The Family Project: Helping son adjust to kindergarten
Q. My son is having trouble adjusting to his kindergarten class. He was in pre-school for many years with the same children and did very well. He went from being a leader with lots of friends, to a classroom where he is being picked on. How can I help him adjust?
“Adjustments for some children can take months,” panelist Wanda Mercado-Arroyo said, adding, “The mother needs to give her child some time.”
Panelist Denise Continenza said that the son may be a child whose temperament doesn’t adjust to change very well.
“Mom should reach out to the school,” panelist Mike Daniels recommended. She should ask to talk with the school teacher or officials about school and her child, he said, saying, “Approach it from wanting to learn rather than ‘My son is being bullied.’”
Children in kindergarten usually attend class for more hours than pre-school, and more is required of them, panelist Pam Wallace said, adding, “Some of the son’s classmates may also be having problems. The mother could ask the teachers what they do to help their students adjust to the new environment.”
“Children need to learn to play. It is part of socialization,” Mercado-Arroyo said, urging, “Take the son to a playground, or watch him at school, and observe how he interacts with other children.” Mercado-Arroyo suggested setting up a play date with one or two of the children in the son’s class.
Panelist Chad Stefanyak said there are going to be constant changes in the son’s life, and this could provide an opportunity for him to learn how to break into established groups, saying, “Teach him by having his father share experiences he has had on making adjustments of his own.”
Panelist Mike Ramsey observed that the mother must have learned about her son’s problems from the boy himself, which he said is a hopeful sign. “This might just be about listening as a way to help the boy adjust. Just letting him know that his parents are listing and able to work with him is very important,” said Ramsey.
This week’s team of parenting experts are: Pam Wallace, program coordinator, Project Child, a program of Valley Youth House; Denise Continenza, extension educator; Mike Ramsey, program supervisor, Valley Youth House; Mike Daniels, LCSW, Psychotherapist; Chad Stefanyak, school counselor, and Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, educator and former school administrator.
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The Family Project is a collaboration of the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section and Valley Youth House’s Project Child.
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