4 year old struggling at school

Randi - posted on 10/03/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )




My 4 y ear old son has recently started pre k and is having a really hard time learning his letters. Also his behavior is questionable. He has had 3 yellows and 1 red in a month and a half. According to him the other kids are teasing him and so he retaliates. We have talks about telling the teacher if that happens and keeping your hands to yourself but it's not getting through. His father wants to pull him out and hold him back for another year but I don't want to give up so easily. Any suggestions please? Thank you


Katherine - posted on 10/03/2012




1. Stay calm:

Recognize that you are not solely responsible for your child’s academic success. When your child comes home with a bad grade, get objective. Tell yourself, “My son came home with a “D.” That is too bad. What is he missing that he needs help with? What can I help him do so that he can succeed and take responsiblity for his work?”

2. “You are so smart!”:

Don’t praise your child for his intelligence, saying things like, “You are the brightest kid I know!” Instead make sure to praise him for working hard and for persevering at a difficult task. Children who are praised for putting in effort are more likely to keep trying when they encounter setbacks. They know they have control over their ability to learn. Children who are told they are smart have a harder time with school. They give up when they have to complete assignments that leave them feeling “not-so-smart”

3. Don’t get mad:

Instead of reacting to your child’s poor grade with anger respond with kindness and understanding. If you respond in frustration to your child’s less than perfect schoolwork, you actually decrease your child’s motivation to learn. It is important to periodically say, “I hope you know I love you no matter what your grades are.” Try to place the responsibility for his schoolwork back on your child where it belongs. Try saying, “I am sure you are disappointed with your grade. Let me know if I can help you or support you in anyway.”

4. Avoid power struggles:

When we engage in power struggles with our children all learning stops. Children cannot learn when they are upset. We need to avoid the downward spiral into conflict. We can say, “I will always love you. I want you to make good choices in life even about school. I have faith that you can turn yourself around. I will always be here if you need some suggestions.”

5. Keep your relationships positive:

The best thing you can do for your children is to maintain a loving relationship with them. Children who feel loved unconditionally will more likely do well in school. Don’t let your child feel that your approval is based on his grades. It is a recipe for disaster. Instead of wasting your energy on managing your child’s schoolwork develop ways to spend quality time with your child. It is a better use of time.

6. Talk to teachers:

Set up a meeting to talk to your son’s teachers. Make sure to set a positive tone to the meeting. Start the conversation in a non-confrontational way: “I have been noticing a decline in Sara’s grades, have you noticed anything? Is there anything I can do at home to help him? What is your opinion of her academic performance?”

7. Get tested:

Children sometimes will lag behind their peers because of subtle learning differences. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. There are standardized tests that can help pinpoint deficits in learning.

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