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Thread: "keeping his hands to himself" need help with school

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    Default "keeping his hands to himself" need help with school

    I need some insight and advice on my school experience with G. He turned 4 in July, and started VPK in September, so it's been a little over a month since he started. G loves school, is excited to go every day, and I can see how much he is learning. G is full of energy, very talkative, and can be very "handy" with kids, he wants to touch and/or hug them. His teacher has told me he is having a problem with keeping his hands to himself, she is asking for our help with this. My dh and I have both talked to him about it, but other than what can we do?! When I ask him about school he tells me it's great. Last week when I talked more in depth with him I found out he actually went to push another little boy off a play structure, because they were playing "bad guys" which seems to be a trend with their outdoor play. That is another post in itself, when I ask him what they play outside he always says "bad guys". Am I naive to think the teacher could direct eleven 4-5 year old's to play something nicer? Or do I live in Leave to Beaver??? Anyway, back to the issue-the teacher has told me from the first week he is adjusting well to school expect he will not keep his hands to himself.

    Any advice???
    Shelley-mom to DS, 5

  2. #2

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    It depends on her teaching philosophy as some early childhood educators don't direct playtime unless something is dangerous. It's hard when the kids get into stuff like that. Kai is something awful with the shooting guns with his hand made into one ever since he started school.

    Can G have something to hold, at least during down times where he needs to be still? I used to give Kai a ball of clay or a handful of sheeps wool to hold during story/circle time because he NEEDED something to do with his hands and if he didn't have that, he was all up in the others' space.

    I ususally find that most behaviors of young children are their response to an unmet need. It sounds like G needs something tactile. I'm not sure about the outdoor active play buy maybe the teacher could get them involved in a game of keeping the balloon in the air, or kicking a ball around, parachute activities, anything that would be a more appropriate outlet for his desire to be physical. Drums are great for that too.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    I ususally find that most behaviors of young children are their response to an unmet need. It sounds like G needs something tactile. I'm not sure about the outdoor active play buy maybe the teacher could get them involved in a game of keeping the balloon in the air, or kicking a ball around, parachute activities, anything that would be a more appropriate outlet for his desire to be physical. Drums are great for that too.
    This resonates with me. He clearly needs more stimulation or positive attention, and is just trying to fill the gap in the instinctual way he knows how.

    Maybe relaying to the teacher about the "bad guys" thing so she can have a better awareness of what is going on during free play???
    Me (34), DH (36), DS1, DS2 & 1 Angel (1/17/2012)



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    Well it's VPK at a public school, so it's not montessori or waldorf. You have given me some good ideas, thanks.
    Shelley-mom to DS, 5

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    Sounds like Bridget gave you some good advice and I really don't have anything to add to that. I just wanted to say that my daughter who is in pre-school always complains that the boys play "bad guys", so I guess it must just be something pretty common for kids to play. I know the teacher at her school (which is a Waldorf school, not sure if that makes a difference) doesn't like to direct their play, so as long as they are not being mean or hurting each other she stays out of it.



  6. #6

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    When I was searching for schools for DS I wanted a Montessori school but it didn't work out that way. So he's at a public school. Not my ideal but I am trying to work with it I don't like the bad guy play either, but I was never a little boy. It seems like when DS tries to push another boy because he's a "bad guy" of course my son needs corrected, you never ever push people. But it should be time to help them play something that doesn't involve bad guys.
    Shelley-mom to DS, 5

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    I don't think the teacher will be able or should redirect them for outside play and to be honest I think it is a bad idea. Let the kids do what they feel like unless it is dangerous. My older son also likes to catch or get bad guys and I know it is a phase. It is a way for them to process things, express themselves and it is a healthy fantasy. We as parents do not like a lot of things but the kids need what they need.

    Not being able to keep hands to himself is a very common problem for boys this age. The only thing that really works in my experience is constant reminders and reinforcement. Same at school. They will eventually "get" it but it takes a lot of time. With my older one nothing else worked and he had no particular textile or other needs. I tried to get in physical play with him to provide an outlet but it made things worse. For him, I just need to remind him often. He is much better now.
    KEVIN (5.5) & MATTHEW (4)

  8. #8

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    It shouldn't matter at all what kind of school it is. Any teacher of young children should be able to implement some strategies for helping children with this. As said above, it is not uncommon for this age group.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    It shouldn't matter at all what kind of school it is. Any teacher of young children should be able to implement some strategies for helping children with this. As said above, it is not uncommon for this age group.
    I agree Bridget!!!!!

    My experience: I've worked at a Montessori preschool when I was getting my masters, and our job as teachers were to be attentive to what the children were doing and keep them safe. Yes, there were things we would let the kids play, and kids tend to move through certain themes in their free play. We played with the kids though, and didnt always sit back with a whistle ready for when play was over. This helped us keep our awarenss of the children open.

    In Montessori, teaching peace and tolerance is central to the teaching philosophy. So making sure kids are socializing in a way that promotes peace and tolerance was reinforced to us teachers as important to the mission of our school. But any preschool should be just as attentive, IMHO.

    Parenting is a little different from educating. Values should be taught across both, but there are definitely different approaches and skills needed for each....Parents are caregivers and teachers, but teachers aren't parents. If I told my high school girls what I would say if I were their mother, I'd have a lot of parents unhappy with me. But I digress!

    Overall: Play is important practice for the real world, but teachers should definitely intervene when needed.
    Me (34), DH (36), DS1, DS2 & 1 Angel (1/17/2012)



  10. #10

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    Boys, boys, seriously. A month into preschool and every night all my 3.5 year old DS wants to play is "bad guys." DS's teacher had a similar complaint about DS. He's either invading other children's space or he's taking things from them. I'm definitely taking some of the above advice to heart. So far all we've been doing is modeling modeling modeling. Trying to recreate situations he's having problems with at school and rescript them.

    [/CENTER]

  11. #11

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    Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate it. I did a google search and I found another board talking about the same thing, it was a long thread too. It seems very very common in little boys.
    Shelley-mom to DS, 5

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by raspberry View Post
    Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate it. I did a google search and I found another board talking about the same thing, it was a long thread too. It seems very very common in little boys.
    So very common, indeed. That and constantly touching and adjusting their boy parts. Lol.
    KEVIN (5.5) & MATTHEW (4)

  13. #13

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    I guess this is a good warning for me of what's to come with DS? Eek!
    Me (34), DH (36), DS1, DS2 & 1 Angel (1/17/2012)



  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by tanyachap View Post
    I don't think the teacher will be able or should redirect them for outside play and to be honest I think it is a bad idea. Let the kids do what they feel like unless it is dangerous. My older son also likes to catch or get bad guys and I know it is a phase. It is a way for them to process things, express themselves and it is a healthy fantasy. We as parents do not like a lot of things but the kids need what they need.

    Not being able to keep hands to himself is a very common problem for boys this age. The only thing that really works in my experience is constant reminders and reinforcement. Same at school. They will eventually "get" it but it takes a lot of time. With my older one nothing else worked and he had no particular textile or other needs. I tried to get in physical play with him to provide an outlet but it made things worse. For him, I just need to remind him often. He is much better now.

    I agree with the above. Like you found out this is very common amongst little boys.

    I wouldn't worry at all about the bad guy play either.

    FWIW, Ky's main goal was to keep his hands to himself until he was 8 years old in 3rd grade. Luckily his teachers recognized that was just a thing of his and it wasn't a big deal. He was fine academically so this was his main behavioral focus. He doesn't have that issue now that he's 10 and it waned over the years. As long as G isn't going around bullying or pushing/hitting kids, I wouldn't see it as a big deal and would just keep reminding him that he shouldn't push or touch people unless they give him permission. With hugging, I had to constantly remind Ky to ask his friends if he could hug them. Most let him. He asks now to this day and will hug and pick up a friend and spin them around. He used to do the same at G's age and that was one of the main issues with his "touching." Picking up other kids lol.

    Erin
    Last edited by Ky'sMom; 10-16-2012 at 07:16 AM.

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