Poor Adjustment to Kindergarten
Q. Since school started, it’s been a daily battle to get my kid off to kindergarten. She whines, cries and procrastinates. At school, she prefers being with the teacher to her classmates. Rather than paying attention to her work, she tries to see what the rest of the class is doing. The teacher is not very happy with our daughter’s behavior. What should we do?
— Help Needed
A. Your daughter is in kindergarten — a year in which she is to learn how to adjust to the school environment. She needs to learn listening and sharing skills, as well as how to appropriately behave in the classroom. She needs to master these things so it is easier for her to learn the academic skills that prepare her to read and do math in first grade.
Your daughter is having a hard time adjusting to school. It probably ties into her reluctance to go to school in the morning. Make the morning routine as simple and pleasant as possible.
It sounds like you have talked to the teacher about the situation at school. Many young children do prefer being with the teacher until they make friends with their classmates. Help your child get to know some of the other children in her class better by scheduling play dates with them. The teacher also should be doing things to help your daughter get to know individual children better.
Your daughter seems to enjoy seeing what the other students are doing rather than working independently. At times, the teacher could match her with other students who may work better in small groups. The child also could be seated in the front of the room, away from the distraction of seeing so many other children.
Visit the classroom to observe your child’s behavior. Then talk with the teacher about ways the two of you can work together to improve the child’s behavior. Perhaps the child could be given some assignments at home similar to those she does at school. You could focus on helping her learn how to handle them and stay on task. You also could play-act work situations at school with your daughter to show her how to handle them.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
Q. How do I know if my school-age children are getting enough sleep? They always want to stay up past their bedtime.
A. All children do not need the same amount of sleep. Most studies show that children between the ages of 6 and 9 require about 10 hours of sleep. Preteens and teens need a little more than nine hours. Teens can be sleep deprived because their body clocks are telling them to stay up late, and schools often start so early.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, your children may not be getting enough sleep:
Do they usually fall asleep in the car?
Do you have to get them out of bed every morning?
Do they seem overtired during the day?
Are they falling asleep in class?
School Vision Screening Tests Don’t Always Catch Problems
Parents: You need to be aware that the vision assessments given by schools are not comprehensive eye exams. Plus, there are other risk factors for poor vision, including premature birth, developmental delays, a family history of “lazy eye” and diseases that affect the whole body, such as diabetes or sickle cell anemia.
Follow professional recommendations for eye exams and be alert for warning signs of potential vision disorders in your children including:
• Squinting, closing one or both eyes
• Constantly holding materials close to the face
• Tilting the head to one side
• Repeatedly rubbing eyes
• One or both eyes turn in or out
• Redness or tearing in eyes