By Jodie Lynn
Kids are a major part of having a good work-at-home environment. If there are family challenges with kids, working at home can be pretty yucky. Why? The biggest reason is because normally you can't hand the problem over to someone else like if you were working out of an office and your child was in child care. Here, a 5-year-old kindergartner is hitting people at home and at school. The question is being sent to me from the parents and I have a few choice words for them. Along with my two-cents is advice from a few other parents who work from home. Just remember this, whether or not you work from home, stay at home or work out of a regular office, hitting is not easy to deal with. Sure hope these tips can help.
Question: Our 5-year-old kindergartner is hitting everyone. What is the responsibility of the school to correct this?
My wife and I made the decision long before we had children to raise our own kids -- that is, that one of us would stay home. My wife was very happy to stay home with our daughter. I was not making a lot of money at the time. It was not easy making the dollars stretch, but we made it work because we knew it was best for our child.
Since then, many people have told us we were lucky to have one parent able to stay home (as if our family had some unfair advantage over the rest of the world). Virtually every family has the potential for one parent to stay home and raise the children. Most families opt not to because they see more benefits to having a dual income than to raising their own children. - A. and J. R. in MO
It's not the school's responsibility to teach your child how to behave with other children. It's your own responsibility as parents. The school is there to provide you a service, not to raise your children for you. - P. C. in Texas
Communicate with and enlist the help and support of your teacher. Begin by finding out what seems to cause your child to hit, and what the teacher's response is. Talk to your child. Your child will benefit from you talking to him calmly about why he shouldn't hit, and asking him why he does. Offer a reward for consecutive days without hitting, such as the opportunity to do a special activity with you. Your child needs to know he has your love and support as he learns appropriate ways to control his emotions and interact with others. - K.G. in IL
Your child's behavior is your responsibility. He is trying to tell you something and this is the only way he knows how. If he is in half day kindergarten, quit your office job and stay home with him. I promise you it will make a difference. - M.A.M. in TX
From Jodie: Let me answer your question directly. Communication and doing your part at home is the key here. Take a look around at your son's home environment. Are you spending too much time working on projects after he arrives home from school? If he is in half day school and you still need to get a few things done after he gets home, maybe consider taking a forty-minute break and do something that involves just the two of you. If he goes to all day school, it's best just to call it a day until he is in bed for the night.
Check out what he is watching on TV. Are you using TV as a baby-sitter even if it is an educational program? Kids eventually wise up on these type of things. He may just need more human interaction and is seeking any type of attention he can get - especially from you.
Are older siblings wrestling and play fighting with him? Younger siblings always want to be like their older siblings. At this age, any type of hitting action will be imitated. He may think that hitting is just as normal as putting on shoes because it is acceptable behavior in your home?
Monitor his computer and video games. Is he watching what his older siblings are watching? If so, this is not a good start for him. He needs his own age appropriate games.
Talk to him quietly and tell him how he can play with others without hitting. Tell him if he hits other children, they will not play with him and he will be lonely and sad. Make sure you watch his diet as well. Do not allow your son to have caffeine drinks. If he is already used to them, begin now to dilute them with water and eventually switch to caffeine free. Keep sugar and chocolate intake low especially right before school. Remember, chocolate has both sugar and caffeine and can be found in many of today's more popular cereal and have a tendency to make children more assertive in behavior.
If he seems really keyed up after he arrives home from school, take him out to the backyard or to the park and let him kick and chase a ball for at least one hour. In fact, kick the ball with him. It will do the two of you a world of good.
Pop into the school unexpected and watch him unnoticed. This will give you firsthand information. Talk to his teacher about the incidents, and find out the exact rules on inappropriate behavior at the school. Ask your child to show you how he is hitting. Find out "why" by role-playing. If he hits only Billy, you become Billy and act out a scene. If this doesn't work, switch roles and become your son, and he can pretend to be Billy. As a rule of thumb, the latter will usually work better.
Work together with the school and stay calm accepting responsibility for your son's behavior while monitoring your own environment at home on a daily basis. Your first priority is not your work at home business, your work outside the home job or anything else. If you have kids, they should be your top priority (other than God)...please do not forget that.
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