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I have a 6 year old Godson, we live in the Caribbean, and he's in Grade 2. He spends more time talking, playing and sometime just sitting in his class not doing anything his teacher says to do. We have taken him to different professionals to get help but no luck. He still remains the same, Very rarely he gets in the mood to do his work, but he don't even want to sit and eat his lunch so me and his parents have to take turns going to the school to make sure he eats and get feedback from the teachers.

What can we do to help him settle in school?

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    You should really try to understand his reason for behaving this way. I've had the very same "issues" in school, and the reason was very simple: I was bored, the teachers taking way too much time to explain everything. – user24021 Aug 21 '16 at 14:03
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Some thoughts on this:

1.- Some kids develop very well despite net being very focused or following orders. Is he active, happy? Is he speaking well? Reading well? Is creative? Ingenious? I would not worry to much about him being talkative, that´s mostly a good thing.

2.- From a neurological point of view apparently some kids learn to control themselves after age 7 or so. You can help them along with "simon says"-like exercises that trigger self-control regions of the brain.

3.- Usually a positive goal (or a natural penalty, like if you don't eat you will be hungry) works better than an artificial grounding or penalty. But mind development is not overnight, a not only about will, its also about slow training, so you will not 'convince him' to suddenly do things right....

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Is he able to do the work? That would be the most significant thing here. He may just be restless at this age & not able to focus well. That alone isn't much of a concern.

If he is unable to do the work, his behavior can be a way to deflect from that, as it's stressful to be in a situation where you cannot do what is being asked of you. If the work is too easy, it will also likely loose his attention, as it's not stimulating. That all said, he could also just have a hard time sitting still. I did. I was always a good student & even now I laugh if I look through old papers & show my children because every report from school says how wonderful I am in disposition yet I lack "any self control" and it was totally true. As I got older I learned to draw at my desk quietly if I couldn't focus on what was happening, but I still struggled with focus, but my grades were always great despite all of that.

I also think you can talk to the school & try to get them to work on strategies that help him, but ultimately, the school had to handle school issues. I do not personally believe that in an otherwise good home, there is a way to fix what happens in a classroom. Of course if a child is behind in school & needs help, parents can help or hire a tutor. If a child is from a chaotic home, that will harm them often in their focus & studies. But if home is good, generally, the school has to find strategies to implement in a classroom. They are supposed to be the experts here in how to handle a classroom with children of all different needs. I see it like I would never ask the school to help me sort out discipline issues at home. That isn't their time with my child, so how could they be the ones to answer that problem?

I am curious as to how it was decided that he needs someone from home there at lunch time. I have never heard of this situation with any child. All kids I have known have their allotted time to eat. If they opt not to eat, then they are just going to be hungry & typically a child will sort out they don't want to spend the afternoon hungry & decide they will eat during lunch period.

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The very first advice could be, don't scold or punish him for this

  • Try to know the reason, don't pump them for information as soon as they come from school. When he is relaxed, ask what made him happy/sad in school that day. Know if he is bullied. Watch him carefully, observe if there are any changes in his mood, behavior, opinion about school.

  • Kids generally love to be termed as 'good'. So, take this as an advantage, encourage and motivate him. Tell him if he does all his tasks in school, teacher would praise him in front of all his classmates, and you too will.

  • Know his likes, and try encouraging him comparing it to going to school and eating (like, if your kid likes a cartoon character or likes to grow up soon, tell him, if you eat more u'll get strength like us, then you too can fight against bad like your favorite cartoon character). Bribe him with his favorite food(snacks, chocolates, desserts), play time.

  • Develop a healthy competition by comparing with other kids, at the same time remember not to get your child addict to it.

  • Parents should be stronger during the process of child getting used to school, though they cry, scream in the initial stages, they will get used to the school slowly.

  • Take an opportunity to talk to his teacher (once in 2 weeks or one month), mention your kids strong and weak points, and request them to consider those points.

  • Prepare your kid before going to school, to listen to teachers, to eat well, going to the toilet on their own and to study/write well. Tell him if he eats well, he could get the energy to play/study well.

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My suggestion is the tough love approach, and I do mean love.

  1. STOP ENABLING HIM! Let him fail, and don't give him any reward for being average. You'll be doing the same forever if you don't stop now.
  2. Allow him to experience the alternative. Give him some hard work or chores to do if he does poorly as that will be his career option in life.
  3. Ground him if he fails to do his work. Eventually his desire for freedom will over come his disdain for work.
  4. Don't make him eat lunch. You can survive 30 days without food he'll be fine if he eats one meal a day like dinner at home.

Some of this may be hard to do but that comes with being a parent.

  • Grounding is actually a poor discipline method, especially if it extends for a long period of time (e.g. if he doesn't do his work for months, he'll be grounded for months). – Acire Feb 25 '16 at 16:00
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    @Erica: is this based on opinion or professional observation? Not disagreeing; genuinely interested. – MealyPotatoes Mar 21 '16 at 17:50
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    @MealyPotatoes I'd written another answer on this a while ago (see here). There's absolutely some level of personal experience and opinion that backs my position, but also backed up with some references and research. – Acire Mar 21 '16 at 19:08

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