I really don't know what else to do - FamilyEducation
I really don't know what else to do
11/28/2007 at 03:10 AM

My 6 year old has been at the top of his class since pre-school. He attends a private christian elementary school, but their class size is a little big. For the past two years, he has had the same teacher, and last year she and I began to notice some behavior that we both find unacceptable. At first I thought it was just his age, but now, it is the same thing. I don't know if he can't or won't, but the problem is staying focused, paying attention and following directions. In hindsight, he has never really followed directions very well, and staying focused on things now is becoming a problem even at home, but when we can get him to focus on something, everything else around him literally disappears. And he often day dreams during class, and sometimes he would do something without thinking about it, and when we call him on it, he'll look at us like he doesn't know what we're talking about or even why he is being punished. When we first noticed the problems, I thought he was just bored at school, but if he can't stay focused long enough to not be distracted with the easy stuff, how is he going to respond to the hard stuff. It is as if he has a high second grade brain in a first grade body with a kindergarten attention span. I've contacted his pediatrician about this, but she has offered little help. Is there anyone that can tell me what may be going on? It is not affecting his grades at all, just his behavior. Recently, his teacher and his principal suggested that I look for another school for him to go to that would have smaller class sizes, but the problem is that the school district where I live is not adequate to say the least to give him the challenge he needs.  Please, HELP

Your son sounds a lot like me when I was about that age. My problem was that my classes at school weren't very challenging, and my brain would go so fast, that I was often a million miles away or causing trouble. This may not be the problem, but it may very well be that he simply needs more challenge in his life. Find a book series/genre he likes and buy him a bunch of books to read. Find a subject he likes and make him do fun research reports on things that pique his interest. Does he like the idea of model cars? Let him build some. Find something, anything that will grab his attention and not let go. The key here, of course, is that is has to be HIS interest. If he loves the piano, let him practice, but forcing him will backfire.

You don't have to make it onerous; it can be very fun.

Also, when he starts to find things that attract his interest, he should begin concentrating longer on them. Doing this will train him to be able to concentrate longer in general.

Hope this helps.


Try looking up some info about AD/HD - there are several types, it's not just about being hyper.  Many of the things you describe are typical AD/HD behaviors.  Once he has been evaluated then you can discuss strategies, it doesn't have to be medication or medication only.




We have had some good success with enrolling my child in karate. It is wonderful to help the children learn to focus and follow directions. It also gives them a time to exert their body physically which also helps them to focus their mind. Using their body physically is supposed to help them with regulating and focus.  Good luck.


Are there other behaviors besides the daydreaming and attentional issues?  Sometimes it can be hard to tell developmental from problematic at this age.  I remember taking home a checklist of what to expect from a 7 year old boy generally from his teacher, then going the next day to his pediatrician for a check up and reading the symptoms of ADHD- the lists were virtually identical!  So at this age I think its a matter of degree.

Both my son and daughter had the tendencies you describe- not cluing into directions, and when they were focused on something (like a book or a particularly engaging task) it can be to the exclusion of all else.  For both of them, visual reminders were helpful- my son had a written checklist taped to his desk in 2d grade to remind him of things like his morning jobs and the daily routine, which helped him at least remember to look for instruction on what to do next. 

The fact is that sometimes what is going on inside a 6 year old's head is simply more interesting than what anyone else is saying or doing, and they are really just starting to learn the discipline of giving directions/teacher comments priority over those thoughts.  I would stay vigilant and experiment with different ways of getting/keeping his attention, but not assume a major problem yet, and look for progress rather than a complete fix.

Just my two cents- good luck.