preschool problems - FamilyEducation
preschool problems
01/16/2009 at 18:14 PM

Hi. I am looking for some advice. My 3 year old has started acting up at preschool. He has been going for 5 months. About 2 months ago we started getting notes that he was being loud during naptime. They are required to lay quiet for 45 minutes. We got about one note a week. Over the past three weeks, however, he has started hitting, kicking, saying "yucky" words (fart, butt, hell, nerd, etc) and still not being quiet at naptime. We have been trying a reward chart and explained why he needed to lay down at naptime. I have started making him lay down for 45 minutes at home to "practice" since he isn't doing it at school. However, I am concerned because normally he is very sweet, polite, helpful, etc. I did take him to his pediatrician and found he had a bad ear infection. His behavior improved the first two days this week, but it was bad again yesterday and today. I think part of the problem is my 8 year old stepson that lives with us. He has always been a handful. He has ADHD and ODD. He throws tantrums every morning and most evenings at bedtime. Afternoons are okay because of his meds. We have had him in counseling for 3 years and seeing a psychiatrist for 2 1/2. I know that acting out, particularly at this age, is fairly common, but it doesn't make me feel any better. He knows it is bad behavior. He can tell us the correct way to behave and what to do if he is mad instead of hitting, etc. Any advice, ideas, or words of wisdom would be appreciated!

Does your son take naps at home after school? If so, can you try to work out his schedule better so he doesn't nap and maybe have him go to bed earlier at night? Also, keep your son busy during the day, and don't let him sleep too late in the morning. Possibly then he'll be more willing to relax during naptime at school. If your son isn't tired, 45 mins is a long time to expect him to "rest". Maybe you can talk to the teacher about letting him play quiety (doing a puzzle, reading a book, coloring, whatever) until naptime is over. This may also help w/ the other negative behaviors. Of course illness, allergies and diet can play a role in a child's temperment as well. Talk to your son's dr about suggestions in dealing w/ these issues. Sometimes a change in diet can make a significant difference, for example. In addition, talk to your step-son. It's important that he understands the impact he has on his step-brother. Try to encourage this boy to be more of a role model for your son. Teach him to avoid using certain language and aggessive behavior. Also, teach your son that it's not ok to mimic this behavior just b/c his step-brother acts this way. Hopefully through reinforcement and positive role modeling, things will get better. Good luck!

Any other changes in his life? New baby at home, change in schedule? Did you move?

Your son sounds like a very normal 3 year old. I can't understand any childcare situation which forces a child to lie still for 45 minutes if they do not require it. I work with two year olds. Some of them don't need a nap and they either play quietly or can go out to play in the garden whilst their peers have a nap. Our children sleep as long as they need or their parents say is suitable for their child. That can be anything from half an hour for some children, to two hours for a small girl to a small girl who needs a lot of sleep. We find that a lot of our children give up their naps at two before moving on to pre-school. These forced nap breaks sound positively Victorian.

Thank you for the advice. Usually he is up in the morning by 6:30 am, even on the weekends. He is naturally an early riser. He is at school by 7:30 am, and he stays there until I pick him up from work (about 3:45 pm). We try to have him in bed by 7:30 - 8 pm every night. I don't think playing quietly is an option although I guess I have never really specifically asked about it. They have told me they are required to lay down for 45 minutes. He has a recheck with his doctor in two weeks to see how his ears and his behavior are doing. We have tried talking to my stepson, but he doesn't really care. He is a very, very difficult child. His mother is bi-polar and very sporadic in his life. I feel sorry for him since he has had it pretty rough with her, but it doesn't make it any easier when he is throwing huge temper tantrums because he has to get ready for school or empty the dishwasher or whatever reason he feels. He also gets aggressive with his little brother when he is angry with me (which is quite often since I am a fairly strict parent.) We have him in counseling and on medication. Hopefully time will help with him. I just feel like we are running out of time to make a difference with him since he is almost 9. We've been trying since he was 4. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read and respond! I really appreciate it!

Sorry, forgot to put this in my other post. We haven't had any other changes that I can think of. Things are pretty routine.

I just had this same exact situation with my five year old son. He is forced to nap or lay quietly for 40 mins. a day in pre-K. He has not napped at home for over 2 years and this is very difficult for him. I went along with it for the first half of this year so as not to "make waves." Since returning to school after winter break he has been getting in trouble every day for talking, getting up, or making noise during nap time. Clearly, this imposed nap-time is detrimental to his overall development if it is going to cause him to be reprimanded every day. Finally I went in to speak with the principal about it. I totally disagree with forcing a child to lay still or sleep when their body simply does not need the rest. We are going against nature here...if someone was not hungry would we force them to eat? I told the school that in their quest to be "fair" to the kids who needed sleep they were inherently being "unfair" to my son who didn't need the sleep. That is like torture for a five year old child to lay still and look at the ceiling for 40 mins. a day! If I were you, I would go into the school and request a change be made for your son. Like other people suggested, how about providing him the opportunity to do a quiet activity while others sleep. That is what I requested, and I'm waiting for them to follow up with me as to what other options he'll have. One thing is for sure, though and that is I'm not going to allow this to go on any more. If we don't stand up for our kids, no one else will! You are totally right to advocate for your child, don't be afraid to request a change for your son even if he's the only one who doesn't need a nap. Good luck with resolving this issue. It's nice to know I'm not the only one dealing with this problem!

No nap should be forced. Sometimes you have to look at things thru all angles. At most centers the nap time hours are the only time when teachers can get a break and do their planning. If they no longer nap they should at least be taught that their friends would like to sleep and have a quiet activity on hand for them. It is very barbaric to MAKE a kid just sit quietly with nothing to do. We don't like that so why should children?