3 yr old son having difficulty in preschool

Jdlomma - posted on 02/29/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )




Hi, I am new to this forum and would really appreciate all your thoughts because I feel confused, desperate, etc... I have a son who turned 3 last Dec and is an only child. He started going to preschool last Sept and is the youngest in his class of eleven 3 to 4 yr old kids. During the first parent-teacher conference last fall, I mentioned to his teacher that I noticed my son had a very short attention span and asked whether she noticed anything in class. She said she did and gave me a development assessment questionnaire to fill out. I recently had a meeting with his teacher and the school director to discuss the result of the questionnaire that the teacher and I filled out and was shocked to hear them describe my son's behavior in class. He doesn't sit still during storytimes, gets distracted easily, doesn't follow instructions, doesn't play with other kids, etc. I noticed he doesn't like to do group activities in other settings, but was shocked to hear that they think my son is socially and emotionally delayed and recommend my son to be evaluated. The teacher and I both agree that my son speaks very well and is fine in fine/gross motor skills. At home, he loves reading and can focus on stories when I read with him. He can play happily with his train set/blocks for a long time. He is very friendly and affectionate with adults and older kids. I find that it's in a group setting that he has most difficulty paying attention and following instructions. I don't know what to think... Is he showing early signs of ADHD? Will he just grow out of it? I even thought about taking him out of preschool and home schooling or trying a montessori school. Please help me by sharing your thoughts!


Jodi - posted on 02/29/2012




No, he is THREE. 3 years olds HAVE short attention spans, they can't focus for long periods of time. He is displaying very NORMAL behaviour.

I would suggest that if he is the youngest in the class, your son may NOT be ready. Boys tend to develop socially and emotionally a little later than girls, and a boy who is on the younger end of the school year spectrum is more likely to need to be held back. There is no shame in that.

The fact is, I would be thinking he is probably not ready for pre-school, and maybe try again next year.

And I will point out again that he is 3. 3 year olds don't need school yet. If they are ready for it, great, but some simply aren't.

Sally - posted on 03/02/2012




He's three. He's male. He's the youngest in the class. Any teacher who expects him to sit still, stay focused, and interact with the other kids in a "big kid" way seriously needs a class in normal child development.

You probably don't want my opinion on homeschooling because after doing a lot of research, I believe that industrial schools are one of the most damaging things we do to our children. I don't intend for my girls to ever go to one.

HobieCT - posted on 07/20/2014




I can give you my personal experience with my now 3.5 year old "busy" boy... My son started out at 2.5 in a very unstructured preschool that I adored due to it's focus on emotional/social development. He was the most active child in the classroom and was busily bopping from one activity to another, not really engaging with other children because he was totally overstimulated. His "wiring" makes him a highly active child, he is very social on playdates (described as hilarious, really friendly etc). He was/is totally overstimulated in a larger group setting, and we eventually switched him to a highly structured preschool with lots of highly active play outside school. We do believe he is delayed in his ability to self-regulate etc, but he will very likely grow out of it. Maybe he has ADHD, maybe not, I think it's too early to say. I think my child would likely have been labeled "active" or "busy" 25 years ago, not pathologized- but in the end I can't change the world or make everyone more patient with him. If society's expectations are that the busy boys sit for circle time and have calm bodies- I have to help get my son "there" as best I can. That being said, I have learned to change my child's environment to try to set him up for success- not make him work SO hard to fit into environments I idealized or thought would be "good" for him. Just my journey so far. Good luck, and hopefully his teachers will be loving, understanding, patient and respectful of children's differences.

Kaitlin - posted on 02/29/2012




I was going to say the same thing as Jodi. You're his mother- you see him all the time. They see him and seem to be comparing him to older children, well of course he is going to be behind them- he's younger. That doesn't sound like anything abnormal to me at all.

You an always try again next fall.

Jenny_D - posted on 02/29/2012




My own girls have proved to me that children are all VERY different from one another. It sounds to me like your child is a typical 3 year old boy and it is probably just his personality. He might just be a little overwhelmed by a larger group setting seeing as he is an only child and like you said, he is the youngest in his class. You mentioned that he seems right on track at home so I honestly would not be worried at this point. I worked at a preschool before and I can tell you that he is not getting very much one on one time and maybe he is just still adjusting :o)


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Tammy - posted on 03/02/2012




Perhaps your son is not yet ready for preschool.

I don't understand why so many parents feel like they have to push their kid to achieve so young! Each child learns at their own pace. Start your child out in MyGym or Gymboree classes before actual preschool. They have what is called "circle time", where the child sits with you and learns how to sit quietly.

I did this with my daughter and it genuinely prepared her for preschool.

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