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My Kindergartener Won’t Behave at School

Updated on August 26, 2011

The first year of school can be very difficult for both the kids and the parents. Like all life changes, there is an adjustment period. Kindergarten takes some getting used to. Sometimes kids have a hard time adjusting to kindergarten and it seems like they are bringing home a note every day. However, there are steps you can take to get your kindergartener to behave at school.

First, it is important to remember that your child is only 5 or 6 years old. You can’t expect them to learn how to behave in school overnight. While every child does need discipline, don’t over-do it. Know the difference between a note and a warning. There is a difference.

Be active in the school experience. This goes for both the parent and the child. The more a child is interested in school, the more eager they will be to do well. Find out what your child enjoys and let them get involved in extracurricular activities at school. The school sends home flyers often with events and activities coming up. Read them together with your child and find out which ones interest them. You don’t have to fork out a ton of money either to get more involved in your child’s school. It can be as simple as taking them to the book fair or the school dance. Work on a school project together as a family. You could even volunteer as a classroom helper every once in a while or chaperone a field trip. When you become more interested in school, your child will too.

Use positive reinforcement. A lot of times, children respond better to positive reinforcement that to negative feedback. I’m not saying don’t punish your child. If a kid is breaking things or getting in fights at school, then they need to be punished in order to learn that it is wrong. Ground them from the television, spank their butt, whatever works. What I am saying is don’t dwell on the negative. Use punishment as a reaction, not as a threat. When you drop you kindergartener off at school, remind them that if they do good that you will take them to the park or let them have ice cream or whatever reward you want to give. It works a lot better than telling them what their punishment will be if they don’t do well at school.

Praise them. We always seem to have plenty to say when our children misbehave, but we should tell them more when they are being good. When your child does a good job, let them know it. At their first school play, when they get every line wrong, tell them what a great job they did. At their first school dance when they stand in the corner shy and only finally come out and dance the last 5 minutes, tell them they were the best dancer there. Kids are people and they get nervous and shy and self-conscious just like the rest of us. It is our job as parents to build their self-esteem and make them feel proud of who they are.

Lastly, and most importantly, just enjoy your children. They don’t stay young and cute for very long so make the most of it while it lasts!


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