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How Your Child Can Make The Right Choices In School


No matter how excited you are for your child to start school, it's possible you'll encounter some issues along the way. It happens to every family. Most four to six year olds are still learning how to "do school," as teachers call it, and so they need help learning how to do everything from standing in a straight line quietly to remembering where to put the crayons after art class. You might not be able to fix all of your child's challenges at school, but there are some that you can.

Interrupting when others are talking

This is perhaps the biggest issue teachers and caregivers encounter when working with young children. Many tots love to share things they see or think with others, and their excitement can often be intoxicating. Yet, the moment your six year old's gym teacher is giving the class directions to a new game isn't the right time for your little one to share the name of their favorite animal. While you're not there at the time, believe it or not you can still influence the situation.

"Everything starts at home."

Everything starts at home, and letting your child interrupt you or another person outside of the classroom can result in your child developing some negative habits inside the classroom. Jerry Wyckoff, a psychologist and author, told that allowing your child to butt in while you are speaking lets them think they are "entitled to other people's attention." When children aren't told no in these situations from an early age, Dr. Wyckoff said they will end up not being "able to tolerate frustration," which can lead to temper tantrums and discipline problems at school. Remember, one child's interruption can result in multiple disruptions for everyone.

The key is to start at home. First, let your child know what they can do - not what they can't do - when an adult is talking so they can start understanding how their actions impact others. Adding a positive behavior instead of simply asking them to stop their negative behavior can help them focus their energy in a positive direction and make a good choice. This is similar to telling your child to "walk" instead of to "not run." It's easier for your child to understand what they can do versus what they can't.

Overly distracted by environment/other students

Every parent knows just how easy it is for a four, five, or six year old to get distracted in a new, stimulating environment. Many teachers of young students have special methods and tricks to prevent children from becoming distracted by things like colorful whiteboard markers, reward boxes, and sparkly bulletin boards, but sometimes children still become overly interested in everything and everyone around them and just can't focus. Your child will improve their concentration as they age and become more comfortable in a learning environment, yet there are still ways you can help your them stay on track when you're not there.

According to children's book publisher Scholastic, four and five year olds focus best when they are interested in an activity. However, because children's interests change constantly, it can be difficult for teachers to tailor lessons to each child's unique likes. To overcome this hurdle, encourage your child them to try new activities they might not feel 100 percent comfortable with and be excited about learning every day.

Unintentional lying

As adults, we understand when we lie versus when we are honest, but many times little kids don't. Sometimes, it doesn't make sense to us that our children tell us they didn't do something - like let the dog out when they weren't supposed to - when we literally just saw them do what they are saying they didn't. While intentional lying to get out of trouble is never a good thing, remember that a lot of children don't mean to lie - they just don't even realize they are doing it.

Johns Hopkins Medicine noted that children lie without meaning to for a variety of reasons, such as not having the communication skills to explain why they did something or being unable to fully separate fantasy from reality. According to WebMD, children may lie to experiment and understand the world around them due to their emotional development.

No matter the reason, every time your child exaggerates the truth or is dishonest at home is a learning opportunity for them. Give your child clear-cut rules at home so they understand the consequences of lying, and share those rules with your child's teacher or caregiver for consistency in and outside of the classroom. Explain to your child through a story or example how lying can result in people not trusting them, suggested. Let them know that you understand they didn't mean to do something, such as spilling the milk, or that you know it was a mistake. But, most of all, stay calm; WebMD noted that parents often overreact when children lie, when lying is really a normal part of their development.

Don't be afraid to call up your child's teacher or caregiver and share how you are working on helping your child at home - they will love to know they are a valued member of your team!

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