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Do I tell pre-school teacher I don't agree with her advice or just smile and nod?

(28 Posts)
ZombiePlanB Thu 02-Dec-10 09:43:15

DS= active summer born boy grin

The teaching assistant in his class is keen to tell me to time him out when he does something wrong and today told me to use a reward chart to help him get himself dressed.

Fine but I don't believe in time outs or reward charts (I-know-best emoticon).

I have noticed she seems keen on bringing ds down a peg or two. I haven't met her children though so don't know her parenting worked out!

Do I say that we don't believe in that stuff or just pretend I am following her advice?

I am much more 'How to talk' parenting.

pagwatch Thu 02-Dec-10 09:50:28

I think you should ignore her advice and parent as you see fit.

But I would file her comments away for future reference. There do seem to be a few parents who see their children as active, challenging, vibrant and bright when actually they are just poorly behaved and have no boundaries.

Not for a moment saying this is your dc. Not at all. But we should be aware of our filters and be prepared to double check that are assumptions about our child are correct.

<< recalls conversation with mother of "bright active boy " just after he punched dcs friend in the face and broke her glasses and cut her eye>>

ANTagony Thu 02-Dec-10 09:53:33

Having your own parenting style is fine. Its just advice. There's no point telling her you don't agree just smile and nod and carry on in your own way.

However, are you hearing the bit where she's saying he's not dressing himself (maybe just in that environment)? Do you have a plan of action to help him forward with that as an essential skill especially in group situations?

Bunbaker Thu 02-Dec-10 10:02:13

I'm not sure what to think as I only have one daughter and no boys so my thoughts are simply thoughts and not based on experience.

It must be hard when you feel that someone is crticising your parenting skills.

Is your son genuinely more boistrous than other boys his age, or do you think the TA is dealing with it the wrong way?

The way I see this is the TA is probably used to dealing with lots of children and maybe has the experience to draw a comparison between your son and the other children.

Parenting your own children and looking after other people's are two entirely different things. I know this from talking to DD's teachers over the years. Her teachers are brilliant with the children at school and all admit to finding it more difficult to command that kind of respect from their own children. The teachers seem to be able to command the respect and discipline from their pupils that they can't at home. I certainly find this is true myself and it is one of the reasons I would never home educate my daughter.

If you tell her you don't believe in disciplining your son you may end up alienating her and she may "pick on" him more.

ZombiePlanB Thu 02-Dec-10 11:05:28

thank you for the replies - it is very useful to see another viewpoint.

The conversation started with her telling me I needed to encourage ds to hang his coat up himself. I didn't know he couldn't [thick mother] and so I will. Then she went on to ask his he dressed himself ( he can, but he wants me to help). When I said I helped him then it was like the green light to wade in with how I should be encouraging it and how to do it (reward charts).

Silly cow.


Her basic message 'encourage ds to hang up his coat and also get himself dressed' is good and I will do that.

He is three and a half. Should he be able to get himself dressed? He can do all the steps separately but hasn't ever done it all himself.

The extra blurb on top I will ignore.

ThinneverVetch Thu 02-Dec-10 11:23:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ANTagony Thu 02-Dec-10 11:23:35

If he's at preschool/ due to be starting school then he ideally needs to dress himself. Otherwise you have a poor teacher with potentially 30 little sets of arms in the air waiting for someone to do it for them.

I think that children generally get away with not doing as much as they can and no doubt he can hang his coat up but they pick up after him/ do it for him so it hasn't been clearly necessary yet.

I wish we were all fitted with post birth advice filters so it didn't leave us analysing all comments. Still we get there in the end no doubt will become grandparents and feel we know best and start doling out the advice ourselves wink

SandStorm Thu 02-Dec-10 11:28:04

I think the message she was trying to get across was sound re the hanging up the coat but it's actually none of her business how your DS gets dressed. It's not the end of the world at that age and unless they do PE and it's holding him up I don't see it's a problem.

I'm also a bit confused why the TA is telling you this. Is there a preschool teacher too. I'm a TA (year 5) and it's always been my understanding that anything that needs to be brought up with the parents is left to the teacher. It feels she's overstepping the mark but maybe it's different where you are.

AphraBen Thu 02-Dec-10 16:01:54

Smile, nod and quietly encourage him to hang his coat up at home each day and at school, in the manner which you think best.

My DS likes to be dressed sometimes or "helped" when he's feeling tired (or lazy) but he can now at 4.3 do it entirely himself. His sister can do it and she's 2.10, she has been insisting she do it herself for a while. Horses for courses.

purepurple Thu 02-Dec-10 17:50:44

As someone who works in a nursery, i woudn't dream of telling you how to parent your child.
I also think that the pre-school should be teaching him how to hang up his coat and get dressed. That's what dressing -up clothes are for.

Tgger Fri 03-Dec-10 19:54:03

Smile and nod .

My son gradually learnt to dress himself between 3.5 and 4 and is very proficient now (just turned 4). I wouldn't have done the reward chart either- how annoying, Grrrrr.

If you smile, nod and don't say anything else perhaps she will get the message or at least talk less wink

I'm wondering about the first bit in your post the "bringing DS down a peg or two", that sets alarm bells ringing. I don't think any children this age should be "brought down a peg or two". Yes, they should be gently shown social ways of behaving around their peers and should be encouraged to respect boundaries that are there for everyone's safety and general well-being. But bringing down, no...

ragged Fri 03-Dec-10 19:57:38

Smile and nod in a way that says "I am politely listening to you because I have good manners" and shrug her actual words off.

None of mine could dress selves (sort of) until summer before they started school.

curlymama Fri 03-Dec-10 21:08:01

''As someone who works in a nursery, i woudn't dream of telling you how to parent your child.
I also think that the pre-school should be teaching him how to hang up his coat and get dressed. That's what dressing -up clothes are for.''

Seriously? shock

You think it's up to pre school staff to teach a child how to get dressed rather than the parents?

Unbelievable! Yes as pre school staff we encourage dressing independantly and provide as much support as is needed, and it will often be needed at pre school age. But surely it's best to encourage children to do what they can for themselves, it's how they learn! Why shouldn't they practice that skill whenever the opportunity arises? It's going to arise more at home than at nursery.

The TA in question was probably just making a random suggestion, she probably isn't bothered what way you teach your child to get dressed and hang up his coat, as long as you do. Otherwise the is the one that has to condend with a class full of children to get dressed and undressed twice each time they want to do PE, and pick up 20- 30 coats off the floor. The vast majority of children starting school are physicaly capable of getting themselves dressed and undressed, so there is no valid reason why they shouldn't, bar a little help with fastenings and tricky bits.

Lougle Fri 03-Dec-10 21:19:01

Children can and do act differently in different settings.

I had a conversation with my DD2's preschool assistant a few days ago, whereby she was enthusiastically telling me that DD2 had done a wee on the toilet instead of the potty, and they are really working on it so that she will be ready to school.

I had to fight my eyebrow arching, and gently enquired if they are finding it a struggle at preschool?

DD2 is totally playing them!! She can use a toilet, and does frequently. Her sister has SN and it is a struggle to get her up the stairs, then even more so down again, so we tend to use a potty during the day, but DD2 would use a toilet for preference here, and goes on a toilet everywhere else.

What she is is a little monkey, and she will quite happily be a Contrary Mary. The staff just haven't worked that out yet. Thanks to our discussion, her game is up on that one, at least.

AphraBen Sat 04-Dec-10 01:34:17

Lougie sounds like your DD2 is not unlike mine. I hope the mischief continues!

purepurple Sat 04-Dec-10 07:17:55

My job is to teach children life-skills while they are in my care, to back up and consolidate what they are learning at home.

onimolap Sat 04-Dec-10 08:12:31

The staff member isn't trying to parent your child, she's concerned about how he is in the classroom. She's using her professional, not her personal parenting, skills (these may be interlinked, but they are not synonymous.

Smile and nod about her suggested method for how you parent, but I think it would be imprudent to ignore what she sees as his issues in the different environment of the setting.

Is this another "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation for staff: on one hand, close co-operation with parents is praised as all working together in the interests of the child, but if they point out that the child has some specific difficulties in the setting, they are instantly on thin ice.

LadyLapsang Sat 04-Dec-10 14:18:34

Thanks for your feedback TA, really appreciate it and I'll certainly be encouraging Zombie boy to hang his coat up etc. but I don't think star charts and naughty steps are good ways of encouraging good behaviour so we don't use them at

ZombiePlanB Sun 05-Dec-10 20:42:44

thank you all for the even more replies! [basks].

sandstorm yes I did feel that she was over stepping the mark as it was quite a long conversation where she was going on a bit. I hadn't actually asked for advice but she was dishing it out. Ds wakes up at anything from 4.45 - 5.20am and if there are rewards going it's to STAY IN BED.

I'll ask for a meeting with the teacher to get a list of what he needs to be doing. I am clueless and have a 5 month old baby so not really concentrating on ds' preschool blush.

but thanks everyone for the long replies, it's been really really helpful.

muddleduck Sun 05-Dec-10 20:52:54


If she is generally considered to be an interfering cow then nod and smile.

If she does't usually say stuff like this then you may want to dig deeper about how you lo is behaving when you are not there.

gabid Tue 07-Dec-10 14:35:56

He is only 3.5 - what't wrong with a little tender loving help and care? He is very little and may want you to help and look after him, maybe it makes him feel loved and cared for.

Yes, you can encourage him to hang up his coat when he arrives in nursery, and encourage him to dress himself but I wouldn't push or demand it, even if he can. Only in reception they have to get changed for PE.

My Ds was 4 when he did it himself. I pushed a bit because he had a new baby sister. However, sometimes he wanted my help and often he didn't get it quite right (e.g. no undies, trousers or T-shirt back to front etc.). At about 4.5 he got it right.

Some friends of mine still help their children to get dressed at 5-6.

ZombiePlanB Wed 08-Dec-10 20:27:48

update; after about three days of saying 'hang your coat up' at home and at nursery it turns out he can do it without bother.

Turns out he was just being lazy! Little so and so.

And he's getting himself a bit more dressed than he used to. But I think he'll want company for the foreseeable future, he just hates being on his own.

am chilled. Thank you for the replies.

muddleduck - well she's off my Christmas card list

gabid - yeah he's only small, plus we have new baby and I think he is jealous of that attention.

megcleary Wed 08-Dec-10 20:32:55

My friend said her little boy "forgot" how to do a lot of things he could do when the new baby came along, it gradually improved.

mrz Sun 12-Dec-10 13:16:18

purepurple Sat 04-Dec-10 07:17:55 My job is to teach children life-skills while they are in my care, to back up and consolidate what they are learning at home.

Back up are the key words and I would suggest that is what the TA is doing teaching young children is a partnership between home and school.

Out of curiosity OP what do you do if he does something wrong? (speaking as someone who hates time out punishments and reward charts) but also encountering more and more children who don't seem to understand no!

ZombiePlanB Mon 13-Dec-10 14:01:06

mrz - what do we do if he does something wrong? Well it's another thread but before reading "what to do when your kids push your buttons'by Bonnie Harris, I would get cross and shout a lot.

Now I try to see why he's done something 'naughty'. Usually it's attention seeking so I try to address his underlying concerns.

I use the 'How to talk" methods to try to explain why something is bad and inact consequences rather than punishments. Ie you tipped the flour on the kitchen floor so now we don't get to do baking (without anger). Or if you do X then Y will happen / will not happen.

I take comfort in the fact I can take him to Tescos and he's well behaved and that we can go out for lunch and he'll be good (if I bring playdough etc).

I only finished reading the 'Buttons' book a couple of weeks again but it has changed the way I parent. I am now calm enough to use all the things I've been reading about in other books.

(I love a good parenting book, me)

Ds' preschool use a 'Thinking Chair' which works well for them. It's in the middle of the room but I can't see how it is any different from sending a child into the corner like in the olden days. I guess shame is being used to modify behaviour.

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