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Trouble Staying on Task and Listening


My 5-year-old son is in kindergarten and having trouble with staying on task and listening to his teachers. He is also disrespectful and distracting the other children. He cannot sit still and is constantly moving. We discussed things we can do to help and none seem to be working. I discussed ADHD with his doctor, and he wants me to pursue different classes or counseling. Do you have any suggestions about what we can do as a family? I’m up for anything.


We are so happy you contacted us with your parenting concerns. It can be frustrating trying to correct school behaviors because you are not there to witness them. Do you see these same behaviors from your son at home? It helps to be in the environment where the behaviors are occurring so that you can get a clear picture of what’s going on.

Let’s look at your son’s behaviors at home, first. Does he stay focused on one activity for a period of time, or does he switch from toy to toy fairly quickly? Try giving him opportunities to practice staying on task, such as watching a family movie with you and Dad, or going to church with the family. Monitor how well he does and praise him for any efforts to stay focused.

Is it possible your child is bored during school? A lot of times a child who is more advanced than his classmates will become agitated and bored, so they find other activities to entertain them. Unfortunately, these other activities usually are not productive and often are troublesome.

However, the exact opposite could also be occurring. Is it possible that your son is not catching on to what is taught during class? If so, he may act out as a way of expressing his frustration. Talk to his teachers and find out about his progress and abilities in the classroom.

If you find that your son is doing just fine in the classroom, then it might just be that your son needs to be taught the skill of staying on task. This is common among children his age, especially when they are entering a structured and controlled environment, such as kindergarten, for the very first time. Ask for the school’s assistance in monitoring his progress while he is at school. It can be difficult to correct behaviors that happened earlier in the day when you weren’t there.

If you have any questions we can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can e-mail us back or call one of our counselors. Good luck!

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