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4 yr old won't sit on the carpet!

(15 Posts)
ELD Wed 11-Feb-04 14:27:58

My 4-year old daughter (5 in April) started in reception in Sept. At the beginning, and again in the last few weeks, she got into the habit of refusing to sit on the carpet when the teacher asked her to. Also, lately on a couple of occasions she has refused to do a piece of written literacy/numeracy work (well within her capabilities - she's one of the best readers in the class) and got into trouble for that.

Class teacher is very nice but in her first job and has decided my daughter's behaviour is a real problem. Asked me to come in and discuss how to deal with it/what we did at home.

I suggested various things to do with encouragement and confidence building. I also explained that going head-to-head in a confrontation never works with her (although of course I do it all the time!) - whatever you threaten (eg missing break/golden time) daughter will say 'I don't care' and will NEVER back down. But my main view was that if they ignored the behaviour, my daughter would stop. Teacher said she couldn't ignore it because of effect on other kids (ie she fears they will join in and refuse to sit down or do work etc).

My view is that they are giving daughter loads of attention for misbehaving and this is likely to cause her to keep on doing it. It is not going to be any fun standing at the other side of the room refusing to sit down if they ignore her. And they can tell other children - daughter is not joining in, it's a shame, I'm sure she'll come if ready.

Should I keep trying to convince teacher to ignore it? Not up to me to teach her her job, but equally don't want things to get worse for my daughter?

miggy Wed 11-Feb-04 14:44:49

can't they just "fine" her golden time minutes and THEN ignore her. Other children won't want to lose golden time so they wont want to copy really and your dd wont be getting lots of attention. Or could teacher not quietly take her aside and find out what the problem is with doing as asked, or give stickers (presume they do reward stickers?) for sitting quietly etc. Do they threaten golden time minutes and no go through (that would seem bit daft)?

ELD Wed 11-Feb-04 14:53:03

No, they threaten and DO follow through but she doesn't change her behaviour.

Mummysurfer Wed 11-Feb-04 14:54:19

does she say why she doesn't want to sit on the carpet?

marialuisa Wed 11-Feb-04 14:54:33

Does your DD shout or muck around when she's separated from the rest of the class for behaving badly? Maybe this is why the teacher feels she can't ignore her? Friend's DS was a bit like this, they used to sit him in the junior class for a few minutes which used to do the trick. Is only a 2 class school though!

Have you asked your daughter why she's misbehaving at school? Is she bored, tired or something?

WedgiesMum Wed 11-Feb-04 15:00:54

My DS is very similar to your DD ELD, he's just started this term in reception and will be 5 in May. He will suddenly take it into his head that he isn't going to do *whatever* and just take himself over to one side of the classroom. His teacher just ignores him completely, and he soon comes back, especially as she is really crafty and makes sure that they switch to doing something really interesting quite soon so he is desparate to join in. He will also not back down in head to head confrontation so she doesn't even bother to try it as she knows that it won't work. You're completely right about the attention thing - if she gets no attention then she will stop doing it soon enough.

If it is this teacher's first class she will not have much expereince of dealing with this type of behaviour and will be struggling for answers herself, but surely she should have some sort of mentor within the school who could help?? I think you should perservere with trying to persuade the teacher, but if you feel you are hitting a brick wall then how about talking to the head???

ELD Wed 11-Feb-04 15:07:43

Thanks, WedgiesMum, sounds very similar.

In answer to others - no, she doesn't make noise or muck about, just stands in corner looking sulky and sucking her thumb! No chance of her saying why she does it - not sure she really knows herself. She was the same at nursery but they learnt to ignore it and eventually it came right. She is tired and does also say she's bored - further advanced in reading, phonics etc than most of them and this is a problem.

tigermoth Thu 12-Feb-04 06:58:07

ELD, could you suggest that your dd's teacher contacts her old nursery? You say the nursery staff found a way round this in a group setting. Could they could pass on this information?teacher?

This teacher might want your input, but could also feel as a professional, she can't be seen to be changing her methods on the advice of a parent (or she's not confident enough to be relaxed about doing this). She might feel better if she talked to another professional. Sorry, I haven't explained that too well - I hope you see what I mean.

ELD Thu 12-Feb-04 08:16:41

Thanks, tigermoth, that's a good thought which I'll bear in mind. Thankfully today is last day before half term so I'm hoping things might improve after the break. Thank you to all for support.

roisin Thu 12-Feb-04 08:47:55

I think it is really important for children to learn to conform at school. It is very different from nursery, and with a class of 30 children - especially next year when they go into Yr1 - they need to know that if the teachers says 'now we are going to do x' that all the children will get on and do it.

Different children respond to different approaches, and I'm sure the teacher does genuinely want your input, as the usual methods she has tried don't seem to work with your dd.

But personally, I can see why ignoring it is not necessarily a good response in this instance. Sorry to be so blunt, but I do think your dd needs to learn to immediately do what she is told by a teacher ... The question is how to go about getting her to do this. Whether rewards and bribes are best, or punishments.

Maybe she just needs to learn and accept that being at school is different from nursery, or different from being at home, and that her behaviour has to be different. At home there is always room for compromise - and that's fine - it's great for children to have some freedom to make choices. But at school for much of the day that just isn't possible.

Just in case you think this sounds really over the top - my ds1 was a complete nightmare at this age, so I do know what you're going through.

ELD Thu 12-Feb-04 09:06:38

Thanks Roisin.

I absolutely agree she has to learn to conform. It is not my view that it's OK for her to refuse to sit on carpet or whatever. Moreover at home there are a number of situations where she does have to do what she's told and there isn't room for compromise.

My problem is knowing how to achieve this given that threats just do not work with her.

I'd be interested to know your experiences, and what worked in the end.

twiglett Thu 12-Feb-04 09:11:35

message withdrawn

roisin Thu 12-Feb-04 14:33:13

Our experience won't help you, I'm afraid ELD. Ds1 was in a nursery until he was 5.2 - just 2.5 hrs per day. And in nursery they were allowed freedom to do anything they wanted, there was no structure at all and no formal teaching. We moved house and he went straight into yr1 with a class of children who'd had a year together in reception, in a very formal/strict school - so they all knew the ropes. (We did have a bumpy couple of weeks, and he did get hauled up to see the Head and Deputy Head - once for answering back to a teaching assistant. He was then subsequently praised by the school when he learned to how to fit in.)

But I am intrigued - what does work for her? What is the holy grail? What will motivate her to tow the line? She is clearly very bright, and must understand her actions have consequences. Is there anything she really wants that could be a reward for sitting nicely on the carpet every day for a week? Some people on here have found a home/school report book helpful - where the teacher writes in positive as well as negative things about her behaviour/compliancy to requests.

On a different behavioural target DS2 is currently striving towards a polo shirt with a school logo on (cos I bought the cheap ones from Woolworths). It seems a bizarre thing, but it is what he really, really wants; so it is motivating him to try and do something he finds very difficult. (Staying in bed quietly til 7 am)

As an aside my ds1 responds extremely badly to threats - they just don't work - withdrawal of privileges or punishments. BUT will do anything for a reward - a sticker or a certificate - a small sweet or a chocolate (and he is 6.5!) So for him threatening for him to lose 20p pocket money doesn't work, but promising him a reward of 20p does work.

Sorry this is so long. I'm full of ideas, but not feeling terribly coherent. I hope some of it is helpful.

LHP Thu 12-Feb-04 14:57:50

I have been the other end of this, and know how difficult it can be. I think that teachers need to be "seen" by the chn to be dealing with non compliant behaviour, but better if pos to avoid it in the first place. So the point i'm trying to make is, could the teacher let your dd have a special job when they come back to the mat, like wiping the whiteboard, holding the book, holding her pointing stick or even tidying up the rest of the room or whatever. Could you suggest this to her teacher maybe as a little white lie like "what worked for my neice who was like this was..." I'm sure the teacher wants to help, and definately would prefer not to have daily confronatations with your dd. If your dd accepts this secondary request which hopefully is more acceptable to her, the other chn can see that she has accepted the will of the teacher, and neither party has to be seen to back down. Hope that makes sense. I did this with a yr 1 child I taught last year and after she had picked up all the paper on the floor she would come and sit right at the front and fold her arms. It was much nicer to be able to smile and say thank you than have the "you can't make me" attitude.

ELD Thu 12-Feb-04 15:58:35

thank you for all these ideas and happy half term to all! I'll let you all know how it's going when I get back to work after 1/2 term (work is where I do the mumsnet stuff!)

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