Author Topic: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?  (Read 4365 times)

PharmaStache

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #50 on: November 14, 2017, 08:18:19 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've read about half of it so far and would recommend it to others.  It talks about a lot of ideas I've never heard of before and gives practical solutions.  It also touches on spiritedness vs adhd.

Freedomin5

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #51 on: November 14, 2017, 08:39:23 PM »
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?

The Out of Sync Child is in the pediatric occupational therapy realm (sensory processing, sensory sensitivities, etc.) -- it's a very popular book in that field.


ADHD diets are kind of on the cusp of what is considered "acceptably empirically-validated" in ADHD research -- it's still pretty controversial. However, I've had several parents tell me they noticed a marked difference in their child (most of whom were diagnosed with ADHD and/or behavioral/emotional regulation difficulties) once they cut out certain foods. Some of these included sugar (e.g., sugary breakfast cereals, cake/donuts, fruit juice, etc.), processed carbohydrates (white bread, noodles, rice, pasta), gluten, eggs, etc. (not all of them were eliminated for every kid I worked with). In addition, many parents give their kids Omega-3 / fish oil supplements. From my perspective, tailoring a diet that still includes all of the necessary nutrients for the child to grow and develop healthily, that may benefit the child and won't harm the child, is worth trying.

I would start with the common/well-known sites for ADD/ADHD, such as:

https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-diet-nutrition-sugar/
http://www.add-treatment.com/adhd-diet.html
https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/adhd-and-diet-what-you-need-to-know

I'd also try books such as:

The ADD & ADHD Diet: A Comprehensive Look at Contributing Factors and Natural Treatments for Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity

ADHD Diet for Children: Recipes and Diet to Help Your Child Focus, Perform Better at School, and Overcome ADHD for Life

Because this is not a well-researched area, you may want to read several and kind of glean the common elements from them. For example, pretty much every book will talk about processed sugars or food allergies contributing to behavioral dysregulation.

Anecdotally, I've worked with several kids with diagnoses of ADHD, and there is sometimes a MARKED difference within half an hour of ingesting a sugary/carby substance. How do I know this? We have free hot chocolate, crackers, and apple juice where I work, and the kids often take a break to get themselves a snack. For some of these kids, behaviorally, they start Bouncing Off the Walls within 15-30 minutes of their snack time -- they talk more, talk faster and louder, have trouble sitting still, and have more difficulty managing their behaviors. In other kids with ADHD diagnoses, there is absolutely no change in behavior.

In my own neurotypical preschooler, I can see a definite change in her behavior when I feed her cake or sweets in the afternoon. If I give her cake/cookies/sweets, even watered down fruit juice, after 12:00 noon, she will be more whiny and emotional, and will typically have a harder time falling asleep at night even though she's tired.

gooki

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #52 on: November 15, 2017, 02:04:40 AM »
Buy a stand up desk for him and the school.
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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #53 on: November 15, 2017, 05:17:50 AM »
I'm a big advocate for physical activity for kids, preferably outdoors as much as possible.  (I recommend reading "Last Child in the Woods.") If they aren't falling asleep in the car on the way home from school and passing out at bedtime, they are (imho) by definition not getting enough exercise.  How much recess time/physical activity does your child get at school?  Is your child participating in physically demanding activities during recess?  Walking to school in the morning and an hour in the evening may seem like a lot to you, but when kids play together, it can (and should be) full throttle for hours.  How are your child's weekend physical activity levels?  Are his sleep patterns different over the weekend?

Does your child socialize well with other kids in the class?  It is clear that your kid is bright, and while bright kids need to be academically challenged, learning social skills is just as important in early school years.  You noted in a previous post that he can be shy and won't participate in group activities like karate.  I wonder if this might be related to some of his behaviors in school.  You might ask his teacher for her views on his relationships with the other kids. 

My own recommendation would be to try to schedule afternoon and weekend playdates with other kids of his age as often and for as long as possible.  Sports or formal activities can be good, too, if your son will participate.  If he is uninterested in socializing with kids in his class, perhaps you can schedule playdates with kids from other circles.  The kids can wear each other out and socialize as well.  A lot of exercise should stoke his appetite and help his sleep (like other posters, I wonder if he is also sleep deprived). 

My child attends private school.  One of the things I like about her schools is that they have emphasized both physical activity and developing social skills more than public schools.  Great teacher/student ratios allow the teachers time to help kids develop social skills.  That said, it sounds like you already have a great and caring teacher in your public school.  I wouldn't walk away from that. 




 

MayDay

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #54 on: November 15, 2017, 06:55:20 AM »
Have you tried guided meditation? We find them intermittently helpful, but it is free and easy to try. Tons on YouTube.

Some kids just need less sleep. There is a tendency to assume sleep will solve all the problems, but the fact that he wakes on his own suggests to me that maybe he is just one of those kids who doesn't need as much.

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formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2017, 09:30:05 AM »
My son loves those kinds of stories too.  We don't get to do them in bed.  He has a max of 10 minutes of me sitting on his bed and cuddling and chatting.  We time it on the clock.

Instead, most days we did cuddle time on the couch or in the recliner starting 20-30 minutes before bedtime.  One of us would read the other a book, we'd tell stories and chat.  Then into bed, where we'd cuddle for a few minutes, then he was on his own. 

This year he's 8, and he doesn't want as much cuddle time before bed; instead, we have lots of conversations in the car on the way home from day care.

After I leave the room, he is allowed to read.  Sometimes he will play quietly, but the rule is you have to be laying down with your head on your pillow at all times.

We also leave a bright lamp on all night; my kid's imagination is quite vivid and he can't sleep if it is dark.  Plus the door has to be cracked open so he "can see the monsters coming."

If you can alter his routine so that bed is ONLY for getting ready to sleep, that might help.
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TrMama

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #56 on: November 15, 2017, 12:01:52 PM »
I could have written Laura's first post almost word for word. By the time DH and I realized there was something going on with our daughter she was clinically anxious, depressed and nearly suicidal. It was awful. She was 9. I have the exact same guilt about wishing I could've done better by her.

After it was pointed out to me that she had ADHD inattentive type I did some reading and realized that I saw her behaviour as normal, because nearly every member of my extended family has ADHD. I thought we were just early rising energizer bunnies. Turns out many of our lives could have been measurably less crappy if we'd gotten help.

The not sleeping thing is classic ADHD. I have it, my DD has it, my mom has it, etc. etc. etc. Many nights, no amount of exercise, sleep hygeine or other tricks work. We literally just can't shut our brains off. I read about melatonin for ADHD kids and it changed our lives (DD and I both take it). It's endorsed (encouraged even) by DD's developmental pediatrician. It helps enough that I don't even care about the possibility of early onset puberty. In fact, she's in puberty now and the emotional swings are nothing compared to the meltdowns she had when she wasn't sleeping enough.

The other thing that changed our lives was starting DD on ADHD medication. It's been like giving glasses to an extremely near sighted child. In fact, kids are often told that meds are just "glasses for your brain". She's happier, she's more in control, our home life is less chaotic, and she's able to learn (she also has a learning disability). Plus she has friends now! Look at the stats on what can happen to people who's ADHD goes untreated (aka unmedicated), frankly the risks are nothing any parent would want for their child.

I'm sure this opinion will be hugely unpopular, but there is nothing wrong with medication. Just like you wouldn't withhold insulin from a diabetic child, I don't understand why people withhold ADHD meds from kids who are suffering.

gatortator

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #57 on: November 15, 2017, 12:06:16 PM »
Have you tried guided meditation? We find them intermittently helpful, but it is free and easy to try. Tons on YouTube.


+1 this.  we have a older child who had a hard time turning their brain off/ calming down at the end of the day in order to go to sleep.  kids guided meditation worked for her.  her emotional resilience improved greatly with improved sleep.  the videos were so good,  my husband is still prone to passing out if he listens to them with her.

A few that work for us.

Hot air balloon ride
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlv6Y1tq1sQ

Space Adventure
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlv6Y1tq1sQ
 
really anything by Jason stephenson/ sleep easy relax.  my kids have enjoyed most of his stuff.


Also-- age 6 is a great age  for learning chores around the house.   builds new skills, responsibility, self-confidence, and keeps him moving.  also helps you quit the job as the maid to free up some of your time/energy so you are better able to help him when he does need you.  I really like the method introduced by vickihoefle.com   Her main book is "duct tape parenting". (cheesy title but awesome book)

spookytaffy

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #58 on: November 15, 2017, 12:21:21 PM »
School psychologist here--ask for your school psych to do some observations in the classroom.  He/She will look at both your child and the makeup of the room and the interactions among the peers.  Environment is just as important as the "target" student.  Too often teachers or parents focus mainly on the individual student and not the whole picture. 

The information you said does sound ADHD/ASD/sensory-ish.  He may also be somewhat bored if he's picked up reading so quickly and his classmates are still learning letters and sounds.  Of course, I am not diagnosing anything! If your child were in my school, those would be the areas I'd be focusing on. 

You may want to check out the website www.interventioncentral.org   There are lots of behavior and academic ideas for teachers and parents.


Laura33

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #59 on: November 15, 2017, 07:26:21 PM »
After it was pointed out to me that she had ADHD inattentive type I did some reading and realized that I saw her behaviour as normal, because nearly every member of my extended family has ADHD. I thought we were just early rising energizer bunnies. Turns out many of our lives could have been measurably less crappy if we'd gotten help.

OMG yes.  It was only in researching ADHD for DD that I realized I clearly had the inattentive type my whole life — which was completely masked by the fact that I was smart enough to do the work without paying much attention, that I was inattentive type, that I was a girl, and that I was the “normal”/functional one on my Dad’s whole side of the family.  It is so hard going through life realizing that you don’t fit it, but not understanding why or how.

If you think about it, we each are a data set of one:  you can’t tell how other people think, because all you see is what is in your own head.  So it is very easy to assume that everyone else thinks and feels like you do, except they have some secret password that lets them into the club of paying attention and staying focused and being organized and making their binders pretty like all the other girls and all that crap — like you just missed a gene somewhere, but you can’t figure out what or why or how to fix it.  And then of course your family can’t help, because they have the same damn issues that they haven’t been able to fix either.  And that sense of “wrongness” is so incredibly stressful; I mean, I am really smart, but I spent the first 38 years of my life convinced I was stupid (despite all objective evidence to the contrary), because all I could see was all those things “normal” kids could do that I couldn’t.

So maybe I am so upset about this because I wasn’t able to help DD any more than people were able to help me.  And I should have been, because she was the flip side of me (acting outward instead of inwards), and I should have seen it sooner.  And I understand better than most the completely unnecessary stress and unhappiness that springs from that failure.  All of which can be fixed if we just get the right diagnosis and get the appropriate treatment and meds and plans. 

So, yeah.  Do what you need to get to the bottom of this and fix it now.  Medication is not a dirty word, nor is therapy.
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StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #60 on: November 16, 2017, 07:24:32 AM »
Have you tried guided meditation? We find them intermittently helpful, but it is free and easy to try. Tons on YouTube.


+1 this.  we have a older child who had a hard time turning their brain off/ calming down at the end of the day in order to go to sleep.  kids guided meditation worked for her.  her emotional resilience improved greatly with improved sleep.  the videos were so good,  my husband is still prone to passing out if he listens to them with her.

A few that work for us.

Hot air balloon ride
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlv6Y1tq1sQ

Space Adventure
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlv6Y1tq1sQ
 
really anything by Jason stephenson/ sleep easy relax.  my kids have enjoyed most of his stuff.


Also-- age 6 is a great age  for learning chores around the house.   builds new skills, responsibility, self-confidence, and keeps him moving.  also helps you quit the job as the maid to free up some of your time/energy so you are better able to help him when he does need you.  I really like the method introduced by vickihoefle.com   Her main book is "duct tape parenting". (cheesy title but awesome book)

Will give this a shot tonight - thanks guys.

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2017, 08:18:19 AM »
After it was pointed out to me that she had ADHD inattentive type I did some reading and realized that I saw her behaviour as normal, because nearly every member of my extended family has ADHD. I thought we were just early rising energizer bunnies. Turns out many of our lives could have been measurably less crappy if we'd gotten help.

OMG yes.  It was only in researching ADHD for DD that I realized I clearly had the inattentive type my whole life — which was completely masked by the fact that I was smart enough to do the work without paying much attention, that I was inattentive type, that I was a girl, and that I was the “normal”/functional one on my Dad’s whole side of the family.  It is so hard going through life realizing that you don’t fit it, but not understanding why or how.

If you think about it, we each are a data set of one:  you can’t tell how other people think, because all you see is what is in your own head.  So it is very easy to assume that everyone else thinks and feels like you do, except they have some secret password that lets them into the club of paying attention and staying focused and being organized and making their binders pretty like all the other girls and all that crap — like you just missed a gene somewhere, but you can’t figure out what or why or how to fix it.  And then of course your family can’t help, because they have the same damn issues that they haven’t been able to fix either.  And that sense of “wrongness” is so incredibly stressful; I mean, I am really smart, but I spent the first 38 years of my life convinced I was stupid (despite all objective evidence to the contrary), because all I could see was all those things “normal” kids could do that I couldn’t.

So maybe I am so upset about this because I wasn’t able to help DD any more than people were able to help me.  And I should have been, because she was the flip side of me (acting outward instead of inwards), and I should have seen it sooner.  And I understand better than most the completely unnecessary stress and unhappiness that springs from that failure.  All of which can be fixed if we just get the right diagnosis and get the appropriate treatment and meds and plans. 

So, yeah.  Do what you need to get to the bottom of this and fix it now.  Medication is not a dirty word, nor is therapy.

I think there is a lot in this post for me to digest. And there is so much about family history that really should be taken into account. There is a lot of quirk in both my husband and my families' based on general "giftedness" - so quirk I expected but not this sort of inconsistent behavior.

I also agree that there is nothing wrong with medication but also I admit that I am wary of it. My brother was misdiagnosed as ADHD as a child and we had a rough couple of years (psychosis, suicidal ideation in elementary school) as a family until he was "rediagnosed" (profoundly gifted with some OCD) and unmedicated. Based on that experience (and the fact that no one mentioned ADHD) I admit that I had sort of never even considered it but I realize that he is SO ACTIVE compared to the rest of us that I shouldn't write it off.

Thinking back to family history - My husband and I were such "model children" that my son's emotions and over excitably have really thrown me for a loop.  I also think we were parented in a very 50's style, ie. afraid of the belt - so I am wondering if acceptable generational parenting styles come into play here as well.

I'm not going to bug his teacher anymore this week and he had absolutely perfect days at school on tuesday and wednesday so I'm going to let this go until I hear from his teacher again.

I also notice that perfect days at school (gold on the color chart) correspond to really awful evenings at home. This makes sense to me as he is using every little bit of willpower during his school day. Does anyone else notice this with their "Spirited" children?

Sorry for the ramble, each new post from y'all is really helping me build a more complete picture on my end.

For now, I'm going to make sleep and extra morning exercise the focus (I'm thinking i can entice him outdoors in the cold morning dark with 6 am flashlight tag maybe? He hates the cold). I will let his teacher guide me on any testing. If she think it is unnecessary I will trust her.

And I will keep reading everything about giftedness, ASP, SPD, ADHD, etc in the meantime.





« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 10:56:09 AM by StarBright »

MayDay

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #62 on: November 16, 2017, 08:56:15 AM »
Consider things like a mini trampoline, indoor monkey bars, etc for the winter.  We let the kids scooter around our unfinished basement, and make obstacle courses, etc in the winter.
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Frugal Lizard

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #63 on: November 16, 2017, 09:22:47 AM »
Another thing I noticed about my son when he was younger is that he need to work his upper body - so to save our door hinges from being used as an a swing ride, we installed a bar to hang from.  We also had a swing from Ikea that my son would use to climb like a rope.  In our garden we had a rope to climb and swing on and that was super well used.
My son was also pretty keen on shovelling snow so I would send him out to do the walk and clear the cars.  Then back in before school for dry mitts for school.
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TrMama

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #64 on: November 16, 2017, 09:57:54 AM »
I think there is a lot in this post for me to digest. And there is so much about family history that really should be taken into account. There is a lot of quirk in both my husband and my families' based on general "giftedness" - so quirk I expected but not this sort of inconsistent behavior.

I also agree that there is nothing wrong with medication but also I admit that I am wary of it. My brother was misdiagnosed as ADHD as a child and we had a rough couple of years (psychosis, suicidal ideation in elementary school) as a family until he was "rediagnosed" (profoundly gifted with some OCD) and unmedicated. Based on that experience (and the fact that no one mentioned ADHD) I admit that I had sort of never even considered it but I realize that he is SO ACTIVE compared to the rest of us that I shouldn't write it off.

Thinking back to family history - My husband and I were such "model children" that my sons emotions and over excitably have really thrown me for a loop.  I also think we were parented in a very 50's style, ie. afraid of the belt - so I am wondering if acceptable generational parenting styles come into play here as well.

I'm not going to bug his teacher anymore this week and he had absolutely perfect days at school on tuesday and wednesday so I'm going to let this go until I hear from his teacher again.

I also notice that perfect days at school (gold on the color chart) correspond to really awful evenings at home. This makes sense to me as he is using every little bit of willpower during his school day. Does anyone else notice this with their "Spirited" children?

Sorry for the ramble, each new post from y'all is really helping me build a more complete picture on my end.

For now, I'm going to make sleep and extra morning exercise the focus (I'm thinking i can entice him outdoors in the cold morning dark with 6 am flashlight tag maybe? He hates the cold). I will let his teacher guide me on any testing. If she think it is unnecessary I will trust her.

And I will keep reading everything about giftedness, ASP, SPD, ADHD, etc in the meantime.

I agree that it's a lot to digest. Even after my DD was formally diagnosed I didn't actually do anything with the information for several months. And even when I was ready, my DH was not, so that was another discussion (which we had with DD's doctor). And it's only been in the past couple of weeks that I've been able to also add treatment for her dyslexia into the mix; a year after she was diagnosed.

ADHD is a continuum. Someone can have some quirky traits, but if those traits don't interfere with the person's day to day functions, then it doesn't rise to the level where they can be diagnosed with anything. On the other end, someone can be so afflicted that they cannot function in any setting and even a non-expert will know something's not quite right. Then of course there's lots of gray areas in between.

In my family, we have quirky people (me, my mom) and people who have classic ADHD. No two of us exhibit the exact same symptoms to the same degree. Keep in mind that ADHD is actually an imprecise name. It's actually a deficit of executive functions in the frontal cortex. Executive functions include emotional control, organization and impulsivity in addition to hyperactivity and attention. A person doesn't have to exhibit all of them in order to benefit from treatment.

Be very careful of relying on his teacher's input. I've never actually heard of a teacher (even special ed and behavioural teachers) who was able to diagnose. A proper diagnosis is most reliably made by a neuropyschologist or developmental pediatrician. A neuropsych is a psychologist with special training in diagnosing neurological issues (ASD, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc). He or she will administer diagnostic tests and then write up a detailed report with the findings. Given your family history, I'd want to be very, very sure of the diagnosis before beginning any kind of chemical treatment, so I totally understand your hesitation. You may be able to get the school to pay for it, or you may end up paying out of pocket, either way it's almost always money well spent.

One last point. The meds from when we were kids are not the meds of today. There are so many more options available now that weren't when we were kids.

Oh, and if your son hates the cold, get him some really warm clothes. I'm Canadian and fully embrace the idea that there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes ;-)

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #65 on: November 16, 2017, 11:12:07 AM »


Be very careful of relying on his teacher's input. I've never actually heard of a teacher (even special ed and behavioural teachers) who was able to diagnose. A proper diagnosis is most reliably made by a neuropyschologist or developmental pediatrician. A neuropsych is a psychologist with special training in diagnosing neurological issues (ASD, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc). He or she will administer diagnostic tests and then write up a detailed report with the findings. Given your family history, I'd want to be very, very sure of the diagnosis before beginning any kind of chemical treatment, so I totally understand your hesitation. You may be able to get the school to pay for it, or you may end up paying out of pocket, either way it's almost always money well spent.
 . . . .
Oh, and if your son hates the cold, get him some really warm clothes. I'm Canadian and fully embrace the idea that there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes ;-)

Just to clarify, I am not expecting the teacher to diagnose at all - I just mean that she seems less worried about it than me and since she's the one on the ground I'm going to trust her judgments for the time being. She also shared with me that she has two children, one gifted and one 2E (with ASP) so I feel like I'm in pretty good hands.  If she sees improvements at school and home behavior is stable I'm happy to forgo testing for a bit.

I also agree on the "only bad clothes" but I'm the only one in my family who feels that way. DH and both kids must be dragged outside kicking and screaming once the temp falls below 50. :)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 11:26:25 AM by StarBright »

Laura33

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #66 on: November 16, 2017, 11:54:02 AM »
I also notice that perfect days at school (gold on the color chart) correspond to really awful evenings at home. This makes sense to me as he is using every little bit of willpower during his school day. Does anyone else notice this with their "Spirited" children?

Yes, yes, yes, 100%.  I noticed the correlation and assumed it was because I was being a bad parent ("she behaves for everyone else all day!").  I told the therapist when we finally got her there, and the therapist said it was completely the other way around:  DD was using every ounce of focus she had to try to be a good girl for 6-8 solid hours at school, and then by the time I picked her up she was at the end of her rope, and because she felt safe with me, she just melted and let everything out.  I learned to stock snacks in the car and basically shove them in her mouth and turn on the radio to sing to before we even got out of the parking lot.  :-)  And playtime, and hugs -- lots and lots of hugs and immediate attention as soon as we got home (even if I had other things I needed to do).

Again:  you are doing so, so many things right!  Just keep reading and learning and taking the lead from your kid.
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jeninco

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #67 on: November 16, 2017, 02:39:23 PM »
Wow, there is a ton of stuff here!

Reminding everyone (especially all the parents) to treat themselves and their kids with compassion. It's not fun to find that you've been parenting the "wrong" way, based on new information. (And it's downright annoying to have other people tell you "you're doing it wrong", but almost everyone here is doing an incredibly great job of adding information without criticizing. Go y'all!)

It's also no fun being a kid who finds yourself completely out of control -- that's scary, which usually makes the behavior worse. At our worst, I found that meditation time for me was helpful to allow me to frame my view of the kid's behavior as "it's gotta suck to be him right now" which helped me modulate my responses.

I agree (again) with the billion-and-one commentators who have recommended loads of regular exercise and more sleep if at all possible. Having an appropriate intellectual challenge for part of the school day would also be helpful.

One last thought -- have you asked him what he'd like to do as an evening routine? Or the morning routine? If you frame it as "we really think this will help you have better days,  would you like to run to school or play flashlight tag in the mornings?" you may get some buy-in from him. Then, after a week, you can seek feedback (from everyone, including the kid) about how things are going/whether the change is helping. (At some point, I'd probably phrase the evening routine as "your parents are going to bed at X time, and need an hour of alone time before then. You can be reading quietly in your bed starting at time Z, or you can go to sleep (or option 3, I just can't think of it.) How can we all make that work?")

Good luck!

gatortator

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #68 on: November 17, 2017, 10:54:16 AM »
(I'm thinking i can entice him outdoors in the cold morning dark with 6 am flashlight tag maybe? He hates the cold).

oooohhhh....  I like this idea.  what a great way to get excited about the shorter days.  totally going to try this with my kids.

thanks !

Anatidae V

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #69 on: November 17, 2017, 03:35:59 PM »
I also notice that perfect days at school (gold on the color chart) correspond to really awful evenings at home. This makes sense to me as he is using every little bit of willpower during his school day. Does anyone else notice this with their "Spirited" children?

Yes, yes, yes, 100%.  I noticed the correlation and assumed it was because I was being a bad parent ("she behaves for everyone else all day!").  I told the therapist when we finally got her there, and the therapist said it was completely the other way around:  DD was using every ounce of focus she had to try to be a good girl for 6-8 solid hours at school, and then by the time I picked her up she was at the end of her rope, and because she felt safe with me, she just melted and let everything out.  I learned to stock snacks in the car and basically shove them in her mouth and turn on the radio to sing to before we even got out of the parking lot.  :-)  And playtime, and hugs -- lots and lots of hugs and immediate attention as soon as we got home (even if I had other things I needed to do).

Again:  you are doing so, so many things right!  Just keep reading and learning and taking the lead from your kid.
My normal sister was the same - worked so hard at being perfect all day, then meltdown completely once she was home & safe. She's still like that. You are ALL good parents :)

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #70 on: November 17, 2017, 06:38:35 PM »
. . . .
One last thought -- have you asked him what he'd like to do as an evening routine? Or the morning routine? If you frame it as "we really think this will help you have better days,  would you like to run to school or play flashlight tag in the mornings?" you may get some buy-in from him. Then, after a week, you can seek feedback (from everyone, including the kid) about how things are going/whether the change is helping. (At some point, I'd probably phrase the evening routine as "your parents are going to bed at X time, and need an hour of alone time before then. You can be reading quietly in your bed starting at time Z, or you can go to sleep (or option 3, I just can't think of it.) How can we all make that work?")

Good luck!

I actually don't give him much of an option because his response to every question tends to be "I want to watch TV." Even if you say "what do you want to do outside? A or B?" He'll say "I have a better idea, let's do C (TV or drawing)!" and then he'll ask for it every day for a week. The child is tenacious beyond words.

So I basically say "this is what we're doing this morning" because I've found it cuts way down on whining and begging and cajoling (thus saving the last tiny shred of my sanity :)). But I agree that with most children I think this would be a good idea.


StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #71 on: November 17, 2017, 06:43:15 PM »
. . . . You are ALL good parents :)

I agree! I find I am often overwhelmed (in a very good way) by this board's willingness to share their expertise and experiences.

I run hot and cold on the other MMM boards- but I love Mini Money Mustaches a whole bunch!

jeninco

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #72 on: November 17, 2017, 08:05:12 PM »
. . . .
One last thought -- have you asked him what he'd like to do as an evening routine? Or the morning routine? If you frame it as "we really think this will help you have better days,  would you like to run to school or play flashlight tag in the mornings?" you may get some buy-in from him. Then, after a week, you can seek feedback (from everyone, including the kid) about how things are going/whether the change is helping. (At some point, I'd probably phrase the evening routine as "your parents are going to bed at X time, and need an hour of alone time before then. You can be reading quietly in your bed starting at time Z, or you can go to sleep (or option 3, I just can't think of it.) How can we all make that work?")

Good luck!

I actually don't give him much of an option because his response to every question tends to be "I want to watch TV." Even if you say "what do you want to do outside? A or B?" He'll say "I have a better idea, let's do C (TV or drawing)!" and then he'll ask for it every day for a week. The child is tenacious beyond words.

So I basically say "this is what we're doing this morning" because I've found it cuts way down on whining and begging and cajoling (thus saving the last tiny shred of my sanity :)). But I agree that with most children I think this would be a good idea.

Awesome -- with some kids, helping them have a feeling of agency helps with buy-in, but if that's not what works in your house, good on you for recognizing it right away!

We've tried to frame it as "persistence", but "tenacious" is also a good quality to have as an adult. And the long game is to raise people who are good adults!

Hope you have fun running around this weekend!

Oh -- some friends of ours have success bargaining for TV time, so for every X minutes you spend running around outside you get X/Y minutes of TV time. I didn't care for it (because it made the running around outside time currency for something else desirable, rather than a valuable activity on its own) but maybe something like that would be temporarily helpful?

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #73 on: November 17, 2017, 09:13:06 PM »
OP's child sounds like my DS. FWIW, we are doing private school -- Montessori -- and it works for him. Movement is built in to their day -- easels are one side of the classroom, paint is on the other. We also moved to be able to bike to school (1.2 miles) and he has to pedal his own tush there -- no ride-on/trailer/etc.

Daycares kept failing him by expecting the kids to be 6 months to a year behind where he was in various areas (depending on age and area). That led us to try the Montessori preschool. That worked so well we said, "well, guess he isn't going to public school, then."

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #74 on: November 19, 2017, 07:36:05 PM »
Have you tried guided meditation? We find them intermittently helpful, but it is free and easy to try. Tons on YouTube.


+1 this.  we have a older child who had a hard time turning their brain off/ calming down at the end of the day in order to go to sleep.  kids guided meditation worked for her.  her emotional resilience improved greatly with improved sleep.  the videos were so good,  my husband is still prone to passing out if he listens to them with her.

A few that work for us.

Hot air balloon ride
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlv6Y1tq1sQ

Space Adventure
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlv6Y1tq1sQ
 
really anything by Jason stephenson/ sleep easy relax.  my kids have enjoyed most of his stuff.


Also-- age 6 is a great age  for learning chores around the house.   builds new skills, responsibility, self-confidence, and keeps him moving.  also helps you quit the job as the maid to free up some of your time/energy so you are better able to help him when he does need you.  I really like the method introduced by vickihoefle.com   Her main book is "duct tape parenting". (cheesy title but awesome book)

Just a funny note. We tried the hot air balloon ride track tonight and my son was definitely starting to relax. Then the meditation talked about inviting his favorite zoo animal into the hot air balloon and he was like, "What?! No! My favorite animal is a tiger!"

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #75 on: November 21, 2017, 03:08:48 PM »
Welp - It looks like 5 school days (or 7 days total) of good behavior is about what we get.

After having a rather spectacular week last week (Tuesday onward) where he was actually the only child at the top of the behavior chart for several days and making it through Monday yesterday, today was apparently "absolutely horrible." (according to his teacher).

She said he was incredibly disrespectful and when he was asked to "clip down" he hid in the corner of the classroom instead.

When I asked him about his day, he said he hates school, his friends don't like to play his games, and his teacher has rules that don't make sense. He said a friend was refusing to give him quiet time and he just lost it. About 10 minutes ago (so 30 minutes after I picked him up) he apologized to me with such sincerity "for his whole day" that I really believed him. But also, he is far too old to hide when he feels like he is in trouble and honestly he has the hardest time regulating his emotions. It's not even that he throws tantrums per say, he just misbehaves and when you try to talk to him about it, it's almost like it winds him up more.

I had hoped this week was the turnaround but I, personally, cant deal with waiting for other shoe to drop when it comes to his school. I'm actually physically nauseous on the way to pick up every day. After the holiday I'm getting him into therapy to deal with emotional regulation and hoping that someone can explain to him why he has to follow rules in a way that makes sense to him.

I've been running him and playing outside with him very regularly all week. Up until today it hasn't really changed his bed or wake up times, except that this morning I couldn't drag him out of bed (which is very very rare for him). Proponents of lots of activity - did I over exhaust him this week?

Anatidae V

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #76 on: November 21, 2017, 03:19:06 PM »
Does he have a quiet place to calm down? Because it sounds like he was trying to regulate himself by having quiet time, but since his friend wouldn't let him that meant he didn't have any other way to calm himself down... And then hid when he got in trouble (also a way of giving himself quiet time to calm down). It might take longer than a week for running around to affect his sleep, but sounds like it might be starting to if you couldn't drag him outta bed!

TrMama

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #77 on: November 21, 2017, 04:11:46 PM »
Welp - It looks like 5 school days (or 7 days total) of good behavior is about what we get.

After having a rather spectacular week last week (Tuesday onward) where he was actually the only child at the top of the behavior chart for several days and making it through Monday yesterday, today was apparently "absolutely horrible." (according to his teacher).

She said he was incredibly disrespectful and when he was asked to "clip down" he hid in the corner of the classroom instead.

When I asked him about his day, he said he hates school, his friends don't like to play his games, and his teacher has rules that don't make sense. He said a friend was refusing to give him quiet time and he just lost it. About 10 minutes ago (so 30 minutes after I picked him up) he apologized to me with such sincerity "for his whole day" that I really believed him. But also, he is far too old to hide when he feels like he is in trouble and honestly he has the hardest time regulating his emotions. It's not even that he throws tantrums per say, he just misbehaves and when you try to talk to him about it, it's almost like it winds him up more.

I had hoped this week was the turnaround but I, personally, cant deal with waiting for other shoe to drop when it comes to his school. I'm actually physically nauseous on the way to pick up every day. After the holiday I'm getting him into therapy to deal with emotional regulation and hoping that someone can explain to him why he has to follow rules in a way that makes sense to him.

I've been running him and playing outside with him very regularly all week. Up until today it hasn't really changed his bed or wake up times, except that this morning I couldn't drag him out of bed (which is very very rare for him). Proponents of lots of activity - did I over exhaust him this week?

In addition to joint therapy for both of you please also book an appointment with his doctor. I see a bunch of red flags in your post.

Your son is going to need way, way longer than a week to change his behaviour. This stuff takes years. Even when he is better able to conform, he'll still have bad days. We all do.

Also knowing what I know now, I'd go completely batshit on any teacher who caused my ADHD kid to feel badly about his behaviour using one of those red, yellow, green charts. Those things seem like they're just designed to be a fast track to anxiety, depression and shutting down when it comes to school. How on earth is a child with neurologically based impulse control supposed to feel when he does something that he has no control over and then gets a visual reminder of how he's a "bad kid"? I'd absolutely insist on positive reinforcement for good behaviour and redirection of negative behaviour.

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #78 on: November 21, 2017, 06:33:07 PM »

In addition to joint therapy for both of you please also book an appointment with his doctor. I see a bunch of red flags in your post.

Your son is going to need way, way longer than a week to change his behaviour. This stuff takes years. Even when he is better able to conform, he'll still have bad days. We all do.

Also knowing what I know now, I'd go completely batshit on any teacher who caused my ADHD kid to feel badly about his behaviour using one of those red, yellow, green charts. Those things seem like they're just designed to be a fast track to anxiety, depression and shutting down when it comes to school. How on earth is a child with neurologically based impulse control supposed to feel when he does something that he has no control over and then gets a visual reminder of how he's a "bad kid"? I'd absolutely insist on positive reinforcement for good behaviour and redirection of negative behaviour.

responding to the boldeds-

I know it will take more than a week. But since "bad days" usually happen on Mondays I was really hopefully when yesterday was a good day :)

I am not a fan of color charts. We had an awful time with color charts at daycare but could not find a daycare that didn't use them. I've also talked to his teacher a lot about the color chart but it is part of her classroom management. She doesn't clip him below "yellow" because of his sensitivity to it - but my son is obsessed with the color chart.

I'm feeling like therapy is the best idea for sure. I also feel like our parenting is going a little down hill from pure exhaustion so it will be very helpful to have new strategies.

Laura33

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #79 on: November 21, 2017, 08:25:20 PM »
Does he have a quiet place to calm down? Because it sounds like he was trying to regulate himself by having quiet time, but since his friend wouldn't let him that meant he didn't have any other way to calm himself down... And then hid when he got in trouble (also a way of giving himself quiet time to calm down). It might take longer than a week for running around to affect his sleep, but sounds like it might be starting to if you couldn't drag him outta bed!

THIS.

He is not even remotely too old to hide when he feels like he is in trouble.  He’s in kindergarten!!  Hell, I know grown-ass professionals who still do that!  It is completely, 100% normal for kids of any age to hide from things that are embarrassing or hard or hurtful — much less little kids who are just now adjusting to school and all of those new demands.*  And if he was asking his friend for space and to leave him alone and whatever, that is a very good, important, tremendous thing!  Again: he has the insight to identify that he needs down time?  And the ability and will to ask that of a friend??   That is literally all you can expect of a kid that age.  This is exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of when I was talking about “catching him doing something right, even if the end result wasn’t great.”   IMO, recognizing the need for downtime, and asking nicely for it, is a huge, huge win and something that merits praise, even if it didn’t end up working —or at least some empathy and a hug for trying to do the right thing at first, even if you then do have to talk about what else he could/should have done when that didn't work. 

I think this is an issue to discuss with the school.  If he is insightful enough to recognize when he needs downtime, and brave enough to ask for it, then at that point it is on the school to figure out how to work with that and give him the space to chill himself out.  And maybe a developmental psychologist to give everyone involved an accurate, unbiased view of what is a reasonable expectation for a kid his age.  [I know basically nothing about what happened, but I am already angry at the school for not giving him the space he needed to calm himself down, and then treating him like a bad kid when the inevitable meltdown resulted.  You cannot do that to a little kid, period — especially one who is already struggling to control himself.]

And ps: physical exhaustion is always good.  ;-). Now all you need to do is convert the morning sleepiness into an earlier bedtime.  (Yeah, I know, “all”)

*FWIW, my 12-yr-old has always really hated getting in trouble or admitting he is upset about anything — it is like admitting weakness or something, and he just gets really silent and goes off on his own.  And insisting that he interact, talk about it, whatever, just leads to a meltdown — he needs to do that to process really powerful feelings, so I had to learn to give him space and alone time to deal with things his way when he is really upset, rather than insisting that he do it mine (and in the process invalidate that need and make him feel even worse for needing it).  So to this day, I will say that I am sorry he is upset/hurt/sad/whatever, and that I will leave him alone unless/until he wants to talk to me about it.  It’s really important to find a way to work with your kid’s natural inclinations instead of forcing him to do things your way.
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gooki

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #80 on: November 22, 2017, 01:37:24 AM »
Quote
and his teacher has rules that don't make sense.

This is also key. You can't expect conformity, when he doesn't understand the requirements.

Sounds like a smart kid, self aware, trying to do the right thing, just struggling when his needs aren't being met.
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Sibley

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #81 on: November 22, 2017, 08:37:53 AM »
Re the rules not making sense - I get that. I'm an adult, and STILL hate rules that don't make sense. Especially since, so often, the rule really doesn't make sense.

It will be helpful to him to have some understanding that no, rules don't always make sense, but it's still a good idea to follow them in the meantime. And there are times that it's ok to try to get the rules changed. Some of this is probably beyond a 6 year old, but you can start laying the groundwork.

MayDay

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #82 on: November 22, 2017, 09:10:28 AM »
Regarding him needing quiet- going to the OT room (or wherever but most schools use the OT room for this) for a break is ideal,another option might be headphones and a mp3 player in the regular classroom. My ASD son with sensory needs uses headphones and music to cope when overwhelmed and it works well.

Regarding color charts i fucking hate them, but the best teacher my son ever had used one in a very effective way. As soon as he was yellow, she gave him an opportunity to help her and go back to green. It gave him positive reinforcement and let him be the special teacher's helper, which often helped him out of his funk. The task also often involved gross motor so it got some wiggles out.

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hoping2retire35

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #83 on: November 22, 2017, 10:50:43 AM »
Try to use the holiday to continue to reinforce the new schedule. Be prepared with some worksheets around 8 am so he knows to settle down at that time. Provide an outdoor 'recess' at noon and a typical high energy windown blowout in the evening. This is a good opportunity to observe his behavior to see how you can coach him or anything else he needs going forward.

LiveLean

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #84 on: November 27, 2017, 08:31:54 AM »
Put him in competitive swimming. Seriously. Five days a week, year round. He seems to have the energy and the biological clock already.

It worked for Debbie Phelps and her son.
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formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #85 on: November 27, 2017, 12:37:50 PM »

*FWIW, my 12-yr-old has always really hated getting in trouble or admitting he is upset about anything — it is like admitting weakness or something, and he just gets really silent and goes off on his own.  And insisting that he interact, talk about it, whatever, just leads to a meltdown — he needs to do that to process really powerful feelings, so I had to learn to give him space and alone time to deal with things his way when he is really upset, rather than insisting that he do it mine (and in the process invalidate that need and make him feel even worse for needing it).  So to this day, I will say that I am sorry he is upset/hurt/sad/whatever, and that I will leave him alone unless/until he wants to talk to me about it.  It’s really important to find a way to work with your kid’s natural inclinations instead of forcing him to do things your way.

I wish I'd learned this when my son was in kindergarten.  He hid under his bed (often for hours) through 2nd grade whenever he knew he'd done something wrong - even if the "wrong" was an accident.  I'd try to coax him out, then threaten him, etc.  My actions just made the situation worse.  I didn't understand that he *couldn't* force himself out from under that bed in those circumstances.  He just couldn't, and me trying to make him just made him feel worse about himself.

I finally had an epiphany, and started letting him be when he hid.  I'd pop in periodically and tell him I loved him no matter what, then leave again.  Finally, he'd start coming out earlier and I'd invite him to cuddle.  I'd keep reassuring him that I loved him no matter what.  After 9 months of this, he finally started talking to me (most of the time) about whatever the trigger was.  I think he had to learn to trust me all the time, not just some of the time.  I have him in therapy now (3rd grade), and it's helping him.

I'm sending you hugs - it's hard to be strong for so long when you see your child struggle.  It's going to take a village to help him thrive - you and your family, a therapist, possibly a doctor (if he has ADHD), and the school.
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StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #86 on: November 27, 2017, 08:55:46 PM »
One of the things I'm starting to realize about my son is that he is actually pretty good at advocating for his own needs with me. He is excellent at verbalizing whether he needs alone time, or snuggles, or play time. He will sometimes come to me after a mini-meltdown and say "I'm ready to hear you now." I would actually say that he can seem so self-aware that it is almost always shocking to me when a simple thing sets him crying.

But he trusts me completely. I am super thankful for this as I'm realizing that not all children are so aware of what they need.

But he doesn't trust school. He finds the whole enterprise to be rather pointless and is fairly suspicious of the grown-ups' motives, ie "The other kindergarten teacher doesn't really like me, she just says she does so that I'll listen to her." He's probably right. He's always been sort of astonishing at reading people and he has a memory like a steel trap. I'm adding "learn to trust teacher" to his list for the therapist.

Starting today he gets to go to the sensory room after recess every day now. They let him bounce around for a few more minutes and then take him through an extended calm down process. One of the issues seems to be that they only have 15 minutes of recess and he's a slow eater so by the time he transitions into active play recess is usually over and his body and brain are just getting started. Can you guys tell I've been in rather constant contact with his school for the last couple of weeks ?:)

I love the ideas that you all keep throwing my way. The swimming is intriguing to me.

Laura33, MayDay, and formerlydivorcedmom (i'm sure I'm missing others here - so thank you too!) - thank you so much for continuing to share details about your kids. I feel like no one in the real world ever wants to say "parenting is hard" and it can be so darned isolating. Everyone I know seems to be living in Lake Woebegone where they take their children to a thousand enrichment classes and everyone is always clean and groomed and acting lovely in public and I'm over here pulling my hair out, mainlining coffee, and explaining to my child, once again, that we are not negotiating every single aspect of his life. Long story short - it helps to hear from real people :)

Both of my kids seems to be enjoying the extra activity in the mornings. We have been going out as soon as it is light. I also got them both cute little balaclavas to stay warm so there has been a lot of "ninja training" play. Sleep hasn't changed yet, but I'm trusting that it will take time.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 09:16:30 PM by StarBright »

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #87 on: November 28, 2017, 05:55:04 AM »
Bravo StarBright.  You are doing great. 
I am pretty sure everything is going to work out just fine in the end.  My theory is that highly intelligent sensitive energetic, creative kids such as yours have a very hard time in at school.  They are hard to teach in a classroom setting because they are miles ahead of all the other kids and sadly, miles ahead of most of the teachers they encounter too.  But if they have one person who gets them and advocates for them, they survive and are stronger for it.
These kids used to grow up on farms and had a couple of hours of hard physical labour before school.  Nothing like school for a rest for these guys.  Competitive swimming is a good alternative to milking cows.
They do need to learn how to be the smartest person in the room without making everyone else angry at them.  (They will have to meet with financial people to get funds to bring their product to market at some point - or whatever hoops they will encounter as an adult). But there is a balance between learning how to live in the situation and having all your joy stamped out of you.
It totally sounds like you completely get your role - to protect him from harm.  I don't know how many tense moments I had when my son was in grade 1 and grade 3 where I had to protect my child from oblivious teaching professionals.  My key words were - "Our goals are to foster a life long love of learning"  and " We will consider all the evidence you can provide".   I used them whenever they wanted busy work or homework that my son had no interest in.  I never received any evidence that homework assignments were effective in increasing educational outcomes.
Today my son is 16 and acing a very heavy academic load.  He balances it with several sports, one sport he works with kids at his public school alma mater.  He plays the piano passably and keeps his room as a disaster zone.  He spends a couple of hours every night on homework because he wants to earn high marks, even in subjects that don't thrill him the way math and science does. 
Best wishes navigating this next phase - but I am pretty sure you will do fine.  You have already achieved the ultimate goal - you see your kid and he sees you.
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mm1970

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #88 on: November 28, 2017, 11:49:17 AM »
The more details you give, the more it screams gifted, needs harder academics.
Yes.  My older child is much like this.

Always low on the sleep cycle - not as low as your son, but if the experts said at a particular age "needs 10-12 hours", he'd be a 9 or 9.5.  He's 11 now, tested as gifted.  He was BORED stiff in kindergarten.  He was quiet and didn't act out much, though, maybe because we are in So Cal and thus gets a lot of outdoor exercise at school.

We were incredibly lucky in 1st grade to get a teacher able and willing to give him extra/ harder work.  We signed him up for challenging after school things (chess).

My younger kid is looking to be similar, and he's in kindergarten.  He's young though (almost youngest in his class).  That means that I think he's more challenged academically (plus, expectations are much higher now than 6 years ago.)  However, he's also more high energy and more fragile.

mm1970

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #89 on: November 28, 2017, 11:52:59 AM »
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.
My kindergartner is only asleep at 8:30 because of the time change.  It was 9:30 before that (up at 7).  Even a few weeks of sleep training and going to bed early did nothing.  He would literally lie awake for hours, chatting, not falling asleep.

Also, it's completely impossible to have him in bed at 6:30 when that's when we have dinner.  We don't even get home until 5:40.

mm1970

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #90 on: November 28, 2017, 12:00:17 PM »
Welp - It looks like 5 school days (or 7 days total) of good behavior is about what we get.

After having a rather spectacular week last week (Tuesday onward) where he was actually the only child at the top of the behavior chart for several days and making it through Monday yesterday, today was apparently "absolutely horrible." (according to his teacher).

She said he was incredibly disrespectful and when he was asked to "clip down" he hid in the corner of the classroom instead.

When I asked him about his day, he said he hates school, his friends don't like to play his games, and his teacher has rules that don't make sense. He said a friend was refusing to give him quiet time and he just lost it. About 10 minutes ago (so 30 minutes after I picked him up) he apologized to me with such sincerity "for his whole day" that I really believed him. But also, he is far too old to hide when he feels like he is in trouble and honestly he has the hardest time regulating his emotions. It's not even that he throws tantrums per say, he just misbehaves and when you try to talk to him about it, it's almost like it winds him up more.

I had hoped this week was the turnaround but I, personally, cant deal with waiting for other shoe to drop when it comes to his school. I'm actually physically nauseous on the way to pick up every day. After the holiday I'm getting him into therapy to deal with emotional regulation and hoping that someone can explain to him why he has to follow rules in a way that makes sense to him.

I've been running him and playing outside with him very regularly all week. Up until today it hasn't really changed his bed or wake up times, except that this morning I couldn't drag him out of bed (which is very very rare for him). Proponents of lots of activity - did I over exhaust him this week?
I kind of disagree.  I mean, he's in kindergarten.  My son is too.  He's five.  He's still learning to handle his emotions, he runs to a corner when he's upset.  My older son wasn't like that, but each kid is different.  He also HATES it when people want to talk about his misbehavior - he HATES emotional strife, being "bad", and HATES being physically comforted (unlike big bro).  I try very hard not to paint him with big brother brush.

TrMama

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #91 on: November 28, 2017, 12:10:26 PM »
That's a great update!

My child is also very, very self aware. It seems like a juxtaposition since she's also still capable of public meltdowns, but maybe the fact she's always had "big feelings" makes it hard for her not to be so self aware.

Keeping in close contact with the school is great. It'll allow you to quickly figure out what's working and what's not so you can help guide them towards doing more of the former. Can the school give him a wiggle seat, or balance ball to sit on, rather than a regular chair?

As for activities, look for things with "flow". Downhill skiiing (or snow boarding) is also supposed to be good for ADHD kids. Not surprisingly, my ADHD prone extended family includes a number of excellent skiiers and boarders ;-) Skiing (and swimming) are good because they require the participant to pay attention all the time, otherwise they fall (or drown), but they're not necessarily competitive and don't require much in the way of getting along with others. So the emotional control piece is less important.

Compare that with something like baseball, where there's a lot of "hurry up and wait" and the participant needs to control their emotions enough to get along with their teammates. Many team sports are a disaster for ADHD kids.

Don't worry so much about the other parents, they'll catch up ;-) I noticed this too when my kids were younger. Now that most of the parents have a little more experience under their belts, many of them are much more humble. Just wait for the day their teenager drives the car through the garage door.


Frugal Lizard

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #92 on: November 28, 2017, 12:12:18 PM »

Don't worry so much about the other parents, they'll catch up ;-) I noticed this too when my kids were younger. Now that most of the parents have a little more experience under their belts, many of them are much more humble. Just wait for the day their teenager drives the car through the garage door.
made me chuckle
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Laura33

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #93 on: November 28, 2017, 01:13:58 PM »
One of the things I'm starting to realize about my son is that he is actually pretty good at advocating for his own needs with me. He is excellent at verbalizing whether he needs alone time, or snuggles, or play time. He will sometimes come to me after a mini-meltdown and say "I'm ready to hear you now." I would actually say that he can seem so self-aware that it is almost always shocking to me when a simple thing sets him crying.

But he trusts me completely. I am super thankful for this as I'm realizing that not all children are so aware of what they need.

But he doesn't trust school. He finds the whole enterprise to be rather pointless and is fairly suspicious of the grown-ups' motives, ie "The other kindergarten teacher doesn't really like me, she just says she does so that I'll listen to her." He's probably right. He's always been sort of astonishing at reading people and he has a memory like a steel trap. I'm adding "learn to trust teacher" to his list for the therapist.

Starting today he gets to go to the sensory room after recess every day now. They let him bounce around for a few more minutes and then take him through an extended calm down process. One of the issues seems to be that they only have 15 minutes of recess and he's a slow eater so by the time he transitions into active play recess is usually over and his body and brain are just getting started. Can you guys tell I've been in rather constant contact with his school for the last couple of weeks ?:)
. . . .

Both of my kids seems to be enjoying the extra activity in the mornings. We have been going out as soon as it is light. I also got them both cute little balaclavas to stay warm so there has been a lot of "ninja training" play. Sleep hasn't changed yet, but I'm trusting that it will take time.

First, really great update.  I'm glad you are making progress with the school and the home thing is working out (lovelovelove the "ninja training" idea!).

Second, I am highly confident you are exactly right about your son's perceptions, and he is exactly right about the teacher.  My DD was the canary in a coal mine; it was like she had ESP about how other people felt, often even before they (or we) did.  Keep an eye on that teacher.  Unfortunately, that awareness can be counterproductive:  he knows the teacher doesn't like him, so he is more nervous, so it takes more energy to try to behave, so he fails earlier; then the teacher responds in a way that reaffirms his fear (e.g., with a hint of exasperation that she's trying to hide), and that amps him up further, and you get a vicious cycle.  That kind of dynamic could well be the trigger for some of the in-class meltdowns you have dealt with -- as you know, it really doesn't take much.

Finally, re: the bolded:  the problem with bright kids is that they can come across as wise beyond their years.  That leads to an impression of maturity, which then leads you to raise your expectations -- and then you are shocked and disappointed when the kid suddenly reminds you that he's really only 4-5-6-10-13-etc.  Everything that you have described is completely age-appropriate for kindergarten (at the high end of the demand curve, of course -- not that he's an "easy" kindergartener! -- but well within the range of "things normal kindergarteners do when they are upset/overwhelmed/overstimulated/bored/etc.").  Don't lose sight of that.  He has his challenges, but he is at heart a good, pretty normal, bright kid.

One more anecdote:  when DD was around 11 (during the absolute worst of the post-4-yr-old years to date), I would get overwhelmed and worry that she'd never be able to manage on her own.  I mean, she was halfway between 4 and 18, and if she was still behaving like a 4-year-old half the time, what hope did I have?  Then I realized:  being 11 doesn't mean that a kid's behavior is halfway between "toddler" and "grown adult" -- it means that they alternate between those two extremes on a regular basis, ping-ponging from the 4-yr-old's tantrums to the 18-yr-old's stunning self-awareness and competence.  11 is just what their behavior averages out to over time.  :-) 

I think the same holds true for 5.  I am pretty sure there are days that your kid seems like a helpless infant or wailing toddler, and days where he thinks or acts like an 8- or 10-year old competent older child.  That is normal!  Over time, as your kid matures, the "annoying toddler" days will get fewer and fewer, and the "competent older child" days will get more and more frequent.  Until one day you will suddenly realize that, OMG, this child will be able to move out of my house and get a job and support himself, and all will be right with the world.*  :-)

*For us, this was around 15-16.  Just boom, there it was.
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evaporator

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #94 on: December 07, 2017, 08:16:10 PM »
Reading your post I was struck by your title, that your are looking for 'Solutions for a Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?'
Why do those need solutions? Solutions are sought after for problems. It sure sounds to me that you've decided long ago that there is something wrong here, somethings got to be fixed with your child. I'm no child expert, (in fact I avoid them like the plague), but I do have a child, (2nd of 3) that is similar to yours, but I didn't read anything in the post that would really trouble me.  Perhaps if this was your 3rd child you might see this differently. I know I tended to worry about things more with our first child, as it was all new.

I don't mean to sound insensitive, really I don't. It just sounds to me like the context you have set up around this child is 'there is something wrong here, and we have to find it'. I would suggest that there is nothing wrong at all, and in time the behaviors that trouble you will pass. We all want our children to be unique and individual. But it's a bit much to ask them to be like that only in the appropriate ways.

If the teacher has a connection with the child, perhaps they could 'loop', and be their teacher next year too. Some district do that, ours does and it made a difference.



StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #95 on: December 08, 2017, 09:17:13 AM »
Reading your post I was struck by your title, that your are looking for 'Solutions for a Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?'
Why do those need solutions? Solutions are sought after for problems. It sure sounds to me that you've decided long ago that there is something wrong here, somethings got to be fixed with your child. I'm no child expert, (in fact I avoid them like the plague), but I do have a child, (2nd of 3) that is similar to yours, but I didn't read anything in the post that would really trouble me.  Perhaps if this was your 3rd child you might see this differently. I know I tended to worry about things more with our first child, as it was all new.

I don't mean to sound insensitive, really I don't. It just sounds to me like the context you have set up around this child is 'there is something wrong here, and we have to find it'. I would suggest that there is nothing wrong at all, and in time the behaviors that trouble you will pass. We all want our children to be unique and individual. But it's a bit much to ask them to be like that only in the appropriate ways.

If the teacher has a connection with the child, perhaps they could 'loop', and be their teacher next year too. Some district do that, ours does and it made a difference.

Evaporator, thanks so much for your comment! You don't sound insensitive at all and I can totally get how you could read the initial post that way. I actually do see most of my child's behavior as normal-ish six year old boy behavior. But starting at age two we had daycare providers coming to us with concerns about our child so I do not feel that I am looking for a problem. I feel like I've spent years saying "This is not a huge problem!"

 I also noted that we were encouraged to take him in to be evaluated for austism/spectrum disorders two separate times. And we complied with those requests (No diagnosis of ASD). My child is just "more" - more energy, more emotion, more words, more questions and high excitability. He is a pure delight when one on one but difficult in a class with 26 other children.

The reason I started the thread was specifically to ask about private school because I think the biggest issue is that public schooling is not great for kids who fall outside of the box. And a huge concern of mine (which I realize now that I didn't actually state in my first post - because emotions) is that my child is already becoming school avoidant. He's got a long way to go in school and I don't want him dreading it starting his first year.

As for a general update - no real change in sleep.  We've done the guided sleep meditations several times and while he really enjoys them he is still awake for at least an hour after.

We did try a quarter dose of melatonin for a couple of nights last week but both nights he woke up from horrible nightmares (which is not typical) so I'm going to put that on hold again.  I think my kids just don't need that much sleep. I've been running on 5-6 hours of sleep a night for the last few years (and less before that when they were babies) and it doesn't affect me too badly so I'm just going to chalk up the sleep to genetics. I spent years worrying about it and trying different strategies and I've started to fall down that wormhole again. I'd like to go back to being at peace that this is just how we are.

School has actually been on a good run since we came back from Thanksgiving break. I think the sensory room is helping - it basically gives him a full 30 minute recess rather than just the 15 minutes that is built into the school day. He also gets 15 minutes in the morning. He just goes during their math time since he has already completed all his math workbooks for the year.

We are in the process of scheduling family therapy using the PCIT method. I'm not totally sold on it based on what I've read (for his particular issues) but there is solid research behind it and evidence that children who have PCIT before age seven are less at risk for depression and suicide later (which was a huge issue for my gifted brother). We're looking for techniques to calm down the overexcitabilities and to help him learn to deal with being told no (he does not handle it well and will continue to try and negotiate for days). I think if he can learn to deal with "No" then we will have pretty smooth sailing for a while.

Thanks guys!


RelaxedGal

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #96 on: December 08, 2017, 02:11:52 PM »
I also notice that perfect days at school (gold on the color chart) correspond to really awful evenings at home. This makes sense to me as he is using every little bit of willpower during his school day. Does anyone else notice this with their "Spirited" children?

Yes, yes, yes, 100%.  I noticed the correlation and assumed it was because I was being a bad parent ("she behaves for everyone else all day!").  I told the therapist when we finally got her there, and the therapist said it was completely the other way around:  DD was using every ounce of focus she had to try to be a good girl for 6-8 solid hours at school, and then by the time I picked her up she was at the end of her rope, and because she felt safe with me, she just melted and let everything out.  I learned to stock snacks in the car and basically shove them in her mouth and turn on the radio to sing to before we even got out of the parking lot.  :-)  And playtime, and hugs -- lots and lots of hugs and immediate attention as soon as we got home (even if I had other things I needed to do).

Again:  you are doing so, so many things right!  Just keep reading and learning and taking the lead from your kid.

Sorry I didn't get to finish the thread before commenting, but YES YES YES!  My daughter also uses all of her might to be "good" at school and there is none left by the time she gets home.  Especially if there was change, like having a substitute teacher.

And I'll second, third, fourth, whatever we're at the Melatonin.  We get the Zarbee's and cut them into quarters so she's only getting 0.25mg.  More than that and she can't wake up in the night to pee.  Forego it, and she has to talk talk talk nonstop and I lose patience before she can fall asleep and it's a mess all around; maybe that would be better if I, like you, left after an hour but by then she's so over tired that she has a screaming crying fit at the idea of being left alone, and the sobbing just amps her up so she'll never fall asleep.

I also want to give him kudos because you said you take "calls from 4:30-5:30 (this is when son does his school work and usually craft time)" - That is SO AWESOME that he can entertain himself for an hour!  My daughter needs about that amount of quiet time in the afternoon but I can't imagine her doing it solo/without interrupting me unless it's a TV show.

We have parent teacher conferences next week, I'll have to ask her teacher about ADD vs. what is normal 6 year old behavior.


druth

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #97 on: December 10, 2017, 08:24:56 PM »
Small addition the Melatonin discussion, the effective dosing for adults for Melatonin is between .2 and .5 mg, but it's usually sold in 3mg pills.  Maybe try a much lower dose, like https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00CMG4YNY/ and even then you could cut it in half.

Better Late

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #98 on: December 10, 2017, 11:26:56 PM »
Sorry to be late to this post:

It may just be my filter, but it sounds to me like you're describing a really gifted kid. Like maybe 95%, 99% or 99.9% or?  Is he learning anything at school?  Is he getting any differentiated materials? Did I read that he's done all his math workbooks already and is reading at at least a 2nd grade level?  What is he doing in that classroom all day?  Are they giving him any more math to do?  Is he ready for chapter books while the rest of the kids are sounding out words? (I don't know if this is what K is still about, BTW) because if so, poor sweetie, he must be bored to tears; it's likely taking everything he's got not to lose it.



You might read:
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/gifted_101.htm
http://www.greatpotentialpress.com/a-parents-guide-to-gifted-children
http://www.greatpotentialpress.com/misdiagnosis-and-dual-diagnoses-of-gifted-children-and-adults
http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database

You might spend some time hanging out with these parents:
http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/

At some point I would suggest an IQ test and achievement test, given by somebody who really knows what they're doing. It'll cost you.

And yes, a child psychologist can be really helpful, as early as Kindergarten; when your child says the other kids don't want to play the same types of games, it might be interesting to hear what the differences are between the two types of games.

Montessori can be a very good option for a child with high internal motivation. Don't dismiss homeschooling.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 11:48:45 PM by Better Late »

RelaxedGal

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #99 on: December 12, 2017, 10:55:02 AM »
We did try a quarter dose of melatonin for a couple of nights last week but both nights he woke up from horrible nightmares (which is not typical) so I'm going to put that on hold again.  I think my kids just don't need that much sleep. I've been running on 5-6 hours of sleep a night for the last few years (and less before that when they were babies) and it doesn't affect me too badly so I'm just going to chalk up the sleep to genetics. I spent years worrying about it and trying different strategies and I've started to fall down that wormhole again. I'd like to go back to being at peace that this is just how we are.
I finally caught up and realized my post was right after this, sorry!  For what it's worth at a higher dose of Melatonin my daughter also has nightmares/when she does wake up to pee it's with shrieking , but 0.25mg is just right.  She's 60 pounds and in 1st grade.