Bgirl's picture

Problems in Kindergarten

My five year old son has always been extremely outgoing, loud, energetic, sensitive, and friendly.  He is not a mean child.  He attended the same preschool from the time he was 2 until 5.  Over the summer he attended a different day care and we had no problems.  No problems in the aforementioned preschool, either.  He had many friends and the teachers loved him.  Literally. 

He is the youngest in the family - we have twin daughters that are 11.  They have always been very good, quiet kids.  So his being boisterous is quite different from what we're used to.  We just thought it is because he is a boy. 

My son, loves to talk.  He loves to meet new people and do new things, so I had no worry about his adjusting to Kindergarten.  On the first day (the school won't let the parents walk in with the students) I pulled up in the car pool line and my son had the car door open before the safety patrol even had a chance.  He jumped out of the car with his new Spiderman backpack and RAN into the building.  Didn't look back.  Didn't say Bye or anything.  That afternoon he was happy to see me and said, "Man, Kindergarten is COOL!"  Each day he seems excited about going, and brings home work that he did.  It is clear that he does the work right and follows instructions.  But. . . .

Since day three he has brought home a "bad note" in his folder just about every day.  He has spoken to the assistant principal twice and gone with a guidance counselor twice.  His teacher called me the other night and said that he is having trouble with anger, frustration, and waiting on his turn to speak. She said that when it's not his turn to talk, or if he's trying to talk and someone else is trying to talk, he'll put his hands over his ears and yell at them to shut up - that they are bothering him.  Most of the notes are for disrupting the class.  One was for Hitting - no note or elaboration on that one.  It's not like my child AT ALL to hit someone else.  He said he and another friend who went to the summer daycare with him were playing Pirates of the Carribean.  They weren't fighting.  They were playing.  He said they were swordfighting.  Ok.  And then yesterday I got a note saying he disrespected the teacher and a student - the elaboration on that was that he cried and whined for 40 minutes because he didn't get a green freeze pop. 

So, having never had problems with my child like this (except, he does whine and we have been working on this with him), I am almost at a loss.  I don't understand why my son could be so disruptive.  I don't know anything about this teacher except that she's older than me, has a kid in college and another in high school. She's been teaching kindergarten for 10 years so I figure she's got the experience.  What's going on with my child?  I absolutely will not tolerate his acting up at school.  But I have this nagging FEELING that something is wrong.  I can't TELL what it is, exactly, it's just a feeling.

I know my son is intelligent.  And I know that he can be loud. He is naturally a loud person.  But she's saying that he is SCREAMING AND YELLING. 

Last week the Kindergarten classes had a family picnic.  I went and observed the teacher.  She babytalks to the kids.  She also seemed to be on the verge of hysterics.  Her voice was real high pitched and she just had a facial expression like she was about to lose it.  I don't know.  I do know that all of the other teachers my child has had, in preschool and daycare, not one EVER has had a problem with him. 

Bgirl's picture

Thanks for your reply!  I did speak to the teacher on the phone last week.  Monday of this week, he brought home another note.  But on Tuesday and Wednesday he brought home smiley faces!  He was so proud of himself!  His father and I have both had talks with him about appropriate behavior and he is really trying.  Hopefully the smiley faces will continue!


kathiwelsh's picture


Sorry to hear you are having problems with your kindergartener.  I think you have done the right thing so far and I would keep communicating with his teacher on a regular basis. I would try to find out what he happened differently on those days he brought home the smiley faces. Of course, making a big deal about the smiley faces is great positive reinforcement.  I also wouldn't hesitate to try another kindergarten teacher/class if the behavior doesn't get better. He may be reacting to her "hysterics." 

Hope all goes well! 

yellowrose9696's picture

hello there,
                my husband and i are going through the EXACT same scenario! bad notes every other day, hitting other kids, crying and getting angry........... all things we never had a problem with before, right down to the exception of his occasional crying and whining, which, like you, we are working on. when i first met his teacher, i immediately disliked her. the situation has become so stressful that i am considering pulling him out of school. but it would break his heart! like your son, he thinks kindergarten is so cool, and he's so eager to learn. he wants to do his homework right away everyday when he comes home. please if you have any suggestions, i would love to hear from you. i feel she is picking on him, and like you, i know nothing about the teacher. should i go over her head and speak to the principal? thank you, and good luck with your son!

momtotwo's picture

Wow, our sons sound a lot alike!  I posted my thoughts on KG on the School Issues board earlier this week.  Same situation - very active son, has been in "school" before, never had issues like this.  I did meet his teacher before school once with the other KG teacher, and we had a nice chat, so I was really looking forward to the school year.  Now, I don't know.  I work FT, but I was thinking of taking a few 1/2 day vacations to be a parent volunteer in his class, to see how things operate on a daily basis. 

From my other post, I wish the teacher had called me right away with her concerns on his behavior, instead of waiting until the screening day, even though it was only 2 weeks.  I looked into other schools that whole weekend, I was so upset with how it was handled. 

This week, his teacher sent home a letter that was all about her & her family, etc... She's been teaching KG for 25 years with a Masters and lot of followup classes, but I would think that would make her more understanding of different personalities and learning styles.  My mom is an Elem Ed sub & sister teaches 3K and neither thought he was not "ready" to start KG.

From your posts, I am also going to ask if she could put the smiley/plain/frowny note in his backpack.  Everytime I pick him up, he's just beaming, but if I talk to the teacher, its a different story - so hard to know what is really going on.  I don't want to go over her head to the principal just yet...  

I was wondering if your boys are also the youngest, or have summer birthdays?  My DS is a young 5, so he does have different emotional development than a classmate that is already 6, but it doesn't seem like that is being taken into consideration~  Good luck

hiddentarius's picture

I'm on the internet searching for ways to help a child (in my class) with problems adjusting socially.  I've noticed in my classroom that this child is very aggressive.  I've been reluctant to talk with his parents because I fear that the child's behavior will be "my fault"  because he's never had a problem in preschool (just like all of you have stated).  I can't tell you about your child's teacher, but the majority of Kindergarten teachers are very loving and care very deeply about the students in their class.  I would NOT suggest going over the teachers head because that only causes the teacher to be more likely to "pick on" your child (and it doesn't help you with the problem because most principals will just say, "have you talked to the teacher about this problem?"  and if you haven't the principal will USUALLY tell the teacher that they had a parent come in with a concern - which will give the teacher time to get upset that you haven't even spoken to her - but thought that she was not important enough to speak with - instead you just jumped over her).   If you are always talking poorly of the teacher in front of your child then the child DOES hear you and DOES act differently. 


Question for all of you:  Have you tried rewarding the good days?  I mean truely rewarding them.  You get a special treat if you come home with a Smiley face.   (ie: you get to spend special time with mommy - alone if you have a smiley face.) Then tapering it off to two smiley faces, then three working it's way out of not needing that special treat all the time.  Also reward charts work great, start small (3 smiley faces - not consecutive, but just 3) then work to more.  We tend to focus on the negative, rather than the positive.  Try working MAINLY with the positive with consequences for the negative (but not attention as a consequence...taking time out of your busy day to give them special attention for a bad face only reinforces negative behavior -- because after all negative attention is better than no attention at all). 


Not saying I know it all about behavior or WHY kids act the way they do, I just know whats worked in the past.  The student I have is not responding to the positive reward system that I have, but I'm trying to find alternatives.  Hopefully he doesn't need to go to the front office (even though he should have by now - some of the things he's done I would have sent other students to the office for - but he's a special case and I would like to help him rather than give up on him.) 


Oh yeah and by the way, not everyone gets along, but teachers do not go into teaching because they hate children or because they want to pick on people...Teachers go into teaching because they love kids.  They are not your enemy - treat them like you respect what they are saying (even if it is against your child) because it's in the best interest for your child to work WITH your child's teacher, not to work against them.

missemilysmom's picture

Wow! My Daughter sounds just like this! Same thing... no issues until now...  She loves school and says no problems.. but then note, email or call from the teacher!  From what I can gather she is distracted, talks and fidgets in Group Time.  "Not tuning in" and is concentrated on "My needs now".  The teacher has been there forever (started the Kindergarten). The school is small with one class per grade level.  24 kids total in kindergarten. Right now her class is 1/2 day mornings with 15 students... They are combining it to 24 extended after Thanksgiving....

I teach K-4 computer in a much larger school where I have 103 Kindergarten kids in 5 classes... The behavior she describes seems typical to me... i see it everyday! 

chriscnaz's picture

I agree the behaviors sound kind of typical for this age group - but if all the kids behaved this way a classroom would be unmanageable.

Find out what the expectations of your child are:

  • quite circle time
  • raise hand
  • wait your turn
  • keep hands to yourself

Find out if there is a particular activity or time that your child struggles the most.  Many times adjusting breakfast or sleep time has a HUGE affect on Ks.  Sometimes they need more time to get ready for school instead of being rushed in the mornings, establish a before and after school routine, then they may understand an in-school routine better.

Find a way to practice these things at home.

Find out what your child's favorite thing at school is and what is least favorite, compare what your child says is hard or what they get in trouble for, compared to what the teacher says.  Many times kids misinterpret things and it changes how they react.

I agree with building in a reward system - walk to the park, special snack, play game with mom or dad etc for having a good day in school.  Be consistent, if it wasn't a good day, no amount of whining or explaining should replace a good day.  If it wasn't a good day come up with a plan WITH them for what to do tomorrow to have a better day, a simple reminder in the morning - "remember you are going to raise your hand today"

If your child is very active and having a hard time sitting still have an active play time before school and again after school to get their energy out.  There has been lots of research that physical activity helps get their brains moving as well.  There is an excellent program called "Braingym" that explains the concepts very well.

Children this age are just  learning how to learn and have to find their niche in school, it should still be fun, help find some common ground between them and the teacher about playtime and school time behaviors.

I hope some of this helps!

cheeni080808's picture

Ans 1.5: Sorry to hear about the issues you are experiencing. But the good news is that these issues can come in control, just by using some techniques, and with a little bit of patience and time.

(1) First of all, work with the class teacher, and inculcate the confidence in your kid, that all of you are a team. Praise him or encourage him to be a better person.
Make sure you are saying only positive things, or saying constructive sentences. E.g. "how great it would be if you can speak politely to your friends. Do you know they will start loving you more". It means say only what you want, and “not at all” what you do not want.
E.g. "Didn't I tell you not to shout or scream. Can’t you be polite?"

(2) Every morning when your son wakes up, and after getting ready, ask him to close his eyes, listen to you, and repeat the sentences you say. This exercise is for every morning should not go on for more than 1 min at a time. Positive sentences, such as the following will help your son tremendously to improve his behavior:
- I am a champion, and I speak softly and politely with everyone.
- I am a champion, and I help other kids.
- I am a champion, and I have a lot of friends.

(3) With immediate effect, remove his access to all violent cartoons, video games or comics. Media always have a deep impact on a child's mind especially if it relates to any anger, and frustration.
Replace those cartoons with soft cartoons or involve him with some music or art related activities like playing piano, playing guitar, singing or drawing/coloring. Music & Art softens the aggressive nature, and turns into positive attitude.

All the best, and keep us posted if you see any change.

-Rakhi from Cheenifortots

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I recently got feedback from my son's kindergarten teacher as well. She says he fidgits, doesn't always stay in his seat, and he likes to fool around. She also says he bothers other students by touching (not hitting) them. You're right. It's very disturbing to parents to hear that you're child is not behaving in school. My son has some problems focusing, but he is very smart also. He does have the ability to focus, though, and he can be redirected when necessary. The touching issue is bothering me the most. His teacher thinks it might be a sensory problem in which he is seeking "input" by touching others. My son is not a malicious kid, so often I worry about other children and parents misinterpreting his actions. Currently, he's in a spec ed program, so his teachers and therapists all understand his situation. However, once my son enters public school and during social settings outside of school, I can't help worrying about his future.
Stay on top of what's going on w/ your son, and always communicate any concerns w/ his teacher. Together you can work at helping your child achieve success in school. I also believe positive reinforcement is a great tool for earning that success. Good luck!

amyd's picture

I could have written the same blog...just one year later. Could you update me on how the year progressed for your child. I am desperate to help my son transition into kindergarten. Like your son, my son's teacher is kind of loud and maybe too enthusiastic. Also, our son is also the youngest sibling with a much older brother and sister. He is used to dealing with adults and older children. I think maybe the over energetic teacher and not being totally used to dealing with kids his own age, coupled with being in a very strict parochial school is just too much for him to deal with. Please let me know if you found anything that improved your situation. We are considering changing schools.