zoning out - he had some one-to-one swimming lessons over the summer, and for one of them he had an entire pool to himself with just the teacher, and at one point the guy had to call his name several times to get his attention - this was when he was right in front of him not 30cm away from his face! Ds1 was just staring down the other end of the pool. At after-school football he often zones out too and then has no idea what he is supposed to be doing.

Anyone else got dc like this? Any advice?

bitzermaloney Wed 14-Sep-11 19:46:16

I should say, he does have the ability to concentrate for long hours on some things - he can follow complicated Lego instructions and get on with building something by himself for most of a day.

pedalpants Wed 14-Sep-11 20:23:35

this sounds so like my 5yo DD and also myself as a child. although I think her daydreaming may hold her back a little at school, I actually find it charming. She's so creative, imaginative and is really enjoying her childhood rather than trying to grow up too fast. She was had a special hearing test as her teachers also said it was hard to get her attention and the results were as I expected - 100% perfect hearing.

She also has amazing concentration and has done so from a baby. She directs her own activities and her teachers say her drawings are amazingly intricate.

I think there is not a lot you can do. Real life will make her grow up and pay a bit more attention. I have one childhood memory of not knowing when my own birthday was (i had probably been told a thousand times, but just didn't take it in) and I was asked in class and then became very embarrassed because i didn't know. I think it is situations like this that are a bit of a wake-up call for dopey kids.

bitzermaloney Wed 14-Sep-11 20:59:07

Yes he has an amazing imagination, is quite 'quirky' in the way he thinks (iykwim - can't think of a better way to put it), nothing is straightforward with him.

With the not paying attention I worry that he will not listen properly on school trips etc and put himself in danger... my own imagination goes into overdrive!

survivingsummer Wed 14-Sep-11 21:30:00

My 7 yo ds is similar too. He prefers his own imaginary world to anything else and struggles with anything involving rules or a system. Similarly, he can concentrate for hours on things that interest him but I can't sit and watch him in a lesson or doing sports as he is miles away and just not listening to any instruction and I get too frustrated! I also worry a lot about him not listening on trips and I wouldn't even think about letting him out on his own yet shock

It is holding him back at school and there have been concerns over his progress. I can't get him to organise himself at all! He has no SN but doesn't fall into the 'norm' either. It can be hard to deal with but I hope will find his way in life eventually!

partridge Wed 14-Sep-11 22:06:06

You could be writing about my 5yo ds. Uncanny - even down to the swimming lessons. I find it very embarrassing as when any adult attempts to ask him a question I have to literally haul him back from his dream world and tell him to answer and look at the person. He is usually fiddling with something and humming a made up song to himself, having failed to hear the question...

I do worry for him at school - his dreaminess means that I have been lazy about teaching him independent skills, unlike his brother who is always watching/ asking questions, so they are at about the same level of dressing, self-care etc. It has just been so much quicker to do it myself rather than repeat instructions ad infinitum. Ds1 (daydreamer) does not have any special needs btw. I do worry about school (just gone in to p1 in Scotland) when it comes to paying attention in class, managing to organise himself for school lunches etc. Other than that I love his eccentricities and try to embrace them. Any strategies to get him more 'on task' that have worked for you would be great to hear though. Sorry- I'm not much help, but can empathise...

Tgger Wed 14-Sep-11 22:27:14

My son is also a dreamer. I almost feel that they should be encouraged. It's such a magical part of childhood and goes all too quickly (think by 8 it's just about gone the "magical thinking" stuff as they call it).

He did have a "scary adventure" on his first day in reception due to ending up on his own at lunchtime as all the children he was having lunch with had gone and he somehow hadn't noticed...

My daughter, nearly 3 seems to be joining in some of the madness re imagination but she is also more grounded and like previous poster some of her skills are as good as her brother's due to determination and lack of dreaming....

bitzermaloney Wed 14-Sep-11 23:07:24

Thanks for the replies - it's reassuring to know it's not just him! Partridge it's funny reading your post, I recognize everything, right down to the more watchful younger brother and the doing things for ds1 that he should be doing himself because it's so much quicker! Getting dressed in the mornings is sometimes a very long process - I will hand him his uniform and then go in 10 mins later to find him sitting with his trousers round his ankles playing with a toy. He will head off to go to the loo and eventually I will wonder where he is, and find him still sitting there seeing how small he can fold a piece of toilet paper.

I have read the 'How to Talk' book recommended by people on here and from that have taken the 'one word' technique where you ask them to do something once, like put pyjamas on, then after that just say 'ds1 - pyjamas!'. It has only limited effectiveness though because by the end of the day he gets all silly and can barely seem to look me in the eye long enough to register what I'm saying, and is much more intent on talking about his cuddly toy's 'brother' (who has a whole rich and involved history that he has made up), or some other nonsense.

It is funny but as some posters have said, a big part of me really does cherish that he is like this, infuriating as it also is. It is so much bound up with his personality and I suppose makes him the amusing and interesting boy he is. I do just worry about the not paying attention when it really matters. As pedalpants says you just have to hope they get a few minor wake-up calls to help them get a grip on reality a bit before they have an accident!

WoofToYouTooLady Thu 15-Sep-11 00:13:29

have you consulted a GP? have you thought of absence seizures ?

partridge Thu 15-Sep-11 07:48:44

Oh I love your ds! He would get on so well with mine. It is so hard not to get frustrated- the uniform totally resonates with me, and with a newborn too I am finding it very hard to get out of the door to school.

D'you know what though - I think it is all part of their charm, and whilst strategies to bring him back to earth are useful, I am reluctant to pathologise him. And if I'm honest with myself, the apple didn't fall very far from the tree!

partridge Thu 15-Sep-11 07:52:44

And while I don't know about your son, Bitzer, mine is definitely not absent - just briefly inhabiting a different world (and not in an asd way).

partridge Thu 15-Sep-11 08:14:25

And my boy starts lunches at school next week - I cannot decide between packed lunch (will he be able to open frubes/ put straw in drink) or school lunches (will he be able to organise himself to hand over money/ carry a tray/ cut up the gammon steak that is on the menu). I am beginning to regret not persevering teaching him these things due to frustration with his attention span.

bitzermaloney Thu 15-Sep-11 10:26:57

woof - thanks, I've just looked up absence seizures and it doesn't sound like those at all - thank God! He's not having a seizure, he's just thinking of something else.

partridge Have to admit that I often find myself not listening properly, especially in slightly formal contexts where someone is talking at me... hmm. Maybe the pot is calling the kettle black here!

Luckily at ds1's school no dinner money has to change hands, we pay online. The dinner ladies seem to help with cutting things up if they need it. Good luck with your ds!

alana39 Thu 15-Sep-11 10:27:04

My DS1 is like that too. He's 8 now and over the last few years if school it has waxed and waned but he still forgets to go into lunch some days so doesn't eat, or gets half way through putting on a shirt then gets distracted by a book ir Lego for 20 minutes when we should be leaving fir school!

I do find short instructions of 1 thing at a time help. MIL says DH was like this too and he has just about got it under control at 45!

I agree it's a lovely thing to see kids using their imagination but they also need to be able to get through school etc.

Will be watching with interest to see if anyone has some advice.

Acinonyx Thu 15-Sep-11 11:18:34

My dd (6) is like this. She totally forgets what she is doing - even if she is still holding the spoon in her hand she will 'wander off' and forget she is having dinner. Many, many times I have found her loitering on the tiolet folding up toilet paper hmm.

She totally gets it from me. Dh has certain stock phrases for me such as: 'Did you hear what I just said?' I'm afraid I have not really grown out of it and live in another world as much as I can!

I do worry that it will hold dd back at school as I spent most of my school day daydreaming. I have a lot of playdates so that she can externalise her fantasies in play with other live children as I think I internalised mine too much and it became a life-long addiction. No idea if this is effective yet though. Similarly, I try to encouraging her to talk about her fantasies and draw or write about them - all part of bringing it out rather than keeping it in.

Dd is also one that can focus hard when her attention is engaged but not at all otherwise - which suggests the kind of attention deficit disorder associated with daydreaming rather than hyperactivity.

I worry about her safety e.g. crossing roads etc. I also worry that she must be able to pay attention sometimes to stuff that is less engaging. That's life - especially education and work. I really struggle with this myself and wonder if there is some way I can help dd struggle less.

Orange32 Thu 15-Sep-11 12:38:39

This sounds so much like my DS, who is just a few weeks off 7. it is amazing how distracted he can get doing every date tasks, he will wander around the house half dressed trailing the rest behind him. Again the swimming pool is a major area, he seems to see it as hiw own personal playground, he can not sit still for 2 second without playing and jumping around. it does have a knock on affect on his schooling, he is well able for the work but gets very distracted with it all and only completes some of it. This does not seem to be getting any better only more obvious with age. But on the plus side he would keep you laughing with his antics. Good to know there are others out there the same.

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