Need help with my 4yo DS social skills(18 Posts)
I don't quite know how to explain this but here goes
My DS has just turned 4, he is very caring, loving, and a pleasure to be with, when were at home
The problem is, when he enters a social environment, he loses the plot, starts being really silly, making really loud noises, blowing raspberries, throwing himself on the floor, it's almost like he doesn't know how to deal with being in a social environment
On arrival to pre-school all the parents turn and stare and look at me as if to say what the hell is wrong with him, they must think he is like that all the time.
I know all of this seems very trivial and he is only 4, bit no other children act this way that I've seen. it's just so strange to watch him go from being completely normal to acting a clown, I'm wondering if it's something to be worried about?
Is he doing it because he is nervous in a social environment so he acts out? How can I help him?
This sounds like my grandson. What about promising a reward for good behaviour? If this falls on deaf ears, I don't like to suggest it but try your GP for a start because your DS might have a mild Asperger's. Only might.
My DS1 does this a bit. Raspberries, loud shrieks, babbling/talking nonsense. No idea if it's normal or not but he's quite normal in every other way - quite high maintenance, but no SN to my knowledge.
He's very extroverted and I think he just gets very excitable when he's with other kids. It's almost like he feeds off it. I'm quite introverted so I find it a bit sometimes.
Sorry, that's no help, except to reassure you that your DS isn't the only one!
How used is he to being in that kind of environment? It sounds like he could be stressed/very nervous and therefore doesn't know and has no control over his behaviour.
Have you ever talked to him about what happens? Not at the time but after the event when you're back at home. If you tell him what you've noticed about his behaviour (in a completely non-judgemental way) and then offer some possible reasons for it i.e. "I wonder if you feel uncomfortable or nervous around so many people" he might feel more confident talking about how he feels.
PS My DS1 is also 4. Doing very well at preschool, lots of friends, seems popular, etc.
I completely disagree with Happy's suggestion of reward for good behaviour. He's not being 'naughty' and the chances are he is unable to understand or control what he's doing and why.
Sounds like overexcitement or sensory overload. Do you prepare him for such occasions in advance. He is unlikely to be able to articulate his discomfort at this age but maybe take him in gradually , find a quieter corner so eh can sit and get used to the level of noise and bustle.
Count that's exactly like DS, and I'm also quite quiet so it is sometime a bit
I speak with him before we leave the house if he is going into that environment, he listens, understands, but it all goes out of the window when we hit the playground
If he has a friends round, there is initial excitement and silliness but calms down quickly and plays nicely
He has had a bit of a tough ride I suppose, he has a medical condition that has seen him hospitalised 27 times, countless amounts of drugs that have had god knows what side effects on him, poor little man.
So he hasn't always had the opportunity of being in a large social environment as he has mostly been poorly. I think starting pre-school has been a big shock for him, he absolutely lives it there, he isn't at all shy and has made friends
Any suggestions of how to calm him down?
Lolli I work with children who have social and emotional issues, frequently as a result of life experiences. With your DS's medical history he sounds exactly like the sort of child I would work with, although normally I work with slightly older primary aged children. I'm really happy to pm you to offer some suggestions if you like.
Sounds like over excitement/sensory overload to me too.
Mine was like this till 3.
Did better in a school nursery than private-not sure why though.
Try and arrive to things early/first so he can settle before everyone arrives and not have to walk into a busy environment/see what's left to play with.
lollipoppi I only really step in if the behaviour is bothering someone, eg if the shrieking is hurting people's ears, or he's invading someone's personal space, or he's getting in the way. In that case, I take him aside, get down to his level and quietly ask him to calm down a bit. (Vital to be quiet and calm yourself, though.) Or I try and distract him somehow.
If it doesn't seem to be bothering anyone and he's just being a bit bonkers, I tend to leave him to it. I figure he's only four, he's just excited and exuberant and he'll probably grow out of it. As you say, there tends to be an initial burst of silliness, then he calms down a bit.
Mine was very like this at 3/4. Actually, overall his social skills were rubbish - he would only really have a "sensible" conversation with you on some obscure science subject (Jupiter's moons, for example), and didn't seem to interact all that well in groups of children, he just got ridiculously over excited rather than playing meaningfully (although did have a few close friends at nursery. Probably the ones who also wanted to discuss the solar system). I found it at times frustrating, and struggled to really manage his behaviour. You definitely need to pick your battles. I also worried that it was a symptom of a larger problem, and nursery weren't exactly ruling this out either.
But he's 6 now, in Y2, and absolutely fine. He can still be silly, but I think within the realms of normal, and generally saves this behaviour for home - school have literally never raised a single concern over his behaviour or social skills. He seems to be quite popular with other children now, and does very well academically. So although I have no constructive suggestions, hopefully this gives you some hope!
My DS (just turned 5) has been like this for a couple of years. It looks like over excitement to me. Also, he is one to show off and be funny to impress others. He finds making noises, jumping, dancing and falling over, so that's what he thinks others will find funny/impressive..
I tend to avoid playdates a lot, but I try and steel myself for whenever we do have one (just at home, though.. he finds other people's houses dull, as they don't have the toys he likes at home). It's always hard work.
Oh, and DS has no medical conditions or traumas. As fas as I know..
I would also say that your ds is overexcited and wants to be friends with other children without quite knowing how to act and what to do /say. I bet he will grow out of it but suggest you talk to him before and after social 'events' such as going to preschool, to the playground or a play date. This way you can help him develop self awareness and you could propose alternative ways to behave. I wouldn't worry though, some children behave like your ds, others are very shy etc. it's all very understandable as they are still so young. I would just accept him the way he is but talk to him about his expereiences and offer alternatives.
How is he in a smaller groupd where he knows the other children well I.e. A play date with one or two friends?
I think your right, it is like he wants to impress his friends by making them laugh (which they do) which encourages him to do it more
Pp mentioned having a sensible conversation, no chance only is he is completely calm like before bed time!
In a small group he is ok, there is still a lot of silliness but nothing more then your average rowdy 4 year olds
I do think that because he has missed out on a lot of interaction, because of hospital stays, then having to keep him indoors for long periods to recover, it's almost like he has to learn how to socialise with large groups
Before preschool I will have our chat, maybe a chat with preschool teachers too to see if there is anything they can do to help
At pre school, it might help if the staff set up special job for him to do as soon as he arrives - the same task every day - something focussed and 'helpful' like putting plastic bricks into coloured piles or something. This really helped my DS who struggled when entering busy social situations (although in a different way to your DS)
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