Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Daydreaming at School

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My six-year-old son has completed one year of preschool and one year of kindergarten. During both, he has shown zero interest in cutting, coloring, and printing. I have tried working with him, bribing him, and disciplining him to no avail. He has a very hard time concentrating and seems to be daydreaming the majority of the time. When tested at school, he comes out average or above-average. Any thoughts on this?

A: Some children seem to have an uncanny ability to absorb information even when they don't appear to be listening at all, and your son may be one of them. It's wonderful that he is able to score so well on the school's tests.

Talk with your pediatrician about what's going on. Many times physical problems are easier to diagnose or to rule out, and if they are diagnosed can often be treated easily. Find out if the doctor believes that your son's lack of interest in working with his hands (cutting, coloring, writing) may indicate a physical problem and if some occupational therapy might help.

Another possibility is that your son is not developmentally ready to use his fine-motor abilities to do work in school. If this is the case, your son will become interested in writing and cutting when he is ready. Unfortunately, it's difficult to wait for this readiness when the rest of the children are doing these things, and we tend to want to push the child into doing fine-motor tasks.

If your son seems to be ready, you may want to encourage him this summer to work on his writing and coloring by giving him special crayons and fun markers, blocks, clay, Legos, and finger paint. There are special scissors available in craft stores that cut designs rather than just a straight line, and he might enjoy those as well.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks