5 year old son having problems in kindergarten
10/03/2008 at 09:26 AM

My 5 year old son is having trouble in school.He has  never gone to daycare or prek and he has just started kindergarten 9/11/08.He is very smart and he loves school.He just doesn't listen or understand that when your in school there are times for playing but you have to sit down and do you work.He will get up and run around,bother the other kids ,pop the kids in the head like there playing duck duck goose(he willl do this when the kids are sitting done doing there  work or lining up),when the kids are sitting on the carpet he will roll around,do flips and crawl around,he will also get out of his chair and walk out the classroom.When the teachers stop him from acting  out he will throw a tantrum.He is a smart  boy and he is so sweat.His teacher says he isn't being mean when he pops the kids in the head he is just playing and  when he is running around the room or doing any of the other things he does he doesn't realize that he is acting up.He also acts up when he goes to eat lunch and when he comes in from recess.It's like he doesn't understand how to act in school.He has no problems academically.His teacher says most kids don't know what he knows until 3 to 4 months in to kindergarten.He loves to learn but he does have problems with writing his name and abc , coloring and drawing.He can write out his numbers and shapes.He can count up to 40 and i just got him a computer this summer and he does take computers in school with his class every thursday.He comes home early almost everyday.There was only 1 week where he stood in school from 7:20 to 3:30.I just want him to get on the right track so i can pick him up after school with all the other mothers.I do punish him when he acts up but if i punish him everytime he acts out in school he would be punished everyday.He is a only child and  his dad died last year so now it's just me and him.His acting out has nothing to do with his fathers death.I put my son in counseling 11 days after his father died and after 8 months I was told he could stop.I just wish there was some way to deal with this problem cause i have tried.I am working with a adjustment counselor and behavior specialist too.I also don't let him watch any shows or movies with hitting.Like spongebob,transformers,powerangers and alot of others too.I have tried sticker charts,rewards,play dates with his cousins and staying up an hour later to watch a movie with me.I have taken away toys,computer,games and tv.Nothing i have done has worked so far.If anyone is also having these problems I would like to know if there was more I could do.

Find out if there is a children's martial arts' program in your community. A good instructor will channel that excess energy and teach self-discipline and respect for others. And they don't do the board-breaking stuff until the kids are teen-agers, it is bad for the growth plates in the long bones.


I am sorry that you are having these issues with your son. Sometimes the brightest kids are the hardest to deal with. I know that the reward charts never worked in my home either. You may want to talk to his counselor since he has seen one before.

There could be some other issues or he is just adjusting to a new school by testing his boundaries.

My son would act out the first few weeks of school during preschool thru kindergarten. After he realized how far he could go, he would back off and become an angel student.
Hopefully things get better soon.


My son's school wants me to go check out a smaller class in another school.This is not a class he can stay in.It's a temporary class to help kindergarten and first grades adjust to school.When the teacher thinks he is ready he can go back to his old school and return to the same class.I am not sure if this is a good idea.I am going to see this class and school thursday at 10am.Has anyone ever heard of a class like this.


My son is having the exact same issues. He is the sweetest boy and we never see any behavior issues at home. He has a younger sister at home that he is very gentle with. However, since starting kindergarten we have received reports almost daily about his short attention span, a few hitting incidents, pushing and not being able to wait in line. The teacher says that he has friends and is very strong academically. I'm worried that maybe he is too young socially to start school. He never had any preschool, and I'm worried that he will get pegged a "problem child." I just want him to be successful and enjoy school, and I'm worried that he is feeling frustrated and stressed while there as he tries to figure out what is expected of him.
I don't want to punish him every day for the things that happen, because part of me feels like these are normal 5 year old behaviors as he's adjusting to his new situation. Also, I don't want him to feel that school is a negative place where he will always be getting in trouble when I pick him up. I don't feel that he has the skills yet to tell me everything that happened, so I don't want to always be yelling at him if perhaps another child is the stimulus for some of these behaviors.

Any advice from moms that have had similar problems?


I am a Kindergarten teacher. I am a 2nd year teacher. My daughter, who is very well behaved and does not have problems in school, attends kindergarten in the same school. I have several children in my class who are so called "disruptive." I even had other teachers comment to me that they "are just B.A.D."

I tend to believe that not all children are the best candidates to be "institutionalized" in the way that our public education system would like. I find it difficult myself to box myself into the routine of the demanding KK classroom, but I do, since I don't make the rules. It's unfortunate that you have to have money to find a program that is more flexible. I know it is hard for teachers to deal with kids who don't want to sit when they are supposed to sit and then get frustrated as time goes by. When classroom management is the issue you feel that other children are paying the price.
However, my general feeling is that in many cases it is not the child's fault. It's like trying to put a square into a triangular hole. We are not cookie cutter people. In many cases, children with who have been deemed as having "less attention spans" suddenly become candidates for medication.
Does anyone else think this way, or is it just me?


In addition to my last comment, I don't even like the whole smiley face thing. This was not practiced when I was a kid.... Now even in the best schools, once kids get in 3rd and 4th grade, teachers constantly give out treats (food or toys) when children answer questions correctly, behave well, or go above and beyond. What this tells me, is that there is not joy left in learning. That children aren't taught to love learning. They are taught to behave and spit out answers. Excuse me if I offend anyone, but I guess I am very disgruntled by the opressive system right now. Please comment and let me know your opinions and if you think I'm totally off my rocker.


behavioral management as it is practiced in most public schools and many private schools today fits Skinner's profile of coercion. I agree with aiam1


I know what you mean by the positive reinforcement idea that many schools are accepting. My son is in kindergarten in a spec ed class. His teacher believes strongly in rewarding positive behavior and ignoring negative behavior. I wasn't brought up this way either. However, it's been working for my son. I think it depends on the child. Every kid learns and behaves differently. What may work for one child, may not be right for another.
At back to school night, we just learned that if a child acts out (i.e.--hits another child), he doesn't get a reward for that day. The teacher said this encourages the kids to work harder at behaving well in order to get a reward next time. We also learned that time-out is now considered a form of corporal punishment and no longer can be used in the school. Has anyone else heard of this? I don't know, but what other alternatives do we have as parents? We use time-out, and it works to an extent, but our kids are far from angelic. We take things away too, but that's not always a foolproof method either.


I have been doing a great deal of thinking about the subject of rewards. You are right that to motivate every child different techiniques are needed. However, what I have really been wondering lately, is... is it human nature to seek instant gratification which is why we use it so readiy to motivate our kids in the school system? The hippie in me says, reward with being able to join in craft projects or extra trips to the library, but the institutionalized teacher says, reward with stickers if children sit criss cross apple sauce in the fours squares of the rug, or if 5 year olds march down the hall without talking or dancing... I have a friend who has a school in Bangladesh, where they don't even have 4 walls, or textbooks for that matter. They don't deal with the issues we deal with. Respect is an entirely different subject. The kids feel that learning is the reward. Is it that education there is more meaningful for children born into poverty? I'm not sure, but it is interesting. Please share your thoughts...


I have a friend who teaches in Spain (English to Spanish speaking students). These students find school to be a luxury, and according to my friend, they're excited about learning. American kids are so different. I guess compared to many children from other countries, our kids are very fortunate and spoiled so to speak. There are so many opportunities available to our kids, that they really don't learn to appreciate many things. As parents, it's our job to raise our kids to be as "down to earth" as possible. It's nice to be able to give our children all that we can, but what in fact are they learning from this?
In schools, so many limits and pressures are put on teachers these days. This takes the fun out of both teaching and learning. Are we raising a society of thinkers, or are our children being taught to just comply, and in turn, they will get a "sticker". I honestly don't know what to make of all this.


i have a 5 year old that the prinicipal expelled for 2 days this week for having a tanturm. The teacher took his paper because he was writing his U's too dark. He bares down when he writes. She tried to give him another piece of paper and he didn't want it because he knew that he was writing them right. After that she moved him from another table to see if he would calm down and he slide his chair back over some to the end of the table and she tried to get him to move back, but he didn't want to. This was the second time that I was called up at the school because of him. They have this stop light thing at school and he has been on green everyday except for 5 days and 2 of those were red lights. I think that it is crazy for them to make him stay out of school for 2 days over something that happened at school that needs to be fixed at school. I tried to let them let me stay at school one day to see how he was doing, but they won't let you. My son is smart, but has his days where he acts up. I think that with just 2 days of misbehaving isn't that bad. They wanted to put him in counseling and I signed him up for that and haven't heard nothing else about it.


I tried to observe my 5 yr old in his classrm also, after being advised about some behavioral issues he was having. The school wldn't let me into the classrm either, which I thought was ridiculous. I was told this was due to security reasons. However, I've been in the school for various student activities, PTA meetings, teacher conferences..., yet I can't enter my son's classrm to observe him? I think that's ludicrous! Makes you wonder what they're hiding. We even tried to get a professional in there to observe our son (which we were told was allowed), but everytime she tried to schedule a time, the school always found an excuse why she cldn't come.
How can we trust schools w/ our children if they refuse to work w/ us? Don't they want to help our children better themselves, or are they only concerned about protecting themselves. It's sad really.


I have experienced a similar situation with my five yr. old son, just not getting enough of what of he needs in preschool so therefore, he cries and once he starts it is hard to gain his self for a long time. I really think that some of this is generated by other kids and that the staff is not noticing it. I Questioned the owner about my son being ready for kindergarten, she felt that he is but, now the teacher and I have a strained communication because I asked about my son's future. But , I must say that more work has started coming home out of it but, She is not as open as before. My son is fine with her, we do not discuss this in front of him, we do ask him what makes him cry and upsets him. There is a challenged child in the class and he needs teaching too, but what if this is part of the problem? Is the staff equipped to handle him? I want him to stay only because wherever he goes he needs to speak up and know that he can talk to his teacher about what bothers him. We all want the best for our children so we have to communicate, teach them to appreciate others and respect their spaces and at the same time us our common senses and walk them through a lot of this.



When was your son born? Is he younger then most of his classmates? It is harder for boys to adjust because of them maturing slower then girls. By high school they catch up.

It could just be a maturity thing and next year you will see improvements or it could be signs of an ADHD child as well or it could be both.

Have your teacher try to buddy him up with a child who seems to understand these "unwritten" rules of how to act correctly in Kindergarten. Talk to your son about how to sit quietly. Maybe even practice it at home, when he has work to do. Talk and Model the behaviors you want to see.

Good luck.