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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Mini Money Mustaches => Topic started by: StarBright on November 13, 2017, 02:47:36 PM

Title: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: rubybeth 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: FireHiker 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: MayDay 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: one piece at a time 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: jeninco 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: waltworks 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.

-W
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: MayDay 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: charis 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...
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Freedomin5 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: MayDay on November 14, 2017, 07:35:35 AM
The more details you give, the more it screams gifted, needs harder academics.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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?
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: MayDay 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: scantee 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: waltworks 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
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Laura33 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: PoutineLover 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: hoping2retire35 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: sjc0816 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: charis 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: jeninco 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... ")
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: trollwithamustache 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: 9patch 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: waltworks 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

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: sjc0816 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Millennialworkerbee 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: hoping2retire35 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Frugal Lizard 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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 :)
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: sjc0816 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?
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright on November 14, 2017, 03:01:37 PM
So many wonderful responses! - Thank you - will try to address them each later.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Cranky 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Cassie 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: waltworks 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
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Laura33 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. 
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: PharmaStache 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Freedomin5 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/ (https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-diet-nutrition-sugar/)
http://www.add-treatment.com/adhd-diet.html (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 (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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: gooki on November 15, 2017, 02:04:40 AM
Buy a stand up desk for him and the school.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: ROF Expat 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. 




 
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: MayDay 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: TrMama 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: gatortator 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)
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: spookytaffy 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Laura33 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.





Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: MayDay 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Frugal Lizard 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: TrMama 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 ;-)
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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. :)
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Laura33 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: jeninco 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: gatortator 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 !
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Anatidae V 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 :)
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: jeninco 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?
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: AccidentialMustache 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."
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!"
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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?
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Anatidae V 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!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: TrMama 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Laura33 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: gooki 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Sibley 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: MayDay 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: hoping2retire35 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: LiveLean 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Frugal Lizard 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: mm1970 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: mm1970 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: mm1970 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: TrMama 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Frugal Lizard 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
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: Laura33 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: firescape 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.


Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright 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!

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: RelaxedGal 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 (https://www.zarbees.com/product/childrens-melatonin-supplement) 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.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: druth 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: better late 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: RelaxedGal 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.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright on January 09, 2018, 08:04:14 AM
Hi All,

just checking in with an update. School went downhill rapidly in the two weeks before Christmas. The pediatric psychologist at the therapy center we took him to says his anxiety level is off the charts so we're working on just making him feel loved and supported.

We had a wonderful three weeks off for Christmas break. He did a lego camp and a science camp and has since become obsessed with making circuit projects, started teaching himself to play ukulele, and we had lots of outdoor fun and did tons of swimming at the Y- only one tantrum the day after Christmas. In short - he was beautifully and age appropriately behaved the entire time he was home.

School started this week and he is so sad and avoidant.

I've started reaching out to some nearby private schools to see about class sizes and letting kids move at their own speed, etc. I still want to give the therapy a chance and give public school a shot, but a child crying about going to kindergarten makes me feel like I need to start looking at additional options.

We haven't ruled out more intense testing yet (for giftedness or disorders) but did what I think was a fairly thorough initial "diagnosis" interview at the therapy practice (diagnosis = high anxiety and very bright and some oppositional issues when commands don't "make sense").

Thanks everyone for the links! Better Late - my son's kindergarten teacher also provided some of those links to me. The Hoagies site is so DENSE! But lots of good stuff there.

I'll be going back and perusing those comments about private school too. Thanks everyone so much for all of your comments over the course of this thread. It actually gave me good stuff to target in on and I think we got the therapy ball rolling much sooner than I think I would have otherwise. Anxiety in a young child wasn't even on my radar.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: jeninco on January 09, 2018, 02:17:52 PM
Gosh, StarBright, what a sad and horrible situation for all of you! (But especially for the little boy stuck in such an unhappy situation!).

Luckily for him, he's got you looking out for his interests -- good luck finding a situation that works better for you all.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: bearandmoose on January 12, 2018, 01:33:18 AM
We have a 5 year old with anxiety and I found the GoZen online videos helpful to watch with her.  They helped her to understand why we worry, why worrying is good, but some people worry too much.  It also built a shared vocabulary of approaches to figure out when she is worrying, why she is worrying, and how to address her worry.  We would cuddle and watch the videos together for 10-30 minutes a day.  I liked that it complemented what she was getting elsewhere but wasn't likely to cause any harm to her if the diagnosis or treatment approach changed.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: aneel on January 12, 2018, 07:34:59 AM
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.

OPs post almost exactly describes our son, however he's not yet in Kindergarten (he's 4.5), and he was adopted at 3.5 so we have an added uncertainty of where the emotional/behavioral issues manifest and what his history of them are.

We are on month #2 of weekly behavior therapy.  At that young age its about 1/2 parent discussion with therapist and 1/2 child therapist 1:1 time.  I highly recommend the therapy route to try some behavior management techniques that maybe you haven't, or revisit ones that didn't work in the past. 

When our DS was in daycare I often worried about how other kids were affected by his behavior (he also experiences full day meltdowns) but they assured me that while he has rough patches, he was not disrupting the class.

I think as parents, we're so worried about anticipating problems that we can tend to overreact.  The school is (hopefully) full of professionals, and if they feel your child is too disruptive they will tell you.  As the parent you are not in the classroom and not the one who is responsible for looking out for the other 25 kids.  Stick it out, stay strong, and take care of yourself!

ETA: that I just checked out the spirited child book this week as it also came recommended.  PM if you need/want more moral support
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright on January 12, 2018, 08:50:47 AM
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.

@spookytaffy  , Just wanted to add a thanks for this excellent suggestion - we requested this and I had the meeting with the assistant principal and school counselor yesterday. The AP said they had identified two very specific trigger points for my kid.  We are going to start working on a plan with the teacher/AP/and StarKid next week.

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post because I think this is going to make a huge difference for us.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright on June 11, 2018, 02:18:51 PM
Thought I'd update this post in case anyone ever searches the forums for similar issues.

We finally received a full evaluation from the school (we are actually still on a waitlist to see a developmental pediatrician and occupational therapist). We ended up with accommodations for OCD, GAD and giftedness (but we're not sure how gifted because he had a panic attack while testing). Also, these aren't official diagnoses - but he apparently checks enough boxes for behaviors that he can be accommodated for them without the medical diagnosis since we're still waiting for an appointment.

He also did tick a few boxes for ADHD but because the anxiety levels are so high they feel that that the impulse control is more a symptom of anxiety as opposed to ADHD. Apparently "Anxiety or ADHD" is a big debate topic right now and it comes down to what the root of the problem for the child is.

After some classroom observations it apparently became quite clear that his acting out had to do with deviating from a normal schedule (lockdown drills, substitute teachers, etc) or quarterly evaluations (he had major meltdowns every time during evaluations.)

He's "passed" his therapy which was nice but didn't end up being that helpful - but it was specifically for children with ADHD and ODD. We were just trying to get him into therapy and that was the only one they offered for his age. But now that we think we are looking at OCD, we think he'll actually need a different therapy than he's gotten.

We are grateful for the summer off from school, nervous about summer camp starting this week, but ready to move forward. Thanks to all for the input, sharing and commiseration.

Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: reeshau on June 12, 2018, 06:08:53 AM
It's good to hear you are getting some specific language for his situation.  We just went through testing with our 3-year-old with a specialist we found through a web community for gifted education in Michigan.  (we went to the Center for Neuropsychology, Learning, and Development in Ann Arbor)  Besides confidence in her specialty, I will say she did a lot to make the test successful--that is, to make sure our son was comfortable, and to pace the elements of the test to his needs.  While you would expect a school to understand these things, I think testing for giftedness, particularly in very young children, is enough of a specialization to warrant seeking it out.

It still freaks me out a bit at all the specialists, language, etc. around this topic.  But as long I see my son happy (fortunately, he is just jazzed about school--another learning environment--still novel for him) and I believe we are doing things for his good, we will press on.

Good Luck!
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: StarBright on June 12, 2018, 07:25:58 AM
@reeshau  - good to know you liked that facility. We are in NW Ohio and there seems to be a major lack of resources here (only two dev peds in the whole NW region). If we continue to be stuck on waitlists I will look into going to Ann Arbor.

The biggest issue with getting into a developmental ped or even occupational therapist here seems to be that he isn't falling behind in school. The places around here have basically shut me down when I say he is testing above grade level rather than below. I get that gatekeeping is important when resources are scarce - but it is supremely frustrating that it is so hard to find help for my kid.

The therapists office that we were able to get into won't do cognitive therapy because he is "too young", but he was clearly too old for the therapy that they provided him. We'll just keep chugging on :)
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: reeshau on June 12, 2018, 08:57:22 AM
I just finished reading "Giftedness 101" by Linda Silverman, and that was something she pointed out:  that spending on below average performance outpaces gifted spending 100:1.  On a personal level, some might think "you are doing fine--you can't complain."  But on the level of maximizing potential of the population, it's pretty dumb.  So, you basically have to approach it like a luxury:  something you really want, and are going to fund yourself.  Which is ironic given the forum we're in.  But on the other hand, being generally frugal, as well as older parents, gives us the resources to do this important thing, even if the system is ignorant or unfair.

Here's the full list in Michigan:
https://giftedinmichigan.wordpress.com/links-and-references/local-iq-testing/
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: mm1970 on June 12, 2018, 09:07:15 AM
I just finished reading "Giftedness 101" by Linda Silverman, and that was something she pointed out:  that spending on below average performance outpaces gifted spending 100:1.  On a personal level, some might think "you are doing fine--you can't complain."  But on the level of maximizing potential of the population, it's pretty dumb.  So, you basically have to approach it like a luxury:  something you really want, and are going to fund yourself.  Which is ironic given the forum we're in.  But on the other hand, being generally frugal, as well as older parents, gives us the resources to do this important thing, even if the system is ignorant or unfair.

Here's the full list in Michigan:
https://giftedinmichigan.wordpress.com/links-and-references/local-iq-testing/
I see both sides of this issue.  My older child is gifted, and our kids attend an underperforming school.  We opted to stay at this school rather than transfer him to the magnet gifted program at a different school (filled with upper middle class, wealthy families.  With attitudes. Some of them anyway.)

As someone who has been on the PTA board and the site council, I see a lot.  I have friends who get angry and frustrated at the money spent on the lower performing students.  "They are ALWAYS doing that, what about MY KID."  Well, yeah, your kid is going to be just fine.  I see why you don't like that attitude, but you can, in fact, transfer somewhere else. 

It's a delicate balance.  The school does their best.  The teachers are fantastic at challenging the kids.  We had a special GATE class last year for robotics.  Here's the thing:

- 20% of our kids are classified as homeless
- 50% are bussed
- 65% are on free or reduced price lunch
- 45% or so are English learners

It's effing HARD to teach to a combo of UMC kids and poor EL kids.  We get specific money from the district and state that specifically HAS to go to our lower income and EL students, by law.  It's freaking HARD for the PTA to raise money for field trips, classroom supplies, music, art, and PE when only 20% of the families can afford to donate or have time to volunteer.

You know what happens when you have a robotics program for gifted kids, or a field trip for gifted kids?  The parents of the non-gifted kids bitch and moan too.  "What about MY kid??"

The system itself isn't ignorant or inherently unfair.  The system can only do so much when you have a wide disparity in ability / readiness and only so much money - the money HAS to go to get those disadvantaged kids to read.  Do I like it?  No.  But did I like that my 4th grader was doing 7th grade math, and was in class with other 4th graders who were only doing 1st grade math?  No.

I'm already seeing that the extra effort the school is putting into in early reading, especially for the native Spanish speakers, is making a difference.
Title: Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
Post by: reeshau on June 13, 2018, 03:14:47 AM
The system itself isn't ignorant or inherently unfair.  The system can only do so much when you have a wide disparity in ability / readiness and only so much money - the money HAS to go to get those disadvantaged kids to read.  Do I like it?  No.  But did I like that my 4th grader was doing 7th grade math, and was in class with other 4th graders who were only doing 1st grade math?  No.

I'm already seeing that the extra effort the school is putting into in early reading, especially for the native Spanish speakers, is making a difference.

mm1970,
For sure, I do not view this as a zero-sum game; that way lies the trap that pits parents against each other.  More money to maximized gifted potential shouldn't come from funding for disadvantaged kids; both needs are valid.  Education in whole is in a mess in the US, much like medicine, where for a period of time we threw more money at it, but once that reached a certain level of pain, the funding is legally capped in many places, and scarcity rules start to apply.  And in all this mess, many other countries spend less and get better results.

One other thing I would say is that I've never imagined fully outsourcing my kids' education to a school.  In fact, it's quite a change for me in the last year to be looking at private schools / programs.  I settled in a good-not-great school district, determined not to chase the test performance (which can change drastically, by the way) and pay out the nose for a house.  Rather, I had committed to myself to be involved, and to step in if I saw gaps in the education, grades be damned.  I was worried about what my kids would know, and how prepared they were for life.  (e.g. personal finance)

Then I saw, and confirmed through testing, that my son is gifted.  And there is this whole parallel world where people could help with that--not that it absolves my of my commitment to myself, but that it could ease the burden:  I can work with him on differential equations or experimentation at home (catapults and lasers, anyone?) rather than more basic topics.

So, my view is evolving along with my child.  I am definitely still learning.