My 4 year old has been going to pre-kindergarten for a little over a month. He has been having problems in class behaving.

He talks back to his teachers and tells them "no" along with trying to do what he feels like doing. I have talked to him and he believes for some reason if he acts bad he won't have to go back because he dislikes big boy school. he says it is the work part of school he dislikes. He can do the work and teacher says he is smart and remembers a lot of things.

I have tried sitting him down talking to him explaining he has to attend school. I have taken toys away along with T.V. I really need advice on how I can make him understand school is important and he has to go and not talk back. This is my first and only child and I just don't know what else I can do.

3 Answers 3


At 4 years old a sense of something being important hasn't quite developed yet. Trying to explain to him the benefits of going to school for the sake of his future is kind of a moot discussion. You might have to appeal to something else instead.

Try emphasizing the good of going to school that benefits him; emphasize the things he enjoys versus hates about going to school. If he is intelligent and is picking up topics quickly, ask him to explain to you what he learned. Ask him about the friends he has made. Do this daily and do it consistently! Perhaps have a reward system in place. If he does well at school with no negative notes from his teachers, he gets a little extra TV that day. Positive reinforcement for good behavior are what kids need. Take a proactive approach rather than reactive.

I do have one recommendation. Please don't take his toys away. As tempting as it is since kids love their toys, kids need toys and at the end of the day, it's how they decompress. Playtime assists with them dealing with their day.

  • 1
    +1 for not taking the toys. In addition to having to go somewhere he hates, that place is taking everything he enjoys from him at home, too! Not a good motivation for him.
    – Layna
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 5:31

There are a number of different approaches to education, especially when it comes to ECE - one school of thought (and the one I find best) is the idea that the child's enjoyment of learning is the most important thing to foster at this early age. Therefore all learning comes best disguised as a game or hands-on activity, or by exposure to things which stimulate creativity and imagination - sometimes without a lot of guidance or rules.

Waldorf and Montessori schools both take this approach, and if your child is having a hard time with traditional schooling, you may want to consider putting him in a setting where his learning is self-directed (though consciously guided), and where he can leave the "work" at school at the end of the day (Waldorf doesn't start homework until 3rd grade, I'm not sure how Montessori does it).

Young children need to be able to move around and they need to have fun exploring the world - that's what will make them continue to love learning later in life. Whatever curriculum type you choose for him, I'd say make sure there's not a lot of sitting at desks, and no (or at least little) homework. Also it's a good sign if music or movement are incorporated into the curriculum, as well as painting/drawing (especially for the young kids). My experience going to a Waldorf school (especially kindergarten) was that I couldn't wait to go every day, and I just wished they had school on the weekends. I won't say there weren't some rough patches in middle and high school, but even now learning is my number 1 favorite thing.


Maybe the child just isn't ready for school. Everyone seems to be rushing things and pushing things way to fast on these babies these days.

I only know from my own experience if you push a child to go to school when they hate it and don't listen to what they are telling you it will only further make them hate it and most likely rebel. I know as I did the same thing and STILL hate everything about school.

I sent my son to school and he loved it at first but after the 2nd year of pre k he was done with a capitol D! I pulled him out and we unschool now. He is also very smart only now he loves to learn because it's not being forced on him or having huge expectations put on him to have to learn things he isn't interested in right now or isn't ready to learn yet.

Every child is different, cookie cutter education isn't always the best option.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .