6 Year Old Son will not Sit Still!

Erin - posted on 01/29/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Any advice from parents who have gifted children in the school system on how to get my 6 year old boy to sit still, focus and actually complete tasks. Also does not care about his academic acheivements. His teacher said he's the smartest kids she's ever taught, yet he doesn't care to complete his classwork. What can I do to help?

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Ellen - posted on 02/01/2009

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OH! Diet! Almost forgot about that. There is a bot of research going on that makes sense. Basically the theory is that their little brains are processing so fast that they are using up all their bodies energy reserves before scheduled meal times. If they have a high protein snack mid morning and mid afternoon (peanutbutter crackers and the such) it will tide their bodies over for meals. It was noted that these children tend to get in a nutritional low at those times and their bodies resonse was to speed up - resembling ADHD. I've been trying it with a student at school and so far so good.

Ellen - posted on 02/01/2009

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I have actually experienced the same thing. My son was constantly on yellow or red light in class and felt no reason to perform in class bcause it was such a bad situation. I dived right into research on ADHD and the such. I had the doctor check it out (multiple times). He kept telling me it's not ADHD it's just gifted. Talk about really feeling alone there. I strated to read anything and everything I could on giftedness and found that a lot of the time they get mis labled as ADHD and the such. Some doctors also give them both lables. I just kept brining my research to the school and showing them that he is not ADHD and that they needed to be more aware of his needs. I would print things from the internet and copy from books to show them he was not ADHD. Last year the teacher would not really work with us on this at all. This year after a rocky start the teacher has worked with us. I basically followed the RTI plan that they usewith struggling students. I asked that she identify 1-2 target behaviors she wanted fixed. I made her get real specifc with the behavior "on-task" was not enough. She found one when it came down to it. We then targeted how often the offense was occuring (3 times in a 15 minute period). From there we wrote a goal statement "Z will require no more than 3 redirects for bluting out in a 15 minute period". We put a chart on his desk with little blocks for the time periods and the goal statement on top on his desk. We discussed it with him and told him to bring it home daily for reinforcement from home. As long as he stayed within the peramiters of his contract he did not get  stick pulled. This finally gave him success at home. We stayed on this goal for 4-6 weeks and have recently changed it down to 1 redirect. It has totally changed his attitude about school and he was so proud to have a report card that didn't have needs improvement all over the behavior section.

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Jennifer - posted on 11/07/2012

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Hi Kylie,



I am really interested in that link you have to testing your children from home on the childs working memory. Can you send it to me?



Thanks.

Jennifer

Kylie - posted on 02/05/2009

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Erin, I didn't go to extremes with the diet. Just high protein, low carb and avoid the 5 colours recently banned in Europe. If you want to try everything, there is a really good website developed here in Aus based on a diet developed by a major leading hospital here but that the author has taken further. Her website is: http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/. I have bought two of her books and do implement alot of the information but have yet to do the whole thing.



 

Erin - posted on 02/05/2009

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Kylie, that's great news your son is doing better!  Yesterday Alex had a good day after we hand a discussion about making good food choices at school and at home.  We are working on eatting better (ALL of us!) and how food helps us have a better attitude.  So hopefully this will continue and the novelty won't wear off.  Parent/Teacher conference is next Friday so we'll get some more insight for sure.  I'm nervous to bring up skipping a grade next school year because I'm not sure about it.  He seems so comfortable with his classmates right now...  Maybe too comfortable!! 



 



Anyone who's working on the diet: What are some of the food choices you are making?  What are you cutting out?  I heard anything wrapped in celophane, food colored items, sugars and dairy.

Jennifer - posted on 02/05/2009

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My son's 6 too and won't sit still for anything! Even with his homework, he figits. I'm on my way to getting him tested for the gifted program for next year and hopefully things will be different. It's really been a struggle because stuff has come so easily to him. I hear ya! Good luck!

Kylie - posted on 02/04/2009

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Just wanted to give a quick update. I spoke to my son's 1st Grade Teacher this week and she advised that she is really happy with him - he sits still, follows all instructions, completes all his work and is doing really well achievement wise. I explained that I was concerned re: Kindy Teacher's concerns and she advised that yes she knew of them as the Kindy Teacher had briefed her on him but she had so far seen absolutely no evidence of that behaviour. It is early days but what a great start - I am so hopeful it will continue.



Also on questioning my son he said the work is much more interesting so maybe the younger grades are just boring and the boys aren't quite so good at articulating that to us!



Good luck Erin and Stefanie and I look forward to hearing how your boys go.

Stefanie - posted on 02/02/2009

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Skipping in the middle of the year may not be a great choice. They have already established a routine in the classroom. The grade cirriculum (sp?) has already started building and jumping in at the middle may not be a good thing. If you wait until the first of a school year then everyone is in a new setting and learning about everything together. But, just because I didn't do that doesn't mean it isn't possible or the best for yours!

Erin - posted on 02/02/2009

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I am so glad I posted because it is comforting to know other parents have gone through this and prevailed.  I am certainly taking each piece of information and internalizing it to see it if could work with Alex.  Today I am attempting the diet change, slowly.  We'll see how that goes!  I'm going to make a conference date with his teacher to discuss his options.  I can't imagine skipping a grade in the middle of the school year is an option??  Thanks everyone for your amazing insight!!

Kylie - posted on 02/02/2009

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Just a quick one because it is bed time here but I read a great book on raising spirited kids and one tip for the active kid that won't sit still at the table is to buy swivel chairs for the dining room table. I really need to look into this because all my children rock on their chairs and my husband even walks around with his dinner plate in his hand. Mind you they do not wander mindlessly as in ADHD, they are just active! Isn't it amazing how once you have kids you really start to analyze yourself and your partner so much more!

Stefanie - posted on 02/01/2009

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OK...I have been sick for 3 days so sorry if this bounces around some.



My son was GT early. By 9mths he was walking, by 18mths he was building 100 piece puzzles by himself, by 3 he was writing, by 4 he was well past kindergarden standards.



Needless to say, he has a late birthday and started K when he was a few months shy of turning 6. Well he was bored beyond tears but didn't know how to explain it to us. The work was so easy he would do it in his head and never turn it in. He would watch the teacher do "right and left" games where she was mimicking (sp?) them so they would learn R and L and he walked up to her and asked her why she wasn't using her R and L at the right times and doing the opposite. He constantly got in trouble for getting up, talking, being aggressive towards others, shouting out answers...the list goes on and on. It was a constant battle. The teacher he had was FABULOUS! She worked with us on first grade material and towards the end of the year he was able to go to first grade during reading and sometimes math. She said he needed to be tested for GT.



When he went to test the only section that they could read to him was math, the rest he had to read. The lady quit reading to him on the math test after 3 questions because he was ahead of her. He was allowed 45mins to finish each test. Math took him the longest and he finished in 15mins. There were 100 questions or something like that. He passed all the tests in the 95th or higher percint. The test was on a first grade level.



After much research and prayer, we decided to grade skip him. We decided that because he is so active in soccer, chess club, and makes friends easy that he could handle it. We hated to leave his friends behind, but we knew he wouldn't function in a classroom where he already knew all the material and proved this. We thought about everything from UIL restrictions on junior high sports, to puberty, to others driving 2yrs before him, to his size, everything. We also asked him what he wanted to do. He wanted to be in the same class as his best friend. We explained that even if he went to 1st grade he may not be in his class. I also have made play dates with his "younger" group of friends which is helping a lot!



I never thought that I would see such a huge change. Other than a really bad communication problem with his teacher this year and her not wanting a grade skip kid, things have been wonderful. He is a new kid. He went from always busy and into things. Never listening or on schedule. Always fighting with us and picking on his brother. To an amazing boy with a ton of talent. The fights are less, the understanding is more. He is less to be wiggly and more to sit still. He helps watch his brother and goes to bed when asked. I just can't believe it. Now it wasn't over night and has taken some time, but wow...I never thought he would ever get to this point any time soon. We still have our difference of opinion and all out knock down drag out fights just like with any stubborn child, but they are few and far between.



 



...except at the dinner table..if you figure that one out please let me know. He refuses to eat hardly ever or sit at the table and actually eat. Even if we go out. He just won't do it. He has to get up, eat a bite and then go off. This is really frustrating. I got so mad one time that he wouldn't eat that I duct taped him to the chair and told him he couldn't get up until he ate 3 bites of everything on his plate. That equals 9 bites total. I sat there with him the whole 3 hours. It was awful. He thought it was a game and I was playing and wouldn't make him eat. I told him I just wanted him to listen, mind, and eat. After 3 hours we finally got through it. (NOTE: the tape was not on tight, I didn't leave him at all, I didn't abuse him in any way. In the end he took the tape off himself.) 



After that awful night, he sat at the table for about 2 days. Then it was back to busy. I couldn't do the tape again because if it didn't work the first time, there was no point in going through that again. Ok...now that I have rambled long enough...let me know what else you would like to know that I have tried!...and what you have tried that has or hasn't worked for getting them to eat, and/or eat at the table!

Rita - posted on 01/30/2009

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My son is 6  and can't keep still either.  When you find a solution, can you please let me know? 



 My son can't even sit still to eat a meal, let alone do school work in class.  He constantly rambles, sings, wiggles and says annoying phrases to keep noise happening all the time, yet he was reading at a grade 3 level in kindergarten.  I know part of the problem is disinterest and boredom in the classroom and he'd rather make funny faces and get the other kids laughing, but it's becoming a real problem.  They don't advance kids to a higher grade here until they are in grade 3, so skipping a grade isn't an option.   His teacher tries to give him more advanced work, but she only has access to so much.  There have been many occasions where she's had to isolate him to keep him from disrupting the other students.  I'm just waiting for that phone call from the school principal.   He's so intelligent, yet socially inept with his peers as he has nothing in common with them.  He gets along so much better with older children.  I hope there's a do-able solution out there, short of home schooling as he really needs the social interaction. 



I think I'll try changing his diet for a while and see if it helps, but in the meantime I'll check back here occasionally to see if there are any more helpful suggestions.



Thanks

Kylie - posted on 01/30/2009

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Hi Erin The website is http://www.memoryandlearning.com/index.p.... Although the information on the site is mainly aimed at children struggling in the academic area, it does still apply to gifted children who actually learn to compensate and so do not show the same degree of difficulty as other children (Tracy actually confirmed this in an email to me, she is very helpful).



The reason I looked into it was that my daughter was scoring in the top 98-99% for testing in linguistics but her working memory was in the 79th%. Because she was so far above the average still the school was not concerned but the child psych was and so was the speech therapist (auditory processing issue). It did affect her in other areas, particularly at home. Anyway after researching it, I realised that was what was also affecting my son.



Now just as an aside again with the diet - he started back at school this week and had eggs Wednesday (no problems), no eggs Thursday and came home a little upset because he found it hard to concentrate and follow instructions, Friday had eggs again and scored 21/23 in his first spelling test - correctly spelling words his sister had in her 3rd Grade spelling test. I know that if he had had that test on the Thursday, his result would have been half as good due to his inability to concentrate.



Stefanie, I would love to hear more too. The school my children are at is really quite conservative in regards to grade skipping and has actually told me that there is really no point in testing them if I intend to keep them at the school as there is really no more they can do for them than what they are doing now. At present my children are really happy where they are and learning well. I do worry more for my son than my daughter as they are very different in temperament and while my daughter is very social and can fit within any circle, my son gravitates to the "bright" boys anywhere from 2-4 years his senior. He finds transitioning very difficult so I am in no rush to move him at the moment.



Look forward to hearing more from you.

Erin - posted on 01/30/2009

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Thanks, Stefanie for contributing.  I would like to hear more about your situation.  Grade skipping is not something I really want for him since he's made great friends in his class.  Also his teacher hasn't suggested it and they did advance another child earlier in the school year, so I suspect he may not be emotionally ready?  Tell me more about your son's schooling.

Erin - posted on 01/30/2009

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Wow.  Great advice.  I am certainly going to try the diet change.  What is that website you referred to regarding "working memory"?  Thanks for your help!!

Stefanie - posted on 01/29/2009

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In kindergarten when my little one was busy and not turning stuff in, we looked into skipping him up a grade. He tested off the charts and credit by examed out of first grade. He was SUPER BUSY all the time and we tried so much...I would ramble here, but I am getting kinda sleepy, I can go on more detail if you wish with what we tried.....After the long, long, long struggle to decide on yes or no, looking at long term and short, it was the best decision so far. We are in the 4th six weeks and he has made a 180 degree turn around on his "busyness". He still is with the GT kids, and passes by most of them, and if he stays on this track he could skip 4th grade as well if we choose to do that. I would look at the teachers and ask for examples of the work he has. Does he know it already so he doesn't want to do it? Is he bored? Does he sit next to a talker?...I have been down this path...it is a struggle but I don't believe in ADHD drugs to contol my child. (It is ok for some, I choose not to) Please let me know if you would like to talk more...I would love to give  you ideas to try, with a little more sleep:)

Kylie - posted on 01/29/2009

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Hi Erin, my son turns 6 in March and was on a communication book for most of Kindergarten last year because of similar issues. His teacher complained because he would "zone out" in class, not follow instructions and/or complete his work and did not copy from the whiteboard (would try and do the task from memory).



The school wanted to test him for giftedness due to his sister being identified as highly gifted linguistically but I refused as I prefer to have control over what information is included in his school file. I have been liaising with a child psych who has referred him to a leading specialist in twice exceptional children for an assessment but I deferred the appointment until July this year to see if he improves with age. He started Year 1 this week so hopefully will be a little more settled.



Due to my daughter's test results I am actually now looking at problems with his working memory which includes attention and concentration and many children with the inattentive form of ADHD do have problems with working memory so they may exist comorbidly or it may just be 1 of the problems. There is a great website that I can send you a link to where you can actually test their working memory from home. It was developed by a leading child psych in the U.K. who developed the Pearson test (I think) for working memory utilised by schools in the U.K., U.S. and here in Aus. I have been in contact with the psychologist and she is wonderful. I am having my son do the test on the weekend.



I was stressing a little as he does struggle to keep his concentration but when reading a book with him recently and checking his comprehension both through questions relating to direct recall of facts, inference from the text and his ability to predict, was pleasantly surprised at how well he comprehended and remembered the text while kicking his feet, fiddling with his thumbs and watching the Australian Open. A friend, who is a Special Ed Teacher, pointed out that he just has alot going on in his mind - just like his mum!



One other thing (sorry for rambling but I was desperate for any help last year) that has helped is diet. We noticed a huge difference in his ability to concentrate when he is on a high protein, low carb and greatly reduced preservative and colours diet. After an extended period of approximately 10 day of eggs for breakfast every day and reduced carbs, he was taken off his communication book and stayed off it for the rest of the year - so that may also be something worth looking at.



Also you know some children, like mine, while being naturally academically gifted are not that way inclined and until they are a bit older and understand, well actually appreciate, the benefits of doing well, may not choose to perform in class. Both my children are very intrinsically motivated so no amount of bribery or coercion will work with them.



Good luck and keep me posted if you hear of any other tips that may be helpful! 

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