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Wild Preschoolers

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    Wild Preschoolers

    I am having lots of trouble with my youngest and our school day.

    He's starting OT at the end of the month and we are in the process of getting him evaluated for ADHD and possibly considering meds. I hate it. He will be four at the end of May. But he is a wild man. When I do school with the older two, he is basically on his own for long periods of time. He gets into the pantry and eats whatever he wants (junk), he pours water all over the floor, sneaks electronics (if I have forgotten to hide everything).

    I try to do a 30 minute session with him after breakfast (first thing in our school day) but he is completely non-compliant. I have to physically hold him and make him do the recitation -- I'll have to say "We're all done unless you do this" or "You'll have to leave the room if you don't listen" just to get him to do the recitation (and we do a short recitation - two memory verses, counting to 10 and backwards to zero, the abcs). I have a really hard time getting him to say the prayer with me. The alphabet is a bust -- he wants to recite the whole alphabet himself -- a is for apple, b is for bear, . . . , but he doesn't know them enough to do it and he wants to start back at A every time I interrupt him. I can get him to do the counting if I use blocks or legos and make it play-like. But that seems to be against the point -- I want him to obey, right? The books are usually successful, but this week - Mother Goose is a non starter. He is not interested.

    My other two were in preschool until 3 and 4 years old and I was in school full-time, so this is actually my first go round by myself with a child this age, and one that is so all over the place.

    After we do his preschool, his basically playing by himself or with one of his siblings for the rest of the day. Since he is so loud and wild (he will run around our school room yelling and knocking things over) neither of the older two can do school with him in the room. I'm actually tempted to look into public pre-k for next year. Mostly out of desperation, but also because I feel like he isn't getting the attention he needs. He desperately needs structure and discipline, but I don't know how to provide that and teach my older two at the same time.

    Here's the general pattern of our day -
    -After breakfast I shower and get dressed quickly - my goal is to start school at 9:00.
    -Preschool with G for about 30 minutes
    -Recitation and Catechism memory with my older two
    -Start core subjects with older two - I swap back and forth and we go in this order -- reading, spelling, writing, math (for us this seems to be hardest to easiest).
    -Lunch - usually comes between writing and math
    -Finish the core subjects
    -Then I do subjects with both my older two together -- religion, copywork, cursive, & enrichment
    -Then I would try and finish any stuff up with G - play dough, painting, cutting, gross motor stuff -- this is the stuff he likes the best so I save it for the end of the day where he wouldn't think of cooperating with the recitation/language things.
    -I'm lucky if we are done by 3:30

    By the time I'm doing the subjects with both my older kids - G is finished playing by himself -- I often resort to giving him electronics at this point.

    Anyone with wild three/four year olds who wants to give me advice? I will take all you can offer!
    Susan

    2020-21
    A (12) - Simply Classical 5/6
    C (11) - Simply Classical 5/6
    G (7) - Simply Classical 1

    #2
    Re: Wild Preschoolers

    So, earlier today I found my usually very docile four year standing in a swamped bathroom with an empty shampoo bottle, lotion bottle, comb and Baby Alive doll (they pee for those of you unfamiliar with the joys of this doll). The smell of good perfume floated in the air.

    Me: "what in the..."
    Small one: "I opened a beauty parlor mama!"
    Me: "In my bathroom?"
    Small one : "Well, she was peeing all over"
    Me: "In my bathroom?"

    So, not sure that I am really one to look to for advice. But, just know you're not alone.

    And yes, she goes to morning preschool.

    She managed to find real estate, stock supplies, and find her first beauty parlor customer undetected all while I made lunch 20 feet away.
    Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

    DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
    DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
    DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

    We've completed:
    Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
    Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Wild Preschoolers

      Originally posted by Colomama View Post
      So, earlier today I found my usually very docile four year standing in a swamped bathroom with an empty shampoo bottle, lotion bottle, comb and Baby Alive doll (they pee for those of you unfamiliar with the joys of this doll). The smell of good perfume floated in the air.

      Me: "what in the..."
      Small one: "I opened a beauty parlor mama!"
      Me: "In my bathroom?"
      Small one : "Well, she was peeing all over"
      Me: "In my bathroom?"

      So, not sure that I am really one to look to for advice. But, just know you're not alone.

      And yes, she goes to morning preschool.

      She managed to find real estate, stock supplies, and find her first beauty parlor customer undetected all while I made lunch 20 feet away.
      I absolutely love this. This to me is pretty normal 4 year old mischief. I remember C taking all my make-up one time and dumping it all over the place because she wanted to put make-up on her dolls. I think she was 4 or 5. At least they have a clear reason for causing the mischief. She likely had a logical (to her) train of thought -- doll peeing, must go to bathroom, oooo lotion/shampoo, . . . .

      It is always helpful to feel not alone.
      Susan

      2020-21
      A (12) - Simply Classical 5/6
      C (11) - Simply Classical 5/6
      G (7) - Simply Classical 1

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Wild Preschoolers

        I want to type a response, but first had a question. Does MP1 do copywork, cursive, and writing? Are those all each day? Which enrichment are you doing?
        Michelle in Central Tx
        DS 12 (4A modified), Ds 9 (4M), DS 5 (K)

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Wild Preschoolers

          Yes MP1 does those. Copybook would be discussed, but necessarily written every day. Cursive and writing would be every day, though.
          Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

          DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
          DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
          DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

          We've completed:
          Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
          Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Wild Preschoolers

            Originally posted by mymommy1 View Post
            I want to type a response, but first had a question. Does MP1 do copywork, cursive, and writing? Are those all each day? Which enrichment are you doing?
            We're doing MP 1 copybook and enrichment. We're using the SC 2 plans for cursive. For writing, I'm using the SC 2 Bible writing with just my oldest. My middle child does her writing in Storytime Treasures as part of her reading.
            Susan

            2020-21
            A (12) - Simply Classical 5/6
            C (11) - Simply Classical 5/6
            G (7) - Simply Classical 1

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Wild Preschoolers

              Originally posted by sfhargett View Post
              I am having lots of trouble with my youngest and our school day.

              He's starting OT at the end of the month and we are in the process of getting him evaluated for ADHD and possibly considering meds. I hate it. He will be four at the end of May. But he is a wild man. When I do school with the older two, he is basically on his own for long periods of time. He gets into the pantry and eats whatever he wants (junk), he pours water all over the floor, sneaks electronics (if I have forgotten to hide everything).

              I try to do a 30 minute session with him after breakfast (first thing in our school day) but he is completely non-compliant. I have to physically hold him and make him do the recitation -- I'll have to say "We're all done unless you do this" or "You'll have to leave the room if you don't listen" just to get him to do the recitation (and we do a short recitation - two memory verses, counting to 10 and backwards to zero, the abcs). I have a really hard time getting him to say the prayer with me. The alphabet is a bust -- he wants to recite the whole alphabet himself -- a is for apple, b is for bear, . . . , but he doesn't know them enough to do it and he wants to start back at A every time I interrupt him. I can get him to do the counting if I use blocks or legos and make it play-like. But that seems to be against the point -- I want him to obey, right? The books are usually successful, but this week - Mother Goose is a non starter. He is not interested.

              My other two were in preschool until 3 and 4 years old and I was in school full-time, so this is actually my first go round by myself with a child this age, and one that is so all over the place.

              After we do his preschool, his basically playing by himself or with one of his siblings for the rest of the day. Since he is so loud and wild (he will run around our school room yelling and knocking things over) neither of the older two can do school with him in the room. I'm actually tempted to look into public pre-k for next year. Mostly out of desperation, but also because I feel like he isn't getting the attention he needs. He desperately needs structure and discipline, but I don't know how to provide that and teach my older two at the same time.

              Here's the general pattern of our day -
              -After breakfast I shower and get dressed quickly - my goal is to start school at 9:00.
              -Preschool with G for about 30 minutes
              -Recitation and Catechism memory with my older two
              -Start core subjects with older two - I swap back and forth and we go in this order -- reading, spelling, writing, math (for us this seems to be hardest to easiest).
              -Lunch - usually comes between writing and math
              -Finish the core subjects
              -Then I do subjects with both my older two together -- religion, copywork, cursive, & enrichment
              -Then I would try and finish any stuff up with G - play dough, painting, cutting, gross motor stuff -- this is the stuff he likes the best so I save it for the end of the day where he wouldn't think of cooperating with the recitation/language things.
              -I'm lucky if we are done by 3:30

              By the time I'm doing the subjects with both my older kids - G is finished playing by himself -- I often resort to giving him electronics at this point.

              Anyone with wild three/four year olds who wants to give me advice? I will take all you can offer!
              Hi, Susan.

              Although I do not (currently) have preschoolers in dire need of structure, I do understand. You are right. The current set-up is not sustainable. It leads to that daily, weighty, guilty feeling of "not doing enough for him" combined with "short-changing the other two."

              But public school pre-K might not be an improvement if 1) he has any learning difficulties, 2) he has ADHD as you suspect, and 3) they are not exemplary in providing good structure with plenty of supervised physical activity and OT. He might go from being the "bad one" at home to being the "bad one" at school. Not a good start for any child!

              I have some thoughts but hesitate to suggest them, because I always cringed when hearing anything that sounded like, "Do more." Nonetheless, this is where I would begin, if you have the energy:

              1. Clear the house of junk food. If Dad wants it, have a high shelf or hidden basket marked DAD. "Optimal brain health" does not include junk foods, dyes in foods, and sugar.

              2. Re-commit to your electronics purge. But then allow it in some form ("educational" DVDs on animals or with truly good stories) during the time YOU need him most occupied.

              3. Insert bursts of physical activity into the day. Install an indoor mini play gym, if he cannot play alone outside. Plan to open the day with a quick walk or bike/trike ride. Use movement in his lessons for now. Have his recitations on a minitramp or jumping in place.

              4. If you need to, use one other 30-min electronics period as an incentive. This is earned with meeting high standards. Start with "Respecting the property of others." The reward for self-control can be 30 min of time with a game. (This is not your daily #2 above, but rather leverage for you and an incentive for him.)

              5. Schedule the other kids' time with him to be even more constructive and even more predictable. Every day, for example, sibling A plays a game or works a puzzle with him at a certain time with a start and end. Every day, sibling B plays pretend with him for an hour with toys/Legos set aside for only this time. Let the sibling time include his favorite things.

              6. Focus more on his overall routine, health, and well-being than on academic goals right now. He is not yet four. This is primarily character-building, habit-forming, respect-expecting time. If SC A helps him with this, use it. If not, wait a little bit until you see what the OT suggests and what the ADHD eval shows. For now, just focus on creating a good, constructive routine for him.

              If parts of SC A assists this, especially with those fine-motor things he enjoys, use only those parts. He may have hard-wiring issues that are bothering him as much as they are bothering you. Modifications are okay right now.


              7. If you can, begin now with a habit of praying for him with his siblings. You do not want resentments solidifying. By praying FOR him with each of them, you create a more compassionate sense of "we're all in this together." (Rather than an irritated and expressed, "What's wrong with him??") You can pray that doctors will help him, that the siblings will be patient yet firm, that he will gain self-control.


              8. If you can afford it, consider a good pre-K program with OT, structure, enrichment, and accommodations. Sometimes our Christian classical pre-K programs, even without special services, can help to eliminate behavior problems because of the inherent, nurturing orderliness. But do not send him "just anywhere."


              A note on meds -- do not rule this out. For some, the change from being "wild" to reasonable is worth a small dose of help. It might not be a permanent addition to his regimen, but could be something to help change existing patterns, including the way he might be thinking about himself.

              When my daughter was young and so very impulsive, my physician father-in-law took me aside and said, "It is not fair to her for you to refuse to consider some help for her." He was right. (This is not to say that your child or any child needs medication, nor does it mean that all 8 items above would be unnecessary. They would still be necessary!) Just do not feel like you have failed if the doctor suggests therapies of any kind. Clearly he needs help.


              Feeling for you, but you are so conscientious and persevering. You will figure this out.

              Let us know what the OT says.

              Another thought:
              You might ask for a " daily sensory diet" that your other children would enjoy implementing. This should include more physical activity. (Be prepared to ask someone to install a swing, hammock, ball pit, or other odd item inside your house!) I hope you have a good OT. If not, feel free to educate her! Let her know that you will implement what she suggests. If nothing else, YMCA swim lessons might be very helpful.


              We're with you on this. This is going to be a time of transition, as you realize more of his very real needs, so be patient with yourself.

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Wild Preschoolers

                Thank you Cheryl, as usual you've given good thoughtful advice. I've finally gotten to the point where I can take advice and work on bits and pieces at a time rather than trying to do everything and then quickly admitting failure. Oh personality struggles.

                Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                Hi, Susan.

                Although I do not (currently) have preschoolers in dire need of structure, I do understand. You are right. The current set-up is not sustainable. It leads to that daily, weighty, guilty feeling of "not doing enough for him" combined with "short-changing the other two." This is exactly how I feel.

                But public school pre-K might not be an improvement if 1) he has any learning difficulties, 2) he has ADHD as you suspect, and 3) they are not exemplary in providing good structure with plenty of supervised physical activity and OT. He might go from being the "bad one" at home to being the "bad one" at school. Not a good start for any child! You're right, public pre-k won't be the right place. He has apraxia of speech as well as ADHD, so not necessarily a good combo for most preschools.

                I have some thoughts but hesitate to suggest them, because I always cringed when hearing anything that sounded like, "Do more." Nonetheless, this is where I would begin, if you have the energy:

                1. Clear the house of junk food. If Dad wants it, have a high shelf or hidden basket marked DAD. "Optimal brain health" does not include junk foods, dyes in foods, and sugar. This is so true. I'm actually setting up appointments to work with a nutritionist to get all three kids eating better foods. They all have pretty restrictive diets made up of mostly junk. This is a high priority for us. I feel so much better now that I'm eating better.

                2. Re-commit to your electronics purge. But then allow it in some form ("educational" DVDs on animals or with truly good stories) during the time YOU need him most occupied.

                3. Insert bursts of physical activity into the day. Install an indoor mini play gym, if he cannot play alone outside. Plan to open the day with a quick walk or bike/trike ride. Use movement in his lessons for now. Have his recitations on a minitramp or jumping in place. This he definitely needs. Starting the day with exercise is a good idea. We have a safe, fenced in back yard and I do let him play outside unsupervised as long as one of us can hear him if he calls out. He loves being outside. We have bulldozer holes everywhere.

                4. If you need to, use one other 30-min electronics period as an incentive. This is earned with meeting high standards. Start with "Respecting the property of others." The reward for self-control can be 30 min of time with a game. (This is not your daily #2 above, but rather leverage for you and an incentive for him.)

                5. Schedule the other kids' time with him to be even more constructive and even more predictable. Every day, for example, sibling A plays a game or works a puzzle with him at a certain time with a start and end. Every day, sibling B plays pretend with him for an hour with toys/Legos set aside for only this time. Let the sibling time include his favorite things. Also a very good idea. I'll talk to the older kids and come up with ideas they like too.

                6. Focus more on his overall routine, health, and well-being than on academic goals right now. He is not yet four. This is primarily character-building, habit-forming, respect-expecting time. If SC A helps him with this, use it. If not, wait a little bit until you see what the OT suggests and what the ADHD eval shows. For now, just focus on creating a good, constructive routine for him. I can get too focused on checking those boxes. I'll pull back and try to work on habits. All the kids could use help with this. (Me too!)

                If parts of SC A assists this, especially with those fine-motor things he enjoys, use only those parts. He may have hard-wiring issues that are bothering him as much as they are bothering you. Modifications are okay right now. Again, the compulsive box checking. He does meet most of the readiness skills for level B (when he feels cooperative) so I shouldn't stress and modify as needed until the fall.


                7. If you can, begin now with a habit of praying for him with his siblings. You do not want resentments solidifying. By praying FOR him with each of them, you create a more compassionate sense of "we're all in this together." (Rather than an irritated and expressed, "What's wrong with him??") You can pray that doctors will help him, that the siblings will be patient yet firm, that he will gain self-control. What a good idea. That is so much better than calling him a maniac/lunatic. Even in jest, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. He understands so much more than he says.


                8. If you can afford it, consider a good pre-K program with OT, structure, enrichment, and accommodations. Sometimes our Christian classical pre-K programs, even without special services, can help to eliminate behavior problems because of the inherent, nurturing orderliness. But do not send him "just anywhere." I wish this was an option. The good programs in my area tend to be very $$$. The local classical schools cost upwards of $20K a year.


                A note on meds -- do not rule this out. For some, the change from being "wild" to reasonable is worth a small dose of help. It might not be a permanent addition to his regimen, but could be something to help change existing patterns, including the way he might be thinking about himself.
                Meds aren't ruled out by any means. I actually expect them, I guess I am resigned to them. I wish they weren't necessary, but I do think he needs them.

                When my daughter was young and so very impulsive, my physician father-in-law took me aside and said, "It is not fair to her for you to refuse to consider some help for her." He was right. (This is not to say that your child or any child needs medication, nor does it mean that all 8 items above would be unnecessary. They would still be necessary!) Just do not feel like you have failed if the doctor suggests therapies of any kind. Clearly he needs help. This sounds a bit like A's first neuropsych eval. When they suggested that his attention problems could be interfering with his ability to learn academically and progress in speech it was like a light bulb went off in my head. And meds, while I don't like the side effects, are so effective for him.


                Feeling for you, but you are so conscientious and persevering. You will figure this out.

                Let us know what the OT says.

                Another thought:
                You might ask for a " daily sensory diet" that your other children would enjoy implementing. This should include more physical activity. ([B]Be prepared to ask someone to install a swing, hammock, ball pit, or other odd item inside your house![B]) I hope you have a good OT. If not, feel free to educate her! Let her know that you will implement what she suggests. If nothing else, YMCA swim lessons might be very helpful. I do want to do swimming lessons and I may need to look into that door mounted monkey bar play set Jen posted a while back!


                We're with you on this. This is going to be a time of transition, as you realize more of his very real needs, so be patient with yourself. Thanks, I need that reminder.
                Susan

                2020-21
                A (12) - Simply Classical 5/6
                C (11) - Simply Classical 5/6
                G (7) - Simply Classical 1

                Comment

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