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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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I have an almost four year old son who is in preschool (he

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I have an almost four year old son who is in preschool (he has been in this same class since he was three). He has always done very well. A few weeks ago his teachers asked for a conference, much to our surprise, as he is a great kid at home (active, spunky, fun, caring, etc..). They said he was having issues when they "redirect" his behavior, i.e., he will whine, cry, or sometimes throw a tantrum. They say that for his age (almost 4) this behavior should be slowing down, not gearing up. He doesn't do this for us at home (sometimes he whines, but it doesn't escalate from there). His teachers keep saying it isn't "age-appropriate". At the conference they also mentioned that he has a best friend, and he gets upset when this friend doesn't want to play with him or wants to do something else - which causes my son to get upset. They also said that this isn't age-appropriate and that he is "behind his peers" because he then has a hard time playing with other kids or finding something else to do. While I expect the teachers to be experts in this area (as they pointed out to me, they get the ability to compare my son to many other kids his age, which I don't), many of the moms with kids my son's age have told me that this behavior isn't abnormal in any way. Should I be concerned? Any thoughts on why this only happens in preschool? He plays very well at home or when we have friends over.
Hello and Thank You for using Just Answer. Have you ever had the chance to observe your son at school on more than one occasion?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Yes. We have watched him in the mornings and evenings when we pick him up, many times he doesn't know we are watching then, but usually it is only for a short period of time. He plays very well in the mornings, and in the afternoons, they are usually outside playing, and he doesn't seem to stand out from any other of the active boys in his class. I have spent lunchtime there with him on a few days and nothing stood out (this was prior to being told though he was doing this).


One day before our scheduled conference with his teachers, I asked if I could observe his class for the morning. I spent 2+ hours there, and granted, he knew I was there because there was no place for me to observe otherwise. The center director did say that he "probably wouldn't act up" while I was there, and he didn't. He behaved better than even I expected - I watched free play (which is where they say almost all the issues occur), circle/story time, small group time, and watched them do an art project in the art room. I saw absolutely nothing - his teacher said she was "sorry I didn't get to see what he does" but also that she was "happy he didn't do anything". I mentioned to her that we know we can correct the problem then, because if he didn't do it while I was there, obviously it is something that can be fixed. But, his teacher made me nervous be responding to that with, "well, we will see I guess."

Hello and Thank You for responding. Your son does not seem to be manifesting any abnormal or out of the ordinary behavior for his age and stage of development. The teacher must be willing to work with you and your son to change his behavior. She cannot simply dismiss it and say that it is not appropriate. Therefore, she must implement some type of daily behavior chart that comes home every day. If she cannot create one, here is an is an idea for her. The chart can be broken up by every hour or by activities. In each space on the behavior chart, your son will receive a happy face, an ok face, or a sad face. If he has a sad face, the teacher must write an explanation as to what the inappropriate behavior was and what the consequences were. Then your job is to REALLY praise his happy faces that he brings home. The goal is to get more happy faces and focus on the positive behavior. If he has a day of complete happy faces, then he gets a star for the entire day.... A BIG STAR. After five big stars, he gets a special treat or a special outing.


Teachers want their students to be angels. But this is not the reality of children's lives. Your son is probably just very active and at the same time can be very sensitive. The key is to stay positive and keep in constant communication with the teacher. She needs to give you specifics about what your son is doing on a consistent basis. She needs to tell you the good things as well. The teacher may just be picking on your son because of his actions in hopes that you will take him out of the school. Also, another child may be bothering your son or the teacher may not be including your son in activities because of his behavior. Watch out for these things as well.


Hope this helps!!!Laughing

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