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Old 09-09-2004, 12:11 PM
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kids and concentration

Hi Every body!
I hope there is some one out there with an answer to my problem...
My biggest thing right now is to teach my 6 year old DD how to focus on her task and actually finish it! She just is such a socializer that she just starts a conversation every 2 minutes with her neighbor (at school), her sister or us (at home), her friends (at the baby sitter). She can finish it in a flash if we move her away from people and isolate her! And boy does she do a good job! She reads chapter books, writes up all these sentences, uses advanced (for her age) vocabulary, adds, subtracts (2 digit borrowing math). Except reading which she does even with hundred distractions around her, she has to be either isolated or talked to real sternly to get her to finish any of her work.
Her 1st grade teacher says she is extremely talented and creative. The teacher and I have tried different methods so far to no permanent avail. Meghan does finish her work on the days we have had a talk.
Is any body in this situation? If so what are you doing about it?
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Old 09-16-2004, 09:16 AM
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That is a tough one. I am the parent of 2 "socializers" and I commend you for wanting to deal with it now. My older DS is by far the worst one in the far...the little guy is only 2....

If you have found that isolating her works, then she should be isolated, at least for the times when things have to be done on a deadline.

I have taught foreign language on the first & second grade level and walking into those classrooms where there is SO MUCH going on--things on every wall, every window, every blackboard so you can't even write on it, freestanding charts, boxes & bins, I have always wondered how the little ones can possibly concentrate with all that interesting stuff to look at! I found it distracting and I'm a grownup!

Maybe her teacher can have 2 desks for her--one with the rest of the group for "class work" and one by herself for "individual work."
I would also recommend a progress chart where she gets stickers for paying attention & staying on task. Reward her for every so many stickers. At 6 she is still learning how to "be in a classroom." Obviously her socializing is not affecting her schoolwork but as I'm sure you have figured out, it will later--so it's best to help her end the habit now.

My older DS is 12 and in 7th grade....and he is famous among his friends for wolfing down his whole lunch in the last 2 minutes of lunch period, because he is "visiting" the rest of the time! But at least he has gotten to the point where he can mostly save it until lunch. Up to & including 5th grade he had a really hard time with that.

Good luck! Let us know how she does. It sounds like her teacher is really committed to helping her succeed and build good habits--so you are fortunate to have a teacher like that
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Old 09-16-2004, 09:59 AM
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Hi Barbsy,
Thanks for the suggestions. I especially like the 'progress chart' idea.
Its hillarious how your son gulps down his food in the last 2 minutes. Yep, I can identify with you there.
The reason why I want to work on it now is pretty much because of the 'nip it in the bud' philosophy' . Hopefully it works.
Actually you know what happened... Last week I was in her class talking to her teacher about this issue when the bell rang and teacher started distributing that days work. I went to Meghan's desk and stood behind her and started watching what she does and because she was concious of my presence she just kept on working on her task and finished the next 2 tasks on a roll!!
We rewarded her with ice cream that evening for finishing her work without any distractions and she just glowed!!
I did that again 2 days later (when I had a few minutes to spend) but left as soon as I saw that she is fine and is concentratedly working on her task.
This whole week that is all we've been talking at proud we are of her etc.
5 days without a complaint from the teacher and we still have our fingers crossed...

Good luck to you with your kids and wish me luck too!
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Old 09-19-2004, 05:45 AM
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Yep, the progress chart is definatel ythe way to go. Perhaps even asking the teacher to send one home daily would help. My DD is like that. If we make it through a dinner/meal with her sitting down throughout the whole thing, it is a miracle! The progress chart does help, as it is a visual.

Best of luck to you! It can be very frustrating.
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Old 09-19-2004, 08:38 AM
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Hi! My kids like to socialize to sometimes and they are all different ages. My youngest son has been diagnosed with addh and add. Here is a site you might find helpful also.

It has a lot of information about learning disabilities and how to help your child with them. You may want to just check it out. Hope it helps you some.
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Old 09-19-2004, 09:49 AM
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My son who is 7 has the same problem. He just doesn't like to do his work. I got this crazy idea when I couldn't get him to sit still long enough to eat and surprisingly it works rather well. I have a kitchen timer that I use to to remind myself of practically everything. I myself have some trouble focusing. It is one of the timers that has more than one setting so you can time the cake in the oven and have it set to time my son doing homework at the same time. It was inexpensive and now I can't imagine not having one. When he starts getting distracted I just tell him I am setting the timer. Since he knows he has a certain amount of time to finish his task or he will be punished (like he will lose part of his allowance or have to do extra chores) He usually finishes pretty quickly. He dislikes being put on the clock so much that he will often get back on task himself so I wont set the timer. I also think that it gives him a good idea of how time passes. Just be sure if you decide to use a timer that you set the time realistically. It is a little difficult to guess how long it will take to complete some of his homework. I always add extra time so it is an attainable goal. At school I don't really have any ideas about that. I did notice that several other people had some great ideas. My son had lots of trouble in first grade and his teacher decided to put him at a desk by himself if he wasn't staying on task. It worked really well. He realized that he was going to have to sit alone if he didn't complete his work. This year his teacher is a man and he just seems to respond better to him. I hope this helps.
I will talk to any one as long as they are nice.
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Old 09-19-2004, 03:07 PM
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All my dd's were social butterflies in school. My oldest would finish her work and then go to help someone else with theirs-of course, she didn't ask the teacher if she could do that, so she was labeled a social butterfliy, but she did do her work.
My other two would talk before their work was finished, but they both grew out of it, as did my oldest dd. Of course we did have talks about talking in class without permission and they really didn't want to get on the 'bad' chart at school either so we got through those years fairly easily.
Some kids, even at age 6, are just not ready for sitting still for periods of time, boys usually have that problem more than girls but I think it's showing up in girls more and more at the early ages.
Good luck.
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Old 09-19-2004, 04:53 PM
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I just wanted to say your 6 year old dd sounds just like my 6 year old dd. She is such a social butterfly and so busy talking to her friends that it takes her awhile to finish her work too. I have the same problem at home with her eating and completing tasks. It takes forever for her to finish a meal because she gets up 10 times to talk to someone or do something. My dd can also read chapter books, has a advanced vocabulary, and do advanced math. The progress charts do sound like a good idea. Maybe, I will try that too!
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Old 09-20-2004, 09:45 AM
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LOL! These bright little kids are the very ones that so frequently get "labeled" as ADD - especially the boys!

If they respond to some attention, it really helps to do the "standing over them" routine for a while - then gradually back off.

But a lot of this inability to focus on a task is related to too much TV (and the current recommendation is less than 1 hour a day prior to age 4)!!

We found that totally removing the TV from our kids' lives was the best thing we could have done. They learned to stay on a task for more than 5 minutes without commercials flashing at them all the time.

We did invest in the occasional rented move at Blockbuster for a reward, but they don't have commercials (!) and we wouldn't allow the kids to keep jumping up and down and talking during them.

It takes time and maturity for kids to get to where they can concentrate appropriately. And we, as parents, have to encourage them to behave properly at home so they can behave appropriately at school. And it ain't easy, Babalouie! The kids don't want to be civilized - they want to be little anarchists and have their own way all the time! So, our job as parents, is to civilize the little beasts! LOL! At times I felt like a tiger tamer! Back, you beasts! Back, I say! LOL!

Even the littlest ones can be encouraged to increase their attention spans - by starting with short tasks, and gradually increasing the length and types of the tasks. Rewards for correct accomplishments within a reasonable time frame helps.

I'm convinced that TV and some of the computer games are contributing to the "epidemic" of supposed ADD that we are seeing. Even the daycare centers use TVs as "babysitters" for the youngest kids! No wonder they can't focus for more than 5 minutes at a time! There are interruptions every 5 minutes for flashy 15, 30 and 60 second commercials!

OK, I'm off my soapbox!

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Old 09-20-2004, 10:47 AM
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I totally agree. TV probably has contributed to some of my problem.
andi0527, Meghan had problem finishing her food in time too! It's in the past only because the whole of preschool and kindergarten we worked on that. I don't know if it is the constant pointing it out or different punishments and loss of previleges or age (milestone) but finally we got over that! PHEW!!!! We even had to make her eat the left over lunch from school when she came home in the evening!
Now we are onto finishing her tasks. She tends to finish any challenging work faster than just coloring a repetitive pattern or simple tasks (calls it 'baby work').
We had to explain to her how no matter what kind of work, unless she finishes it, the teacher will think Meghan was not able to do it (Man that hurt her pride!).
The standing over her or in and around the room she is working has been working so far. But she is going to have to learn to work without a monitor soon.
BTW the progress chart at home is helping too! The school has a rule against it so the teacher can't help me with that.
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