15 answers

Self Regulation Skills/impulsiveness/teaching Self Control

Hi moms,
Just had a parent/teacher conference and was told told I need to help my daughter manage her impulsive actions and self regulation skills and to help her recognize other's personal space. Here's some background on etc. :
My daughter is going to be 5 in March. She's smart and reasonable and tens to be strong willed. She is active, intensive and loud-voiced and she needs to spend a lot of energy during the day. But there are times lately when she is happy playing in her room by herself for a decent amount of time, and she has 'quite time' everyday if not an actual nap.
Her dad and I are Christians and are trying to raise her up in a Godly christian manor, she has a set of 7 'guidelines/rules' that we go over every morning. I am trying not to be extremely strict or overbearing b/c thats how my mother was and it squached my creative side not to mention me self esteem growing up.
We have a calendar type of chart so she know whats to expect in consequences and we talk to her about behavior things she does etc. Rewards charts do not work, the tangible 'prizes' like getting a milkshake as a treat or having just mommy time where she gets to pick an activity doesn't work. She could care less she has 10 princess stickers and that means she gets something special. So we don't do those.
Her teacher said that one example was that our daughter was washing her hands and she splashed a little bit of water on two girls. Noe threw water at them but after she was done washign her hands before she dried them she sprinkled the water on the girls and they ran to the arts n crafts teacher saying "ohh so and so thre water at us". And the teacher knows my daughter from last year and this shcool year and knew it wasn't done maliciously, my daughter was teasing and 'having fun'.
So my question is how do I teach my four and a half year old better self control skills and self regulation skills, not using reward charts? (As of up to now we do talk though thing, so much that it feels like most of my day is explaining what to do, not just what not to do)
Thanks!

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We haven't been able to play the red light/green light games or be consistent with anything since the conference unfortunately. My daugyter's teach wants to schedule a conference with myself, dad, and the teacher in the arts n craft area(because she see's my daughter a lot). But we havent scheduled a meeting yet only because my daughter has the flu(regular kind) and not today an ear infection and has been miserable. But when she gets a little better I'm juct going to reinforce positive behavior and reiterate that she ask before she 'teases' other girls whther it's splashing water or pulling on a ponytail and if the other person says no to respect their answer. I don't expect my daughter to be a mini adult by any means and duh she's 4 yrs old. So THANKS to all the moms for your responses!!!

Featured Answers

It seems to me that she's getting conflicting messages at school and at home. At school those little tattletalers should have been reprimanded for squealing. It's obvious she gets in trouble for everything and they pile on. Sorry, but I have a child who that happened to and I resent it.

At 4, how much self control do you expect her to have? She's still a baby. She's loud and boisterous and that's okay. It's her personality. She wants to have fun. My now 17 year old was the same way. We put him in Karate to help with the self control and the energy. It worked. Try it.

Reward good behavior. Ignore the not so good.

YMMV
LBC

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It seems to me that she's getting conflicting messages at school and at home. At school those little tattletalers should have been reprimanded for squealing. It's obvious she gets in trouble for everything and they pile on. Sorry, but I have a child who that happened to and I resent it.

At 4, how much self control do you expect her to have? She's still a baby. She's loud and boisterous and that's okay. It's her personality. She wants to have fun. My now 17 year old was the same way. We put him in Karate to help with the self control and the energy. It worked. Try it.

Reward good behavior. Ignore the not so good.

YMMV
LBC

1 mom found this helpful

I would ask the teacher for more examples of what your daughter has done that makes the teacher think she needs to manage her impulsivity more. That way you can talk specifically with your daughter about how a specific action was a bad choice. If this was the only incident, just laugh and say "whatever". Whenever my son even gets color changes or a sad face when younger in school I ask the teacher for all the events that happened up to him getting the color change and why exactly he had his color changed. Some times it was well deserved and others it was just almost a whole group color change and if you were near the disruptive child you got a color change too. But if she is disrupting the whole class than a good talking to is in order and specific expectations have to be set. My son has ADHD and med's helped a lot (and no I'm not advocating medicine for every child just so you know where he comes from)but he also needs specific expectations and examples from his past actions and the appropriate responses helped a lot. Repetition helps a lot at this age and though it might sound really dorky, role playing about appropriate choices helps too. And if invading personal space is the main issue you can totally have fun teaching about that. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not sure what the answer is here. I know when my son has done similar stuff we've just kept going over what being kind to others looks like. For example, if you flick water at someone and they don't like it, just don't do it to them. And then we correlate it with something he doesn't like, and tell him how he feels when that happens is how the other child feels when he flicks water, and usually ends with "so let's try to not do that." He still needs reminding, but if it's not something harmful (it didn't actually HURT anyone or anything), I refuse to punish him. I'd rather remind him 100 times to be nice than punish him for something that really wasn't wrong. I don't know what the teacher told you, but I'd ask what, if any, action they take after something like this is done. If it's hurtful, it's one thing, but if they punish for stuff like this, then I'd ask what they do to tattle-tailers b/c no one likes that, and when kids are constantly tattled on and punished for little things that aren't harmful it has a negative effect on their view of school, their learning ability, and their creativity. Honestly, if a teacher told me that story, I'd probably say, "Really? In a day when we have kids bringing guns to school you're honestly concerned about one child flicking a few drops of water on another?" You can always remind her about personal space, and being nice to others, but if all the examples are like this, I'd let them all slide. Correct, sure (tell her the best way to act in a situation), but only punish when something bad actually happens.

1 mom found this helpful

I think all 4 year olds are fun and impulsive. Some kids like to tattle! Doesn't sound like she is being bad....but just talking to her and letting her know appropriate classroom behavior, etc will help. It may take her longer to catch on - but every child has a different personality - my brother was a class clown and he was constantly getting in trouble with teachers at school, but just because he was so smart! Everyone loved him because of his carefree and fun attitude, but the teachers found him unruly. He is now a lawyer in Manhattan and very successful. The teachers couldn't appreciate him or learn to adapt to his ways - so my mom was always getting phone calls, etc. Sounds like the teacher could have better classroom management skills and deal with conflict resolution between students. I think you are doing a good job - sometimes charts just don't work for some....but it sounds like your daughter is probably very smart and cares about other people, so maybe just using consistent reiteration will help her. I would also talk to her teacher about keeping her occupied with other things, etc - she may just be bored or trying to make friends....it's hard to know how to interact with other kids sometimes, so she may want to befriend some of those girls and she doesn't know how. I would just say, next time, instead of splashing them with water, why not try giving them a compliment? Something like that....? 4 only lasts for so long, so I'm sure she will grow out of some of this...

1 mom found this helpful

I would also ask if there is anything else other than flicking water. Like others have mentioned--flicking water doesn't hurt anyone and there is only so much you can expect of a 4 y.o. in terms of self-control. They must have rules in their classroom--is this breaking a rule? Maybe it falls under something like keep hands and objects to self, but it seems that if anything that bothers another child can get a child in trouble that that is an impossible standard (because plausibly your daughter could look at another kid the wrong way--would that be against the rules too?).

Something you can do at home to help is play a game where you dance to music and when the music stops you have to stop. Also play red light green light.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh my goodness she is 4 !!! Acting on impulse is normal for that age. I do not know what is wrong with teachers these days. Do they even take a course in early childhood develpment ?? Now what you can do is praise correct behavior and discourage incorrect behavior. Say " well done" followed by a hug and kiss will go a long long way. Say " No honey please don't do it that way. Let me show you you how and let's try together" when you see behavior you want to discourage.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter needed the same skills taught in preschool and she was able to change her behavior when:
given a different action to do. For instance, if she wants to be playful and teasing; she can ask first, - "want me to sprinkle some water on you?" then wait for and respect their response. OR, she can change her voice and pretend she's talking to the water... then ask the near-by girls if they think the water is listening? If the other girls find it too strange, your daughter can move on and think of (with you) new ways to be playful without offending others.
For personal space: explain that anything closer than an arm's length to a person's nose is their personal space - stay out of it; unless you have permission, "may I come closer?".
Self control: when things are calm, Make a list of things that help self control ( counting, breathing, walking away, getting help, holding a pillow...); read a book made for children that will address the times self control behaviors are needed...
Then, any time she forgets the above skills, you remind her-as it happens or right before a potential moment( like right before school, or right before visiting a friend or the store, etc.), and if her behavior doesn't change, she'll go to time out for four minutes (until she turns five, then five minutes...) to give her time to relax and be able to use her skills when they are needed.
The above was very helpful for her.
Two years later she couldn't focus on school work without ADHD medication and she has it for school. Meanwhile, she was a well-behaved student the whole time.

1 mom found this helpful

I would ask the teacher about the whole class. How out of the norm is her behavior? And are the kids that she splashed tattle tales?

With my stepdaughter, about the only thing that got to her was social activity. If she couldn't go play, she was upset. But you could take all her toys and she'd just look at you. Maybe your daughter is the same way.

We struggled a lot with my stepdaughter. She'd cut holes in her clothes, read books instead of do class work, run around and be silly instead of be seated. This went on through elementary school. 4th grade was really hard. This is probably not going to be an easy fix.

One thing we did was remind her that there are appropriate times to play and appropriate times to be serious. Church - time to be serious. Playground - time to play. Math class - time to be serious. Recess - time to play. We'd preface an event by asking her if it was serious time or fun time, or a bit of both.

Hope that helps.

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