bad kindergarten transition or bad teacher

K - posted on 09/18/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




5 year old daughter started kindergarten so happy, social smart and excited. 1 week in I hear about warning slaps (but cant tell me who taught her that work), then time outs (ok that's typical). So I decide to watch and see. After school everyday she comes home, angry, will cry easy (nothing ever made her cry before), will act impulsively (running off suddenly), is having bad dreams, and by the 4th week told me she was too sick to go to school (so we kept her home on a Friday). The last day I picked her up from school she told me her teacher told her that her home work assignment was to cut her nails (what?!) and that she didn't get to have her take home lunch because the teacher told her to go wash her hands, when she came back the teacher had locked the door (with her lunch inside) and left with the other kids. That day she cried for hours after school and it took dinner, ice cream, balloon and lots of hugs for our daughter to return to normal. Is this a normal transition reaction to kindergarten? Its been 5 weeks and it seems to be getting worse and the anger lasting longer.


[deleted account]

No, that is not normal at all. Have you spoken to or emailed the teacher? It is common for kids to be more irritable after school--they are spending a lot more time on structured activities, and often their sleep schedule changes for school, so they need time to adjust, which can take months, but this seems a little excessive to me.

It is common for kindergarteners to "misunderstand" some things the teacher does, or fear speaking up to the teacher to let her know something is wrong or get clarification. I would definitely have emailed the teacher about the lunch. It is possible that the teacher didn't realize she didn't have her lunch with her when she locked the classroom, and your daughter may have been too "shy" to speak up and ask her to go back to get the lunch. I don't mean "shy" in the social sense of the word, teachers can be intimidating to even the most social and outgoing kids--especially if she is one who likes to make other's happy and fears upsetting adults in her life or getting into trouble.

Clipping nails for homework is another situation I would have asked her teacher about. My son has on occasion "made up" homework assignments, so if they seem a little too bogus, I just send the teacher a quick email saying something like "J was not clear on the homework assignment today, could you clarify for me?" and I usually get a more usual list, or in some cases if he really does have to build a Buffalo Bill head from a coffee can, I get it from her so I know he's just not trying to make me do something crazy.

All that to say, just email the teacher and let her know your daughter seems to be struggling. Most teachers are more than willing to help out once they know there is a problem. A lot of times they are completely oblivious because the child is a perfect little angel at school (because she is afraid of getting in trouble), then breaks down at home. Once the teacher knows about the problem, she can do things to make your daughter more comfortable about speaking up when something is bothering her. Usually, a teacher will try to have a few short one on one conversations with her first, then work up to having her ask a question or speak up in front of the whole class. When a child starts school, it can feel like everyone is watching, which can be inhibiting when the child just wants to blend in and not stand out.

Also, talk to the other parents. Are their children having the same issues? Ask if they are doing anything special at home to help their children cope with the transition or become more comfortable in the school setting.
Talk to parents who have older kids who were in her class in the past. Ask them what they thought about her and how their kids adjusted to school.

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