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Q: My son will be going to kindergarten in September. His preschool teacher says he gets too excited and is too impulsive. She thinks he won't make it in kindergarten because they won't tolerate his behavior. I've already tried "Melissa" (the natural herb for calming kids which contains chamomile) and that doesn't work. What can I do to calm him down? We tried standing him in the corner, sending him to his room, and other things. I want him to realize he needs to go to school. Please help.
A: Visit the kindergarten where you plan to enroll your son next year. Observe the children and talk to the teacher. Your son needs to be in a program that offers a curriculum that will let him engage in learning through a wide variety of hands-on experiences. He definitely needs to be in a classroom where he can move from one activity to another and where he will not be forced to spend all his time doing seatwork. Avoid enrolling your son in a program that stresses academics.
We suggest that you talk to your son's pediatrician. You need to find out if there is any medical reason for his excitable and impulsive behavior. If your child is diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity or some other type of learning disability that will impact his learning in the classroom, then the school will have to provide appropriate educational services next year. You will want to provide the school with this information before your son starts kindergarten.
Here's a list of things that you can do that may help your child become less excitable and impulsive:
- Structure your son's time. Have a predictable daily routine.
- Develop a few consistent rules of behavior and discipline.
- Follow through on these rules.
- Praise your child for good behavior.
- Encourage your child's interests.
- Shorten TV-viewing time.
- Eliminate violent TV programs.
- Provide physically stimulating outlets for his energy.
- Make time for a relaxing evening meal and bedtime ritual.
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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.