Author Topic: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?  (Read 4360 times)

StarBright

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Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« on: November 13, 2017, 02:47:36 PM »
I never thought I'd be asking about private school. I am the staunchest public school advocate. But here I am!

My oldest started K this fall and his schooling is thus far marked by several good days in a row followed by an absolutely awful day where he ends up in the principal's office for quiet time.

He is insanely high energy, (wakes up at 4-6am, goes to bed sometime between 9-11  and this is despite our excellent sleep hygiene practices and every type of sleep training imaginable), has impulse control issues, maybe some slight sensory issues (though we've had him evaluated twice for spectrum disorders at the encouragement of two daycares and have received a negative on those), is so sensitive that crying jags happen at least weekly, and is bright (he went from not reading at all in September to testing at 2nd grade level last week, and he just keeps improving).

He has a wonderful K-teacher who is in regular communication with me and is understanding of his quirks and she really does her best to work with his needs - but he is one of 26 students and there is only so much she can do. He ended his last week with excellent behavior all around. This morning he woke up crying because he didn't want breakfast, wiped out on the walk to school and apparently his day just went downhill from there (lot of talking over the teacher, bouncing up and down in his seat during quiet time, not giving his friends space, etc).

I'm leaning towards keeping him in his current class (because his teacher is wonderful!) and finding a child psych to deal with impulse and sensitivity issues but multiple people have also asked me if/when I'll be switching him to private. Also - am I doing a disservice to other children if I keep him in the class?

Has anyone used private school? It seems prohibitively expensive (twice as much as daycare) but if we cut way back on savings we could swing it.

I'm sort of at wits end. I have this amazing, enchanting child and I just want him and those that have to interact with him to be happy.

I'm looking for stories, anecdotes, ideas, whatever you guys have to send my way. I'm looking for wisdom. Both my parents and my DH's parents just say "you guys never behaved like, we don't know what is wrong" (not exactly helpful).

Thanks in advance for anything y'all have to offer.

rubybeth

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 03:05:50 PM »
What would be the purpose of the psychologist? More testing? If you are looking for therapy, a therapist usually does that. You can look for a therapist who specializes in children, likely a family therapist is what's called for here, to teach you and your spouse ways to help your child better regulate his emotions and behavior. I also wouldn't assume something is necessarily "wrong" with your child, just that you are on a learning journey to figure out what works best for him--sometimes the parenting skills you have already will work on the kid you have, but sometimes not. There's no shame in that.

I wouldn't worry about other kids in the class; switching to private might actually be worse. If you child gets a specific diagnosis, a public school would likely do an IEP, and get him services within the school day that a private school may not be able to do. They might have to pay for him to get those services outside of the regular school day, but it's probably better to have them integrated.

Note: I'm not a parent, just married to a therapist and my sister works in special education as a speech language pathologist.
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StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 03:13:30 PM »
thanks rubybeth!

We don't have any "family therapist" in our area on our insurance, but our insurance does list child psychologist so that is what I was going with. But I think part of the thing is I'm not really sure what I'm looking for - Thanks for the distinction!
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 03:28:09 PM by StarBright »

FireHiker

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 04:04:24 PM »
Have you read the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka? It's been recommended to me (I have my hands full with a similar kindergartner, in this case my youngest child). I haven't read it yet, but I think I'm finally going to do so. Might be worth checking out at your library? Unfortunately I do not have any answers, just commiseration.

MayDay

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 04:16:50 PM »
Oh man. That sounds tough.

I have an autistic kid and both my kids are super bright. Sometimes with little ones, super sensitivity can be a gifted thing too. Or could just be high sensory needs.

Think about if you feel some of it could be stemming from him being far ahead of the class academically. Is he bored? That isn't going to help.
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StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 05:24:03 PM »
Have you read the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka? It's been recommended to me (I have my hands full with a similar kindergartner, in this case my youngest child). I haven't read it yet, but I think I'm finally going to do so. Might be worth checking out at your library? Unfortunately I do not have any answers, just commiseration.

I have! I found it pretty helpful. The thing with a lot of the strategies in there is that the grownup really has to take the lead in re-directing bad behavior. In our case you have to head it off before it gets out of hand.

With school - the teacher can't always catch him before he's about to go off the tracks (nor do I expect her to).

It really did help me re-frame the behavior at home and I highly recommend it!

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 05:29:03 PM »
Oh man. That sounds tough.

I have an autistic kid and both my kids are super bright. Sometimes with little ones, super sensitivity can be a gifted thing too. Or could just be high sensory needs.

Think about if you feel some of it could be stemming from him being far ahead of the class academically. Is he bored? That isn't going to help.

MayDay -  I laughed out loud at your question because today my son literally yelled "boring!" and started loudly fake snoring. His teacher is an angel and told me that she knows his cognitive and emotional abilities are in very different places right and she knows this is what causes the acting out. Still, I'm having a really hard time teaching him to respect others - Just BECAUSE it is the right thing to do.

She also feels, and I agree, that while he can easily handle the work of a grade or two higher, he is not emotionally equipped to do so.


one piece at a time

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 05:33:43 PM »
Sign him up for gymnastics class and swimming lessons. Sucking out the energy should be the first priority.

His ability with some of the gross motor skills can also be of assistance in diagnosing other issues, so I'd start there.


jeninco

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 07:51:43 PM »
Sign him up for gymnastics class and swimming lessons. Sucking out the energy should be the first priority.

His ability with some of the gross motor skills can also be of assistance in diagnosing other issues, so I'd start there.

Yeah, I was going to suggest "take him out for some exercise every day". Before school, if necessary.

I view everyone in my house as being like a labrador retriever: if we get exercise every day, things generally are OK. If not, things go south pretty quickly. It's been true for my older kid since he was 3 or so. Getting a bit of the energy edge off really helps him be more settled.

waltworks

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 08:05:51 PM »
Pull him out and send him back to Kindergarden next year? It sounds like he's just not emotionally ready for school.

The lack of sleep is just weird. Normal for that age is 10-12 hours of sleep a night! A kid's dose of melatonin (available in gummy form) might be worth a shot. Only sleeping 6-7 hours isn't really healthy for an adult, let alone a 6 year old.

As an aside, why on earth are you having his reading abilities "tested"? There's no need for that unless there's an obvious deficiency. I do a ton of volunteer reading tutoring for elementary students and the #1 problem many of them have is that they have decided that reading is something you do *to please adults* (on tests) and so once you're done with that chore you do something else. Getting them to forget all about testing or grade levels is one of the biggest hurdles we face, because if they never enjoy it and do it on their own, their ceiling for ability is pretty low.

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MayDay

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 06:17:11 AM »
The thing about gifted kids is that delaying school is just going to make them further ahead and more bored, which will exacerbate the behavior.from my experience I'd suggest two things.

1. Walk or ride bikes to school every morning, ideally getting at least 30 minutes of exercise.

2. Figure out how to get harder academics. A lot of the behavior may resolve itself if his brain is busy. School districts tend to be super resistant to grade acceleration, because maturity!!!!!! But an immature kid often knows to sit down and shut up when you throw him in with older kids and harder material.

This could look like you coming in and teaching a gifted group yourself (I did that for a year because the school wasn't providing it), subject accelerating in his favorite subject, etc. Maybe they would be willing to try subject acceleration in a single subject as a trial. Tell him he can do 1st grade math until Christmas if he can behave, but if not he has to go back to K.

You could also ask for an OT evaluation. Sounds like he has a lot of sensory needs. Some "heavy work" throughout the day, like carrying the library books to the library, can give him a break and help him be ready to focus. Some schools also have kids come to the OT room for a five minute sensory break.
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jezebel

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 06:46:33 AM »
Pull him out and send him back to Kindergarden next year? It sounds like he's just not emotionally ready for school.

The lack of sleep is just weird. Normal for that age is 10-12 hours of sleep a night! A kid's dose of melatonin (available in gummy form) might be worth a shot. Only sleeping 6-7 hours isn't really healthy for an adult, let alone a 6 year old.

As an aside, why on earth are you having his reading abilities "tested"? There's no need for that unless there's an obvious deficiency. I do a ton of volunteer reading tutoring for elementary students and the #1 problem many of them have is that they have decided that reading is something you do *to please adults* (on tests) and so once you're done with that chore you do something else. Getting them to forget all about testing or grade levels is one of the biggest hurdles we face, because if they never enjoy it and do it on their own, their ceiling for ability is pretty low.

-W

What makes you think the parents are "having" him tested?  Reading assessments start regularly in public school in kindergarten.  I suppose they could request that he not be tested...

Freedomin5

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 07:06:39 AM »
Another good read is The Out of Sync Child.

Also, look up information on sensory diets or ADHD diets.

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 07:23:06 AM »
Pull him out and send him back to Kindergarden next year? It sounds like he's just not emotionally ready for school.

The lack of sleep is just weird. Normal for that age is 10-12 hours of sleep a night! A kid's dose of melatonin (available in gummy form) might be worth a shot. Only sleeping 6-7 hours isn't really healthy for an adult, let alone a 6 year old.

As an aside, why on earth are you having his reading abilities "tested"? There's no need for that unless there's an obvious deficiency. I do a ton of volunteer reading tutoring for elementary students and the #1 problem many of them have is that they have decided that reading is something you do *to please adults* (on tests) and so once you're done with that chore you do something else. Getting them to forget all about testing or grade levels is one of the biggest hurdles we face, because if they never enjoy it and do it on their own, their ceiling for ability is pretty low.

-W

I agree the sleep is weird but it has always been like that! Even when he was an infant he woke up 8-10 times a night and didn't nap regularly past 10 months or so. Paying for professional sleep training got us down to 4-5 wake ups a night which I considered a success. Now he goes to bed late and wakes up early and usually only wakes up once a night. His younger sister is very similar. I haven't actually slept through the night in over six years :)

Regarding the reading , @jezebel is correct- we aren't having him tested. His teacher just did his quarterly assessment (which I believe is a state requirement). So we hadn't taught him to read when he started K (but he did know his letters) but as of his teacher's conference in October they tested him up to 2nd grade books.

The only thing we've had him screened for is austism/spectrum disorders because his daycare was pretty insistent. But other than some sensory sensitivities and "he's smart" they told us that he is neurotypical.

I am loathe to pull him out of K because he is already one of the oldest in his class. We didn't red-shirt him, but he missed the cut off by about a week last year. He turned 6 five days after starting kindergarten and is already the biggest kid in his class. Holding him back another year would put him in the same class as his little sister (who makes the cut-off by a week).

Both of our pediatricians have been very anti-melatonin (something about early on-set of puberty or something) but I've been quite tempted for the last couple of years.

Thanks for all your thoughts! That is awesome that you volunteer with reading tutoring!
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 07:42:49 AM by StarBright »

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 07:35:23 AM »
The thing about gifted kids is that delaying school is just going to make them further ahead and more bored, which will exacerbate the behavior.from my experience I'd suggest two things.

1. Walk or ride bikes to school every morning, ideally getting at least 30 minutes of exercise.

2. Figure out how to get harder academics. A lot of the behavior may resolve itself if his brain is busy. School districts tend to be super resistant to grade acceleration, because maturity!!!!!! But an immature kid often knows to sit down and shut up when you throw him in with older kids and harder material.

This could look like you coming in and teaching a gifted group yourself (I did that for a year because the school wasn't providing it), subject accelerating in his favorite subject, etc. Maybe they would be willing to try subject acceleration in a single subject as a trial. Tell him he can do 1st grade math until Christmas if he can behave, but if not he has to go back to K.

You could also ask for an OT evaluation. Sounds like he has a lot of sensory needs. Some "heavy work" throughout the day, like carrying the library books to the library, can give him a break and help him be ready to focus. Some schools also have kids come to the OT room for a five minute sensory break.

Thanks for these thoughts!

1.We do actually walk about 3/4 of a mile to school every morning - but this morning I added in racing around the block. Hope that helps :)

2. This is definitely on the table. Apparently his teacher, a first grade teacher, a second grade teacher and the principal have all discussed whether or not he should be pulled to other classes throughout the day. Also- I would love to go in and do enrichment (especially since GT doesn't start until 5th grade in our district) but I work full time. My job is flexible enough that I'm able to walk him to and from school though.

An OT evaluation sounds like a really interesting idea - thanks!
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 08:13:06 AM by StarBright »

MayDay

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2017, 07:35:35 AM »
The more details you give, the more it screams gifted, needs harder academics.
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StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2017, 07:36:41 AM »
Another good read is The Out of Sync Child.

Also, look up information on sensory diets or ADHD diets.

Thank you- the book is now on my list!

We do try to be careful with diet (no red dye except special things like holidays) but other than that we haven't done anything too specific - I'll research a little further. Is there a specific one you recommend?

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2017, 07:44:54 AM »
Make sure that the school tests your son for their Gifted and Talented program.  In my district, parents have to officially request this.  Your child needs to be evaluated.  Going from no reading to second grade level in a few months certainly makes it sound like he is gifted.

If he's identified as gifted according to your district's rules, they will be required to accommodate him in some ways, although possibly not until first grade.   

Even so, the gifted accommodations may not be enough to keep your kid engaged.  We moved out of one district where the "gifted program" consisted of taking the kids out of "normal" class for an hour a week for an enrichment activity.  Our current district has a gifted/advanced class of kids which moves faster in regular work.  My kids were still bored, so I asked the teacher if I could provide workbooks for the kids.  When my son was bored in 2nd grade math, he could work in the 3rd grade workbook I gave him.  (He does math workbooks for fun.)  My daughter was allowed to draw or read when she finished her work or got bored with the lesson.

I talked to my kids a lot about not disrupting the class.  You get your "treats" (workbook/drawing time) IF you behave and follow the rules.  Yes, math is easy peasy for you, but not for your classmate, so you have to let the classmate pay attention and practice (this was mind-boggling to my son - he thought everyone could figure out math problems in their head just like he does).

If the teacher is comfortable handling him, keep him in her class.  If you're concerned about his behavior or how he handles his emotions, then definitely get him assessed by a therapist or psychologist.  They can let you know if there's anything you need to worry about.

Gifted kids can be challenging, but they also give you lots of opportunities to stretch.  My kids come up with awesome projects at home, and I really, really enjoy how their brains work.
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StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2017, 07:58:22 AM »
The more details you give, the more it screams gifted, needs harder academics.

Yeah - I suspect you are right. His teacher has a masters in gifted education and uses the word to describe him. But I know everyone hates it when someone calls their kids gifted :) I see a "your child in not gifted" article from my teacher friends posted on FB at least once a week.

I've really avoided using that terminology with my own children.

On the other hand - if the word helps give people tools to work with my children then I would think it is worthwhile.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 08:14:17 AM by StarBright »

MayDay

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2017, 08:04:34 AM »
That is where testing can help.

It is of course hard to know if your kid is just average but seems brilliant to you, bright but not exceptional, or really off the charts.

We've always known my son is gifted. My daughter gave off more of a "bright but not exceptional" vibe, so I didn't push as hard. But when I compared their actual test scores, she is scoring higher than he is! It gave me a lot of confidence to really advocate for her.
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StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2017, 08:08:35 AM »
Make sure that the school tests your son for their Gifted and Talented program.  In my district, parents have to officially request this.  Your child needs to be evaluated.  Going from no reading to second grade level in a few months certainly makes it sound like he is gifted.

If he's identified as gifted according to your district's rules, they will be required to accommodate him in some ways, although possibly not until first grade.   

Even so, the gifted accommodations may not be enough to keep your kid engaged.  We moved out of one district where the "gifted program" consisted of taking the kids out of "normal" class for an hour a week for an enrichment activity.  Our current district has a gifted/advanced class of kids which moves faster in regular work.  My kids were still bored, so I asked the teacher if I could provide workbooks for the kids.  When my son was bored in 2nd grade math, he could work in the 3rd grade workbook I gave him.  (He does math workbooks for fun.)  My daughter was allowed to draw or read when she finished her work or got bored with the lesson.

I talked to my kids a lot about not disrupting the class.  You get your "treats" (workbook/drawing time) IF you behave and follow the rules.  Yes, math is easy peasy for you, but not for your classmate, so you have to let the classmate pay attention and practice (this was mind-boggling to my son - he thought everyone could figure out math problems in their head just like he does).

If the teacher is comfortable handling him, keep him in her class.  If you're concerned about his behavior or how he handles his emotions, then definitely get him assessed by a therapist or psychologist.  They can let you know if there's anything you need to worry about.

Gifted kids can be challenging, but they also give you lots of opportunities to stretch.  My kids come up with awesome projects at home, and I really, really enjoy how their brains work.

Thanks @formerlydivorcedmom!  His district doesn't evaluate until fourth grade and then they split them out from fifth grade onwards.

I'm working on the above bolded with him A LOT right now. It doesn't seem to be taking yet as my son still assumes he is the center of the universe.

I do feel especially lucky that we ended up with the teacher he has and I'm inclined to leave him in her class because I think it is so rare to get a good fit in the first teacher. She has also already talked to me about how she's working with the administration to make sure he ends up with a good fit for first grade as well. I know how rare that is!

scantee

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2017, 08:09:20 AM »
Quote
Make sure that the school tests your son for their Gifted and Talented program.  In my district, parents have to officially request this.  Your child needs to be evaluated. Going from no reading to second grade level in a few months certainly makes it sound like he is gifted.

Just a note that this isn't true. Learning to read is a developmental process similar to (but not exactly like) learning to walk. Early reading isn't necessarily a sign of giftedness. That's not to say that your son isn't ahead on academics, but I would caution using his jump in reading as evidence of that.

Based on everything you've said, I think rather than focusing on academics you should devote your energy to getting him as much exercise and physical activity as possible. It really sounds like he is someone who needs intense physical activity to be rested and calm. Definitely look into an OT therapy. They will be able to help you think through the right kinds of exercise, when he should be getting it, and how much. Also note that some children with sensory disorders will do extreme physical sensation seeking as a calming mechanism so an evaluation for those disorders might be something you consider as well.

waltworks

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2017, 08:44:51 AM »
Can you pull him out half of the time (I am assuming it's full day kindergarden)? Intellectual rigor is great but kindergarden really has little/nothing to do with academics. It's supposed to be mostly fun/play and learning to socialize. If he can get a smaller dose of that, such that he can maintain his composure, and then go so something more exciting (hikes, climbing, bike rides, etc, I agree that he should be exercising a ton) for the rest of the day, I bet that would help.

I'm interested to hear more about melatonin side effects. My wife is a PhD biochemist and did quite a bit of research before concluding it was fine, but she'd love to see any studies you have. We don't even own a TV (no screen time for kids, basically ever), have a very good schedule set up, do baths, white noise, etc, etc - great sleep hygiene. Didn't matter, the kids slept horribly and felt awful. A super tiny dose of melatonin makes them sleep well and feel great (as far as I can tell) the whole day. So it has worked well for us.

I would be hesitant to skip any grades. I skipped a bunch and I can't say I recommend it. I really struggled to socialize, which caused me a ton of problems later (I ended up reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People" to figure it all out when I was in college). And I grew up convinced that being the "smartest" was the whole point of school - such that when I was finally in grad school with people who were just as smart or smarter (and I couldn't completely coast through), I didn't enjoy academics anymore and never really used my "gifts" for anything of note (I build custom bicycles part time and do a lot of volunteering in the schools/sports coaching - which are great things, but hardly intellectually tasking).

Anyway, good luck. I bet if you can solve the sleep problem many of the other problems will go away.

-W

Laura33

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2017, 09:39:41 AM »
First, start with the child psychologist.  I am surprised you have had him tested for autism but not ADHD, because that's what leapt off the page to me.  You could have been describing my kid -- extremely active, difficulty falling asleep and then staying asleep but up before the crack of dawn nevertheless, very bright, high difficulty sitting still, academic abilities a couple years ahead of her self-control, very impulsive, easily set off by loud noises/too-bright lights, distracted by tags/itchy clothes, etc.  We got her official ADHD diagnosis at about 8, but in retrospect it was clear from about 2 on if we'd known what to look for.  You have already read the best book (the one that got me through the terrible twos, which for her were 13 mos. to 3); I found 1-2-3 Magic to be a lifesaver by 4-5 yrs (because it forced us to act before we lost our temper, and boy did she pick up on our frustration even if we didn't say anything), but again, that won't help you so much with school.  The things that helped us: 

1.  Melatonin.  Kids cannot concentrate if they don't get enough sleep -- when you struggle to behave and stay on-task, it's hard enough when you've got a full belly and a solid night's sleep going for you; mess with any of those basics, and the cause is lost before you even had a chance.  Can you go back to your sleep specialist?  I've also heard Valerian is good but haven't tried it and don't know about side effects.

1.a.  Routines/rules for when she couldn't sleep.  I was very clear that she didn't have to be asleep, but she did have to be in her bed; if she couldn't sleep, she could turn her bedside light on and read.  I figure at least it was calm, quiet time (side benefit that both my kids are voracious readers thanks to that early habit)!

2.  As much running-around time outside as humanly possible before and after school.  Schools are cutting recess and gym, even for little kids, and the first line of punishment for misbehavior is to take away the little recess that is left (talk about foot-shooting!).  We chose a before- and after-care that threw the kids outside onto the playground for an hour before and after school.  Walking won't do it -- it's running around like a dog chasing a squirrel.  Kids like this have to exhaust themselves before they get to a point they can really maintain focus.  Also, outside is best by far, even in crappy weather.

3.  See if you can work with the teacher to implement some of the routines that work for you.  For my kid, the best year was the teacher who had two ADHD kids herself -- she had these dividers that the kids could set up to work so they couldn't be distracted by the kids around her, she always used DD to run errands to the office for her or help take attendance, she'd assign DD jobs like sweeping the floor or cleaning the blackboards, etc. -- basically, she'd look for the signs of an impending meltdown and then divert that building energy into something useful that made DD feel like she was being grown-up and useful.  Also, kids like this need to sit up front -- they have no filters, so all of the sounds from the classroom and movements from the other kids will pull their attention six ways from Sunday.  The only chance the teacher has is to be the loudest voice that drowns out all the others. 

4.  Find small rewards that can be incentives for specific behaviors you want.  Punishments don't work -- the kids already know they are different and "bad," and they are already frustrated as hell that they can't behave like a "good boy."  More punishment from home can cement that "I'm a bad kid" really, really quickly.  Also, target your goals very narrowly; "behave in class" is both far too vague a target and far too long a timeframe to work for this.  You need to reward specific skills/things you want the kid to learn how to do that will teach him better alternatives than melting down.  E.g., if he feels himself building toward losing it, he should raise his hand and ask the teacher if he may go to the bathroom (of course you need to tell the teacher about this plan first!!), and then jump up and down 50 times in the hallway on the way to/from the bathroom, so that he has a chance to distract himself and get that energy out.  Or whatever might work for your kid.  And any day that he does that behavior instead of melting down, he gets that treat (even if he melts down later -- you're not looking for perfection, you're looking to reinforce better habits, even when they don't immediately accomplish the desired end result).  Put the dots really, really close together so he can succeed right away, and then make the requirements harder as he gets the easy ones under his belt -- you can even ask him to help figure out what he feels like when he is about to lose it, and to then brainstorm with you what some alternatives are.  Anything can work, as long as it is inconsistent with melting down -- heck, there were times DD and I just sang incredibly silly songs, because you can't melt down when you're laughing.

5.  Whatever you do, love him, snuggle him, and reaffim that he is a GOOD BOY.  My DD ended up developing really bad anxiety and depression by the time we got her diagnosed, from just a few years of knowing she didn't fit in and not being able to meet the teachers' expectations and not really understanding why, and trying SO hard for so long, and still failing in the end, over and over again.  It still makes me tear up to think how badly I failed her by not acting quickly enough, by seeing it as "behavior" that needed to be managed vs. how she was wired and something that I needed to teach her to work with -- that I and all her teachers were basically asking someone who is nearsighted to read the chalkboard from the far side of the room.

In the end, you might need to get an IEP to have the school work with the psychologist to get a formal plan in place.  Or you might need to move him to private school (note:  I would look for one where teachers are trained in these kinds of tactics and have smaller classes; some of the ones near us are really academic drill academy types that would be even worse for a kid like that).  And if necessary, there are a variety of medications.  But it's way, way too early to jump to any of that.  Start with the psychologist and by working with the teacher.  See if you can find patterns that set him off (like our post-school meltdowns), and then look for behaviors/distractions/alternatives that help him avoid the meltdown or calm down quickly when he does lose it (for DD, the soothing was rubbing her leg -- I always used to rub her leg to soothe her, and then she started doing that herself when she was upset).  I bet you already know what many of those things are given your years of experience in figuring out your kid; all you need to do is figure out how to translate those to the classroom.
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PoutineLover

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2017, 10:07:01 AM »
I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult in university, and it helped me understand some of my issues in school when I was younger. I was so easily distracted and the work was way too easy for me, so I would talk to other kids, and fidget, and read books under my desk. I also read at a much higher grade than my age and was always around the top of my class, but my school didn't have a gifted program. Not sure if I have any advice, but it's good that you are trying to figure this out now because I feel like some sort of diagnosis and program earlier in my life would have helped me a ton.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2017, 10:58:02 AM »
This sounds like my DD. High energy, socially aware of everyone, wakes up earlier, cranky and becomes violent when not properly fed. Kindergartens have three choices for lunch A, B, or C; one day she choose C and had to wait at the back of the line, now she always choices A, no matter what, just so she can be in the front. Learns and finishes her work very quickly, if we pushed her a little more I am sure she could advance a grade, just not sure she could handle it. She wakes up at 6 am, but that is because we don't let her get out of bed before then. As her teacher says "she's a leader", hey, it is easy to follow the rules when you make them, right?

Four things that are effective for her, and I am sure for all kids.

1. Lots of playing, in the evening, outside, to the tune of 2-3 hours of running around until beat read and sweaty. When they are inside they are only allowed to wrestle with me, otherwise no horse play.

2. Regular meals and snacks; especially at night, stuff 'em. We do lots of protein in the morning and cereal at night. Best way to get a kid at any age to sleep well at night is on a full belly.

3. They are in bed at 8:30ish depending on how reading time is going and no one is up until 6, when they might snuggle a bit, but then up by 6;30.

4. Behavior and discipline, this is all on you. No running or horseplay inside will resonate to no horseplay or high energy inside the classroom also. At his age he should know what is allowed and not allowed to do, and just a quiet reminder is all that is typically needed, but if he seems wrapped up in the moment then timeouts are good for helping them maintain self control. Talk to your kids on the way to school, how to have conflict resolution, "stop, please" if that doesn't work tell the teacher, etc.

Anywho, this seems to be working for us. Hope it works out.

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2017, 11:17:12 AM »
@Laura33 - that is so interesting! ADHD has never been brought up by anyone. I think it is because he hasn't historically had issues concentrating or following directions (directions like - "now write as many numbers as you can" . . . Directions like "please keep your hands to yourself" he has much more trouble with). As opposed to not finishing work due to distraction, his problem tends to run into the other direction of trying to get it perfect.

But otherwise crazy how all the things you describe about your daughter totally fit my son as well. I will do some reading on ADHD.

I am honestly not sure why the daycare was insistent on the Asperger's thing - other than he is super detailed oriented and being in a large crowd stresses him out -  but we had to agree to have him screened to keep him in the facility.

Also 1-2-3 Magic did not work at all for us! But Spirited Child tactics work quite well.

I like the idea of having him sit in front of the room. Right now the teacher has him at the back because she has standing desks/yoga balls in the back. But I'll ask about moving him towards the front.

Your #5 is my biggest fear. He came out of pre-school already dreading going to K. My highly/exceptionally gifted sibling dealt with awful anxiety and OCD (originally misdiagnosed as ADHD) growing up and barely got through high school and now really struggles in adulthood as well (though some of that was definitely environmental). I think that is why I'm anxious about doing something about this now - I want my amazing l'il boy to just be happy and enjoy being a little boy.

sjc0816

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2017, 12:08:06 PM »
To me, this screams of sleep deprivation. When my 6th grader was in kindergarten, he was in bed asleep at 6:30pm every night. Friday nights, after a week of school he would be sleeping at 5:30pm. That may sound drastic, but he was an early riser.....so in order for him to be rested, he had to go to sleep early.

I think parents grossly underestimate the amount of sleep that kids need. In most cases, an earlier bedtime is the answer....even if it takes a few weeks to adjust.  Some kids do fine on less sleep - but this is not the case for your son. 8:30pm is not an early bedtime for a kindergartner.

I agree that some kids misbehave out of boredom....but your son seems to have serious impulse control problems (shouting out "boring" at the teacher...etc).  Impulsiveness and ADHD-type behavior are very common in sleep deprived children.

I would start with sleep. Kids need basic needs met to thrive in school...sleep being one of them.


jezebel

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2017, 12:16:32 PM »
I can relate to a lot of how you are describing your son.  We have a bright 7 year old (reading at 6th grade level at the end of first grade who now occasionally reads my grad school textbook and ask questions about it) who started exhibiting serious attention issues in the first grade.  We have put off getting ADHD/ADD testing and have our first meeting with the 2nd grade teacher this week.  Repeated concerns seem to be attention, following/remembering directions, very easily distracted, being bored, and distracting other students.  I never thought about sleep deprivation but even with a 6AM rise and lots of activity, our child has a very hard time sleeping before 8:30 pm.

jeninco

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2017, 12:44:03 PM »
Another book recommendation: How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (and the other books by Faber and Mazlish).  Really strong on providing feedback to help your kid begin to sort some of this out for himself. (Spoiler: lots of good parental feedback consists of "Hmm... ")

trollwithamustache

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2017, 12:49:16 PM »
If you are serious about private school, check out the schedules.  Our local catholic school has a much longer school day than the public schools because they have  two (instead of 1) longer recesses and a full hour lunch/play time. Its a schedule that feels quite a bit more realistic for energetic kids when the state says need minimum of X hours of butt-in-seat education time.

and yeah, as others have noted sleep can have a huge effect on everything.  To this day, our oldest would never admit to being tired no matter what. Never Ever.

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2017, 01:25:32 PM »
To me, this screams of sleep deprivation. When my 6th grader was in kindergarten, he was in bed asleep at 6:30pm every night. Friday nights, after a week of school he would be sleeping at 5:30pm. That may sound drastic, but he was an early riser.....so in order for him to be rested, he had to go to sleep early.

I think parents grossly underestimate the amount of sleep that kids need. In most cases, an earlier bedtime is the answer....even if it takes a few weeks to adjust.  Some kids do fine on less sleep - but this is not the case for your son. 8:30pm is not an early bedtime for a kindergartner.

I agree that some kids misbehave out of boredom....but your son seems to have serious impulse control problems (shouting out "boring" at the teacher...etc).  Impulsiveness and ADHD-type behavior are very common in sleep deprived children.

I would start with sleep. Kids need basic needs met to thrive in school...sleep being one of them.

I do believe that sleep deprivation might be an issue but we have been trying our hardest on this for 6 years - including paying for a sleep specialist when he was two and three :)

I would love to attempt a 6:30 bed time (my SIL used to do that with my nephews) but short of skipping dinner or quitting my job I'm not entirely sure how to accomplish it. We get home from picking up little-sis at daycare about 6pm, then eat dinner, then spend the next several hours "going to bed."

What does your sleep routine look like with your kids? I'd love to pick up some new pointers! Thanks


9patch

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2017, 01:32:00 PM »
If you think he is bright, have you ever had cognitive testing done? When my son was tested, he had a 40 point gap between his lowest and his highest sub-score. I always think that knowledge is power, so if you know where he's weak and strong, you can help him better.

waltworks

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2017, 01:49:48 PM »
That schedule is not good for small kids. Can you go in to work early and leave early? Are both kids in daycare or school basically all day? That's rough, especially if school is already stressful/hard for him.

-W


sjc0816

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2017, 01:59:35 PM »
To me, this screams of sleep deprivation. When my 6th grader was in kindergarten, he was in bed asleep at 6:30pm every night. Friday nights, after a week of school he would be sleeping at 5:30pm. That may sound drastic, but he was an early riser.....so in order for him to be rested, he had to go to sleep early.

I think parents grossly underestimate the amount of sleep that kids need. In most cases, an earlier bedtime is the answer....even if it takes a few weeks to adjust.  Some kids do fine on less sleep - but this is not the case for your son. 8:30pm is not an early bedtime for a kindergartner.

I agree that some kids misbehave out of boredom....but your son seems to have serious impulse control problems (shouting out "boring" at the teacher...etc).  Impulsiveness and ADHD-type behavior are very common in sleep deprived children.

I would start with sleep. Kids need basic needs met to thrive in school...sleep being one of them.

I do believe that sleep deprivation might be an issue but we have been trying our hardest on this for 6 years - including paying for a sleep specialist when he was two and three :)

I would love to attempt a 6:30 bed time (my SIL used to do that with my nephews) but short of skipping dinner or quitting my job I'm not entirely sure how to accomplish it. We get home from picking up little-sis at daycare about 6pm, then eat dinner, then spend the next several hours "going to bed."

What does your sleep routine look like with your kids? I'd love to pick up some new pointers! Thanks

Of course I completely understand your work schedule makes it more challenging. I work part-time from home and my husband has a flex schedule that has him home typically by 4:30pm. My kids go to sleep later now that they are older....but we lived and died by my son's sleep schedule once he was in school all day...knowing how taxing it is. Trust me, I know there are a lot of nay-sayers out there that would tell us we shouldn't revolve our lives around our kids - but for a couple of years we just did. And it was really no big deal. I miss those quiet nights at home now with middle school activities every night!

So when my son was in Kinder.....the bus brought him home at 4:30pm. Dinner was at 5pm. Bath after dinner (always....to relax and get in bedtime mode). Jammies and books at 6pm and lights out at 6:30pm.

If your son is used to going to bed between 9-11pm it probably won't work to make a drastic switch...but I'd shoot to have dinner at 6:30pm...lights out at 7:30pm or 8pm at the latest.  I'd try a consistent routine and bedtime for at least a few weeks before throwing in the towel. I'd also try things like white noise, black-out curtains, etc....to encourage quality sleep.

Just some suggestions. I know you can't force a kid to sleep.....so it might seem futile. But I'd try really hard before going down the ADHD road.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2017, 02:03:34 PM »
My son is younger than yours but we have had a lot of success with this book, he falls asleep every time! https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0399554130/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510693159&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=the+rabbit+who+wants+to+fall+asleep+book&dpPl=1&dpID=51a67t8NFAL&ref=plSrch

How much time do you spend in his room after he is in his bed? Maybe he is missing you, and is resisting bedtime because he wants more quality time? Reading a story like this might help. Maybe you could offer a special snack like a banana in bed? That accomplishes the goal on filling his belly and gives him something to look forward to.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 02:05:27 PM by Millennialworkerbee »

hoping2retire35

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2017, 02:24:12 PM »
To me, this screams of sleep deprivation. When my 6th grader was in kindergarten, he was in bed asleep at 6:30pm every night. Friday nights, after a week of school he would be sleeping at 5:30pm. That may sound drastic, but he was an early riser.....so in order for him to be rested, he had to go to sleep early.

I think parents grossly underestimate the amount of sleep that kids need. In most cases, an earlier bedtime is the answer....even if it takes a few weeks to adjust.  Some kids do fine on less sleep - but this is not the case for your son. 8:30pm is not an early bedtime for a kindergartner.

I agree that some kids misbehave out of boredom....but your son seems to have serious impulse control problems (shouting out "boring" at the teacher...etc).  Impulsiveness and ADHD-type behavior are very common in sleep deprived children.

I would start with sleep. Kids need basic needs met to thrive in school...sleep being one of them.

I do believe that sleep deprivation might be an issue but we have been trying our hardest on this for 6 years - including paying for a sleep specialist when he was two and three :)

I would love to attempt a 6:30 bed time (my SIL used to do that with my nephews) but short of skipping dinner or quitting my job I'm not entirely sure how to accomplish it. We get home from picking up little-sis at daycare about 6pm, then eat dinner, then spend the next several hours "going to bed."

What does your sleep routine look like with your kids? I'd love to pick up some new pointers! Thanks

look at my reply 25, specifically #1 & 2. As soon as you get home run him the whole time, chase with threats of tickling, "get you", a bike, hamster wheel, whatever it takes. After a while he'll get tired and want to sit on your lap. stuff him with cereal while reading to him. then bed time. Whole thing from pulling in the driveway to in bed should be 1.5-2hours if you really strategize.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2017, 02:36:09 PM »
He sounds a lot like my brother. 
My brother is highly intelligent and very energetic.  He didn't need much sleep ever.  To get him to go to sleep my mom would literally hold him down.  He thought he was getting a back rub.  He would fall asleep pretty quickly if he had had enough fresh air and exercise and wasn't popping his head up.
His bouncy energy was enjoyed by my mom, although it drove me nuts. 
My mom was trained as a teacher so she made a number of modifications to his day so that he was teachable when he was at school.  We grew up on a farm so being out doing chores before school was not odd.  My mom made sure that my brother was run well before getting on the school bus.  After school it was outside until dinner. 
Another thing that my mom did was put him in French Immersion.  That put a twist into his world because he certainly couldn't speak French immediately but being eager to please he quickly learned to translate his thoughts first before blurting them out at school and that actually helped with some impulse control. Fortunately for his teachers, he was an avid reader.  He would fly through his work and then could read whatever.  We had library books every week - no limit. He had a pile of them in his desk at school that he could just pull out and disappear into.  Most of the time they were comics such as Tintin and Asterix and in French

She encouraged him to recite poems and plays that he had read.  He can still recite long sections of Winnie-the-Pooh and Tolkien.  He wasn't much into competitive sports but his friends with similar energy levels were playing hockey or swimming for 90 minutes before or after school to take a little bounce of out of the tigger. 

Sounds like your life is super busy.  Is his after school care outside?  The care at our local school is entirely outside unless it is raining. 

I would recommend filling his bedroom with books that have lots of photos along with writing - the whole DK eyewitness series is great for early reading boys.  They have a long 'read' value.  The other strategy that we have / had for bedtime is a multistory CD from Barefoot books.  My daughter still falls asleep to the horse tales every single night.  It is a 55 minute CD.  The repeating of the same stories is the key.  A kind of boring oneself to sleep.

Private school is a lot of money.  And the reality is that a some point in time your child will have to actively participate in a world that is made up with all different types of people and he will have to self regulate in whatever situation he finds himself in.

I also think it is really important to not label rambunctious behaviour as bad.  Bad behaviour is being unkind or hurting people.  Not complying with social behaviour norms is just that.  If your child is smart you can have these types of discussions about expectations.  And about how other kids need more time to think about things.  And that the teacher needs more time to tell them about things. 

The sadness and frustration sounds to me like your son senses that he is not meeting expectations.  Everyone likes to do well.  I have found that 6 year old boys are a lot like border collies - they need to run, they want to do something and they love to please.

Our school has a body break room that kids can go to when they need to be a tigger for a bit.  And other kids that need quiet have a corner of the library for their break from over-stimulus.

Hopefully the school will work with you to have places that meet your sons needs.  I think the extra helper jobs is a great idea.  Being a big kid he could help mop the floor after outside time and make sure all the shoes/boots are paired up and coats are hung up.  Maybe after eating he could be the sweeper or the table wiper to give him more purpose.

Seeing the possibilities

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2017, 02:39:18 PM »

If your son is used to going to bed between 9-11pm it probably won't work to make a drastic switch...but I'd shoot to have dinner at 6:30pm...lights out at 7:30pm or 8pm at the latest.  I'd try a consistent routine and bedtime for at least a few weeks before throwing in the towel. I'd also try things like white noise, black-out curtains, etc....to encourage quality sleep.

Just some suggestions. I know you can't force a kid to sleep.....so it might seem futile. But I'd try really hard before going down the ADHD road.

hmm- the bolded is exactly what we already do in our current bed time routine - it just takes my son hours to fall asleep (which is where the 9-11 comes from). Also do white noise and black out curtains too.

I wonder if I simplify dinner if I can get to lights out closer to 7:30 than 8.

We don't usually eat cereal (because of sugar and additives and neither of my kids will eat plain cheerios) but I do like hoping2retire35's suggestion of stuffing them with carbs until drowsiness hits :)

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2017, 02:44:19 PM »


look at my reply 25, specifically #1 & 2. As soon as you get home run him the whole time, chase with threats of tickling, "get you", a bike, hamster wheel, whatever it takes. After a while he'll get tired and want to sit on your lap. stuff him with cereal while reading to him. then bed time. Whole thing from pulling in the driveway to in bed should be 1.5-2hours if you really strategize.

We usually get good outside play time between 3:40 and 4:30 but I will try and stretch that time in the coming weeks and see if it helps- thanks!

sjc0816

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2017, 02:45:49 PM »

If your son is used to going to bed between 9-11pm it probably won't work to make a drastic switch...but I'd shoot to have dinner at 6:30pm...lights out at 7:30pm or 8pm at the latest.  I'd try a consistent routine and bedtime for at least a few weeks before throwing in the towel. I'd also try things like white noise, black-out curtains, etc....to encourage quality sleep.

Just some suggestions. I know you can't force a kid to sleep.....so it might seem futile. But I'd try really hard before going down the ADHD road.

hmm- the bolded is exactly what we already do in our current bed time routine - it just takes my son hours to fall asleep (which is where the 9-11 comes from). Also do white noise and black out curtains too.

I wonder if I simplify dinner if I can get to lights out closer to 7:30 than 8.

We don't usually eat cereal (because of sugar and additives and neither of my kids will eat plain cheerios) but I do like hoping2retire35's suggestion of stuffing them with carbs until drowsiness hits :)

What is he doing during the three hour "go to sleep" period? Does he refuse to lie down? Does he fall asleep and wake back up?

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2017, 03:01:37 PM »
So many wonderful responses! - Thank you - will try to address them each later.

Cranky

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2017, 05:03:21 PM »
Private school has no magic wand, trust me. And the correlation between gifted ness and being bored and bad behavior is not so strong as people fondly believe.

But I do agree that this yells ADHD to me, so I’d have that evaluated first, and add in as much vigorous physical exercise and as little screen time as you can possibly manage.

Cassie

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2017, 05:23:53 PM »
Your description screamed ADHD to me too. My close friend had a son that was like this and the public school could not deal with him.  They actually put him into a private school with smaller classes and he did fine. They also went to a therapist that taught the parents and child a reward system to use at home to  help with behavior.

waltworks

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2017, 06:37:23 PM »
Private school has no magic wand, trust me. And the correlation between gifted ness and being bored and bad behavior is not so strong as people fondly believe.

But I do agree that this yells ADHD to me, so I’d have that evaluated first, and add in as much vigorous physical exercise and as little screen time as you can possibly manage.

I will echo both of these things.

Smart kids tend to invent their own challenges at school, not yawn and talk about how bored they are. That sounds more like an attention/sleep problem to me.

And get rid of your TV(s) if you have any. Now. Donate them, throw them in the dumpster, whatever. For a kid like yours, TV and computers are going to be a big problem if they're constantly available. Having no TV will improve life for everyone else in the family as well, probably.

-W

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2017, 07:16:46 PM »
My son is younger than yours but we have had a lot of success with this book, he falls asleep every time! https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0399554130/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510693159&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=the+rabbit+who+wants+to+fall+asleep+book&dpPl=1&dpID=51a67t8NFAL&ref=plSrch

How much time do you spend in his room after he is in his bed? Maybe he is missing you, and is resisting bedtime because he wants more quality time? Reading a story like this might help. Maybe you could offer a special snack like a banana in bed? That accomplishes the goal on filling his belly and gives him something to look forward to.

We have that book! I'll drag it back out again - thanks for the reminder.


Sign him up for gymnastics class and swimming lessons. Sucking out the energy should be the first priority.

His ability with some of the gross motor skills can also be of assistance in diagnosing other issues, so I'd start there.

I need to look into individual lessons for this for sure. We've tried classes and they don't seem to work. He gets really shy and won't participate. He did really well in karate for a few weeks but then got self-conscious and stopped participating.

Can you pull him out half of the time (I am assuming it's full day kindergarden)?
That schedule is not good for small kids. Can you go in to work early and leave early? Are both kids in daycare or school basically all day? That's rough, especially if school is already stressful/hard for him.
-W

My job is already being pretty flexible with my schedule so I can't really drop him down to half day and I work from home (but tied to an office schedule) so I can't adjust much more than I'm already doing it without putting him in aftercare.

Our daily schedule is as follows (maybe this will help folks give me ideas :)):
I try to get in an hour of work (or coffee and meditating) before the day "Starts", do kids stuff, breakfast, getting ready etc with them from 6-8:30 (Son must stay in his room until 6 am). Walk son to school from 8:30-9:00. DH takes daughter to daycare at 9am. I pick up son from kinder and do outdoor playtime from 3:30-4:30 and then need to be back home and available for phone calls from 4:30-5:30 (this is when son does his school work and usually craft time). We leave to pick up daughter from daycare at 5:30, get home a little after 6. Dinner is at 6:30 and after we clean up from that we get ready for bed. Once kids are down DH and I finish cleaning up and each do another hour or two of work then go to bed. Daughter usually wakes up  around 11pm so I wait for that before I go to bed. Son wakes up around 2 am to come and talk with us- DH usually gets him back to sleep.

Also, related to another question that you asked- we are not a big TV family. We watch a family movie on Friday nights and usually let the kids watch a couple of hours over the weekend (because otherwise we'd get nothing done). But we have a strict no tv on weeknights rule for the whole family.

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2017, 07:28:28 PM »
I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult in university, and it helped me understand some of my issues in school when I was younger. I was so easily distracted and the work was way too easy for me, so I would talk to other kids, and fidget, and read books under my desk. I also read at a much higher grade than my age and was always around the top of my class, but my school didn't have a gifted program. Not sure if I have any advice, but it's good that you are trying to figure this out now because I feel like some sort of diagnosis and program earlier in my life would have helped me a ton.

Thanks - this makes me feel that I'm not over reacting.

I can relate to a lot of how you are describing your son.  We have a bright 7 year old (reading at 6th grade level at the end of first grade who now occasionally reads my grad school textbook and ask questions about it) who started exhibiting serious attention issues in the first grade.  We have put off getting ADHD/ADD testing and have our first meeting with the 2nd grade teacher this week.  Repeated concerns seem to be attention, following/remembering directions, very easily distracted, being bored, and distracting other students.  I never thought about sleep deprivation but even with a 6AM rise and lots of activity, our child has a very hard time sleeping before 8:30 pm.

If sleep and behavior improve I'll let you know. Please let me know if it works for you and also good luck with your meeting!

Another book recommendation: How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (and the other books by Faber and Mazlish).  Really strong on providing feedback to help your kid begin to sort some of this out for himself. (Spoiler: lots of good parental feedback consists of "Hmm... ")
Added to my list for a re-read. It has been a while since I picked it up.

If you are serious about private school, check out the schedules.  Our local catholic school has a much longer school day than the public schools because they have  two (instead of 1) longer recesses and a full hour lunch/play time. Its a schedule that feels quite a bit more realistic for energetic kids when the state says need minimum of X hours of butt-in-seat education time.

and yeah, as others have noted sleep can have a huge effect on everything.  To this day, our oldest would never admit to being tired no matter what. Never Ever.

Great point - thanks!

If you think he is bright, have you ever had cognitive testing done? When my son was tested, he had a 40 point gap between his lowest and his highest sub-score. I always think that knowledge is power, so if you know where he's weak and strong, you can help him better.

We haven't had any testing done. My understanding has been that testing so young is not particularly helpful. We figured our kids would be brighter than average since everyone in both of our families (at least us and all of our siblings) has tested in the range of gifted to exceptionally gifted and intelligence is at least partially genetic. I've never really understood the point of testing, but your response and others in this thread are pointing out the value. I'm rethinking my stance on testing.

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2017, 07:37:49 PM »
@Frugallizard- of all the posts yours sounds the most like my son, even to the point of holding him down being helpful in his falling asleep. The idea of a language immersion program is also very intriguing to me! There isn't one offered in our district.

Per your question - he doesn't go to aftercare. He comes home with me and gets an hour of active playtime and an hour of school/craft time. He is an exceptional artist and will happily draw all day if I let him (this is not me being a "proud mom" - his fine motor skills and ability to use pencils and various types of paints are way beyond the typical skill level of a six year old.) I love the idea of memorizing poetry too! He and I spend our reading time doing a lot of Shell Silverstein and i bet he would have fun trying memorize some of the longer ones.

His teacher told me today that she is trying to find an aide to take him to their "sensory break room" on Monday afternoons because this is when he seems to hit his trigger point. So your point was right on!

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2017, 07:45:26 PM »

If your son is used to going to bed between 9-11pm it probably won't work to make a drastic switch...but I'd shoot to have dinner at 6:30pm...lights out at 7:30pm or 8pm at the latest.  I'd try a consistent routine and bedtime for at least a few weeks before throwing in the towel. I'd also try things like white noise, black-out curtains, etc....to encourage quality sleep.

Just some suggestions. I know you can't force a kid to sleep.....so it might seem futile. But I'd try really hard before going down the ADHD road.

hmm- the bolded is exactly what we already do in our current bed time routine - it just takes my son hours to fall asleep (which is where the 9-11 comes from). Also do white noise and black out curtains too.

I wonder if I simplify dinner if I can get to lights out closer to 7:30 than 8.

We don't usually eat cereal (because of sugar and additives and neither of my kids will eat plain cheerios) but I do like hoping2retire35's suggestion of stuffing them with carbs until drowsiness hits :)

What is he doing during the three hour "go to sleep" period? Does he refuse to lie down? Does he fall asleep and wake back up?

He lies down when he is supposed to. I usually try to stay with him for about an hour because leaving too soon causes intense emotion in addition to trouble falling asleep. He likes to tell me stories about his day, Often telling me a true story and a made up story and asks me which is the real one, he asks me questions about whatever is on his mind (tonight it was "Will the sun go supernova in my lifetime?" and "what happens if there is a black hole close to earth?"). Once I leave I usually hear him making up songs and poems, sometimes I hear him acting out stories with his snuggly toys, stuff like that.

Everyone else - I have heard your ADHD suggestions loud and clear. I even brought it up with his teacher tonight when she called and she said she doesn't feel that it is an issue but I will start to educate myself on it in case I need to advocate for testing in the future.

I think I hit everyone's responses - thank you guys. You've given me so much to digest.

So I'm sort of hearing private school as a last resort, and definitely look into testing and perhaps some therapy - but leave him in his class for now.

Laura33

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2017, 08:05:58 PM »
Sounds like you already have a good schedule, so just some suggested tweaks given what you’ve written:

If your DS is up before 6 naturally, can you go with that and work on running around/playing/exercising/getting out with him beforehand school starts?  Sounds like he needs more time to get the wiggles out before he starts his day; whether that is early AM swim/hockey practice or just going for a “run” with mom, some hard early morning activity may help.* Not to deprive you of your meditation/work time, but maybe you can reclaim that later at night if you succeed in getting him to sleep earlier?

I like your playtime right after he gets home.  Make sure this is “running him ragged” time — frisbee and playing catch are awesome, because you can conveniently miss and require him to chase it.  ;-)

Can you give him a big snack right before you go get your daughter, and treat that as his main dinner?  Or have something ready to go within 5 minutes of walking through the door?  Honestly, the biggest thing we had to adjust to when ours were little was that bedtime ruled all, which means that the kids ate dinner around 5:30 — even if that meant they had peanut butter and a banana or a box of Mac and cheese, and the grownups are real food after they went to bed.  Do not delay in getting them fed!  Sometimes eating too close to bedtime can cause upset tummies that can interfere with getting to sleep.  And then move directly on to bedtime — they can help bring the dishes to the sink, but leave all the cleanup until after bedtime (or do like we did, and have one parent do bath time while the other does cleanup).

And speaking of baths, does your DS find baths calming, or do they amp him up?  We were in the latter category and so really stayed away from bedtime baths (if your DS is in that category, maybe use that early morning time to bathe?); otoh, if your kid is one who finds it soothing, definitely schedule a good bath time, maybe with some relaxing scents in the bathwater.  And then lots of snuggle and back rubs and such — you don’t want a lot of stories or talking or interaction, you just want comfort and physical calming.  Even if it means getting him in bed, turning out the lights, and then just rubbing his back for a good long time to help him learn to relax himself. 

I just caught your most recent post, so let me emphasize again:  once he is in bed and the story(ies) is/are done, there is to be NO talking, no answering questions, no interaction at all — just “shhhhhh” and rubbing his back and stroking his hair.  Of course he is going to want to stay awake if he can be interacting with mommy one on one, and she is listening to his stories and laughing when he is silly — I mean, come on, for a little kid, that is as good as it gets!!  You need to transition from a source of attention to a source of comfort and relaxation.  Your only job is to help him get sleepier and sleepier, and every word you say after tucking him in just takes you farther away from that goal.

So, in short, earlier wake up, with immediate activity and exciting things to get him going and revved up.  Followed by earlier dinner (with much lower standards for what qualifies as “dinner”), followed by the most calming collection of things you can do over the next hour — maybe bath, warm drink, snuggle and story, low lights, soft sounds (maybe you sing a lullaby to him or have soft music on).  And then in bed (I’d target 7), and you then switch off and are nothing more than a quiet presence help him wind down.

Good luck — you are already doing so many things right!  Some kids are just a lot tougher than others.

*I totally cringe as I say this, because DD was a total lark, and I am a complete owl, and it was all I could do to survive the 5am wakeups without throttling her. 
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy