4yo DD in Reception not listening

(38 Posts)
Gryffindorwin2991 Sat 05-Oct-19 18:22:05

My DD started reception mid September and started off really well, this week her teacher requested to see me and told me that my DD hadn’t been listening the last few days, that she has to be asked a few times before doing something, cannot sit still during carpet time/worship/assembly and is distracting to others. We didn’t have any of this whilst DD was at nursery, however we do see some of these behaviours at home.

I had a word with DDs teacher at the end of this week after having words with DD, explaining as best I can why this is unfair to others and disrespectful towards her teacher and why it is important to listen but this seems to have had no effect. We want DD to do well and don’t want to be on bad terms with her teacher.

I know this can be quite typical for DDs age group, but teacher has said she is the only one in her group doing this.

Has anyone else experienced this or if anyone could suggest a way forward it would be appreciated!

Further info if it helps: DD is summer born and our first and only child. At home if DD is blatantly ignoring us we use the step or remove things she enjoys to earn back for good listening.

OP’s posts: |
Rockylady Sat 05-Oct-19 19:52:15

I have one of those. She is summer born, and a big adjustment to the class average. The teacher should adjust for ALL of the children's needs, this is very common especially with summer borns. This is what our teacher said. How do you think she is doing otherwise? Is she tracking ok with her learning, reading etc? Tell the teacher to give feedback on the other areas too. It is too easy to point at what is going wrong but their observations should be comprehensive and more sophisticated than just saying that she will not sit and listen on carpet time.

Rockylady Sat 05-Oct-19 19:56:27

Sorry during* carpet time. Also aske her what she is doing differently to address her needs, and what she wants you to do at home. The teacher is the one in class not you, and they are the experts so they should propose an action plan. You should not feel all the responsibility is on your or your daughter's shoulders. She is still so young, it is surprising the little guidance they have given you by the look of things.
I am not a teacher but other with the qualifications may give you advice on how to tackle the conversations with the school.

foxatthewindow Sat 05-Oct-19 20:03:19

We had a dreadful year R with my summer born boy. Exactly this kind of thing, listening and attention issues, mild behaviour stuff. I’d like to say it got better but it didn’t really - BUT so far year 1 has been an absolute dream, he’s flying! So I don’t know if it’s age, or just that his teacher didn’t click with him last year (I found her continual moaning about him and unwillingness to try different strategies grating), but maybe she just needs time

sirfredfredgeorge Sat 05-Oct-19 20:05:40

Has anyone else experienced this or if anyone could suggest a way forward it would be appreciated!

"Okay, that's a shame, thanks for letting me know, I'm sure you'll be on top of it, let me know if there's any re-enforcing you need us to do at home, obviously there's nothing we can really do so far out of the moment, but I'm sure you've plenty of experience and will have him in line soon."

Because you can't do anything, she's 4, sanctions, reminders etc. need to be in the moment, they won't work hours apart.

Gryffindorwin2991 Sat 05-Oct-19 20:31:02

Thanks all, I feel so much better reading your replies. Learning wise she is doing great, DD is bright and flies through her homework and is able to recite what she has learned that day. When I spoke to teacher she said that DD is very capable and that the information is going in despite DD appearing not to listen, but it is distracting and unfair for her peers who are all looking to see what she is doing rather than listening to the teacher. The emphasis was very much on DDs behaviour rather than her learning. I suffer with anxiety and tend to fixate and worry about things like this so your replies have really helped.

OP’s posts: |
Chillisauceboss Sat 05-Oct-19 20:44:49

Have you thought about pulling her out and waiting until she is compulsory school age. There's an incredibly helpful Facebook group for more information


Gryffindorwin2991 Sat 05-Oct-19 20:52:06

@Chillisauceboss I do think DD is ready, she is very switched on and good at taking in and remembering information. I wasn’t shocked at what the teacher was saying as I know what DD can be like, but I was shocked that she was doing this at school as we had no issues at her nursery (private and not affiliated with the school). Usually DD saved this sort of thing for me and DH after an exhausting day of being good at nursery 🤣 I’m hoping this will come with time and emotional maturity.

OP’s posts: |
Chillisauceboss Sat 05-Oct-19 20:55:27

It's not always about how they are coping academically though, or that they've copied previously in a nursery setting. Sometimes they need an extra year to be emotionally ready for school. Best of luck with whatever you decide!

WMPAGL Sat 05-Oct-19 21:01:30

OP, if she's very bright and doing well despite paying little attention, is it possible she's bored and not being stretched enough?

Not looking to make excuses for her, but something to explore with her teacher (without sounding like 'that' parent!)

RoseReally Sat 05-Oct-19 21:02:46

Sorry to derail - @chillisauceboss what's the facebook group? Both my DDs are lat summer borns, older one due to start reception next year and I'm wondering whether to wait another year.

Sorry no advice OP, good luck!

Chillisauceboss Sat 05-Oct-19 21:06:27

Flexible school admissions for summer borns.

Absolutely incredible advice and a topic that gets zero press!!

LizzieBananas Sat 05-Oct-19 21:08:58

If she isn’t listening, have you checked her hearing? Always something to consider.

RoseReally Sat 05-Oct-19 21:10:56

@Chillisauceboss thank you!

Thistly Sat 05-Oct-19 21:20:34

Sounds like she is listening though!
She might just need more activity.
How tired is she after school?

Reception class should be a lot of learning through play, with opportunities for being active throughout the day.

I wonder how experienced the teacher is.
I remember my dd’s teacher admitting to me that she had judged my dd as not listening because of her body language, but then checked her understanding and changed her mind.

How badly can your dd be distracting others?
I wonder if the teacher is just a bit insecure and needs the class to be 100% attentive (completely unrealistic at that age)

Rockylady Sat 05-Oct-19 21:28:00

Pulling her out of school does not look like a good idea. Far from that scenario and you need to hang on.

Reading your messages, it looks like your little girl is bright. Bear in mind bright children, at this age, can be more troublesome behaviour wise, they get bored, their mind goes a million ways at the same time and can't come emotionally with what their brain is capable of. So it may well go away in a few months time. Good luck and keep a positive attitude at home and in front of the teacher - I do believe they should be able to deal with it, part of the job at Reception is settling them at school and that may take some time.

Rockylady Sat 05-Oct-19 21:28:36


Nix32 Sat 05-Oct-19 21:33:49

Reception teacher here - can't believe the teacher spoke to you about it! I'd consider it completely normal - it's what 4 year olds do! I've got around a quarter of my class doing the same thing and I'm not worried. With time and reinforcement of expectations, it'll come.

Sleepinglemon Sat 05-Oct-19 21:35:47

I don't really know what the teacher expects you to do. Surely, getting a 4YO to pay attention is a pretty basic teaching skill.

I am wondering about her hearing though. My DS5 has glue ear and it's not always been obvious.

letsjog Sat 05-Oct-19 21:40:47

I'm not sure why the teacher would raise it up as such an issue.

My 4yo also started reception and the kid has -10 attention span unless it's something which really interests him. He's constantly falling over when walking as it seems too boring for him yet when it comes to climbing/anything more adventurous he has perfect coordination.

He's teacher has pointed out that he gets very excitable which was no surprise to me and that they will be working on his concentration but also pointed out that he loves school and gets on great with everyone.

They are 4 FGS the main thing is that they are having fun and enjoying school!

Trinpy Sat 05-Oct-19 21:42:26

We have the same problem at the moment with our DS except he is 5.5 and in year 1. He was fine in reception but he had an amazing teacher and teaching assistant last year, which I think makes a big difference. His teacher this year says he's well behaved but it's like he's off in his own little world.

I've said to the teacher (in a nice way!) that we have no problems with his behaviour at home and we're happy for her to come up with whatever strategy works for them at school. I have strategies I use at home which work perfectly but they probably wouldnt work in a classroom setting.

I do feel like it's an awful lot for them to take on at such a young age and, honestly, I think at their age they'd do much better with a more relaxed approach to learning.

foxatthewindow Sat 05-Oct-19 21:45:35

I’d also wonder about whether she’s bored - things did get a little better for us when they started to give him some more challenging targets. There seems to be an assumption that the summer kids will be behind the others academically but that’s not always so. We had issues with him being academically able and emotionally less able. And also what I think was a bit of a clash of personality with his teacher (he’s getting on great with his new teacher)

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Sat 05-Oct-19 22:04:07

This resonated for me OP. My DS is now in year 3 and is much less fidgety than he used to be, but still moves around a bit to listen/concentrate, which can be irritating as fuck offputting. Tbh I’ve found some teachers have relayed it to me as a problem (in which case I tend now to make supportive noises and ask if there is anything they want me to do at home to reinforce things, but largely there’s not because my reminders at breakfast time aren’t going to make any difference by 9.30, much less later on in the day); most teachers though haven’t seen it as developmentally unusual or as being a problem.

His year 1 teacher pointed out to me “he fidgets, but he fidgets to listen - he looks like he’s not paying attention, but if I ask him a question it’s clear he’s heard and understood every word”. She used to give him a fidget toy on the carpet, I think to contain him a bit so it had less impact on the other children around him (although anecdotally the view I’ve gathered from many experienced teachers is that other children tend not to mind wriggly peers as much as teachers do...).

First year 2 teacher (NQT) found his fidgeting/outward impression of inattentiveness a huge problem and he got in a lot of trouble over it. I moved him to a different school that Christmas, and when I checked in with his (fab) new teacher about his fidgeting around Easter time she was quite surprised and said oh, I’ve never noticed anything along those lines with him- he clearly is listening, perhaps he fidgets?, I’ve not noticed that, if he does it’s not in any way that’s big enough to bother me.

I think young children are already learning so many things simultaneously - not just the substance of their lessons but also all the rules and routines of school and negotiating coexistence with their peers etc etc that it’s probably a bit much to expect them to also understand and remember about ‘looking like they’re paying attention’, really. They have to gradually learn that too of course, but I’d hate my child to accidentally start thinking it’s more important to look like they’re listening and “being good” than it is to actually absorb and consider the information they’re receiving. It’s taken a few years of having a DC in school for me to feel that so confidently though!

Apple23 Sat 05-Oct-19 22:16:24

If the teacher has mentioned it, the behaviour is probably over and above what is typical for her age. Get her hearing checked, even if you don't think there is a problem. Also her eyesight, unless done very recently.

If it come back that there is an issue, don't be hard on yourself. Children don't know how well they should see and hear, so don't tell you they are struggling and they use other cues to pick up day-today what they should be doing. If she can't see or hear properly what the teacher is teaching, her attention is going to wander.

Once you know whether or not there is a problem, you can work out with the teacher what needs to be done next, e.g you might be able to play listening games with her to help her concentrate on what she is hearing.

NellWilsonsWhiteHair Sat 05-Oct-19 22:17:28

Oh - also, when I was a bit glum and anxious over DS not listening in Reception, I moaned a bit to a (close, child-free) friend who said ‘yeah, but I get him, I don’t like listening to boring stuff either. Ask the teacher, has she tried being more interesting?’

... which is obviously not real advice, but I come back to those words time and again to put things into context a bit. Try being more interesting! It reminds me to turn my own nagging into brief and constructive instructions at home, and it reminds me that v often inattentiveness (or the appearance of it) at school is directly related to being sat still for too long, or the work being boring or too easy or too hard, and that it’s not some massive failing of DS’ that he can’t really be doing with it. Concerned nod, encouraging smile, ‘are there things I can do at home to support you?’, remember that the kid is being perfectly reasonable.

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