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Need ideas for a kid who has to be doing something all the time


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#1 summerreading

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:47 PM

8 year old, very active and super disruptive because he refuses to be alone, insists on being in the room if I'm working with his brother and even him being quiet is so noisy. Audiobooks are saved for another time. 

There is a lot of groaning if he is bored. I guess I am looking for an app or educational program. Anything like Time4Learning, he will just learn to get the coins or rewards and not really be learning. Really I think he needs something more active than that, but I don't know what. 

 

The plan is for him to get his work done first so I can focus with his brother. 



#2 KeriJ

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 06:40 PM

No answers because we are still trying to figure this out with my 10 year old who is exactly as you described!

#3 katilac

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:12 PM

Inside ideas: Prodigy Math, Khan Academy, free language learning apps like Duolingo from the library, Quizlet flashcards for stuff he should memorize, handwriting practice, even more audiobooks. More active ideas: running laps, going through a series of exercises (maybe printed on cards, different each day), weeding the garden, washing the cars, Wii Fit or whatever is popular now, video workouts, vacuuming, scrubbing the tub. I would be hesitant to add too much computer time for a kid who is already disruptive, it tends to make it worse. 

 

But I would also be working towards him being able to be alone for short periods of time, and not audibly complaining every time he is bored. Some kids really need consistent training for this type of thing; have you tried anything in particular? It sounds like he might need a lot more vigorous exercise for starters, and probably exercise breaks as often as every hour. I'm assuming this is the youngest, listed as 7 in your siggy?

 

When we did habit training when my kids were younger, we would do things like have jewels or coins in jar, or tickets. Focus on one thing at a time, either complaining OR occupying himself, not both at once. You give up a jewel, coin, or ticket when you complain or interrupt or whatever. You might get an extra token for doing particularly well. Tokens are then traded in for small treats or privileges: a special snack, a visit to the park, a toy, whatever. Slowly build up to longer periods of time and fewer (but bigger) rewards. 

 

Does he get enough time out of the house, with other people? He might need more stimulation and company if you are usually home. A few random ideas: 

 

*Bring the two younger ones to a park day while the teen works at home or in a coffeeshop nearby. This doesn't help the problem of working with the brother alone directly, but adds stimulation and active play to the schedule. 

 

*Split them up during the day - have one in a ten o'clock activity and the other in an eleven o'clock activity, you can work with each one alone while the other is in the activity. Try to find another mom to trade playdates with, particularly for the 8-yr-old. Look for a mother's helper to come in once or twice a week. 

 

*If they have a positive relationship, can the teen throw a ball or run laps with the 8-yr-old while you work with his brother? A bit of bribery might help here. 

 

*Homeschooling is very flexible; work with them one-on-one in the evenings or on weekends, if that's when you have another person in the house. You will be amazed at how much you can get done with no interruptions, or fear of interruptions! 

 

*Start giving him an explicit idea of time. Practice waiting quietly for two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes. Have visually obvious clocks and timers around the house and in the schoolroom - no, you have not been waiting forever, you have been waiting seven minutes. Countdown timers can be good because they show how long is left. 

 

*Add visual reminders to not interrupt when you are working with brother. You can buy an array of stop signs at the educational store, lol. Have a visual timer on the table; every time he interrupts or disrupts with noise, take away a token PLUS add five minutes to the timer. He has to know that behavior is only going to delay the attention he wants. This works especially well if you give a lesson before something he definitely does not want to delay, like lunch or a trip to the park. 

 

*Switch it around and work with his brother first. If you can, let the 8-yr-old sleep later and get stuff done before he is even up. 

 

*Get some cheap webcams and toss him outside. Seriously, particularly if you have a fenced-in backyard, toss him outside with a glass of water and shut the door so you can't hear the groaning. You can keep an eye on him via webcam. 

 

*Valued activities should be kept for after school only - after school meaning when they are BOTH done. For a lot of kids, this will be screen time, which is another reason I would hesitate to add even educational screen time to the school day. If you want school to be done by 2 o'clock, then free choice screen time is 2 to 2.30. If your disruptions mean everyone isn't finished until 2.15, oh well, you just lost half of your screen time for the day. 

 

You have to be calm and consistent. You have to be relentless. But it can be done. He can be alone, and he can leave his brother's lessons alone. It just has to be easier to go ahead and do that than to disrupt. 


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#4 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:32 PM

Definitely set up some physical fitness/boot camp things and get him a list and get him going, mercy. My ds does pullups on a pull-up bar (mounted in doorway, around $30), pushups, situps... Anything you can structure or put on a list works. Laps around the house, hehe.

 

My ds is good with dot to dots. He'll play games you find online. Independent work, for him, is a work in progress. 

 

Why no audiobooks? My ds keeps audiobooks on most of the day. If I'm not working with him, he has them on. He's been listening to Teaching Company courses lately. He has one on now, I don't know what. He's not much of a reader yet (he's dyslexic, we're working on it), so really audiobooks are for him what reading would be to a more book-ready child. Anyways, if the noise is an issue, get earbuds, kwim? Audiobooks plus a table with choices to create structure, that would be fine to me. That's what we were working on with our ABA, getting him able to do that.

 

I asked him. He said it's History's Greatest Military Blunders. History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach  


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#5 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:34 PM

Just a total aside, but audible has a really, really good sale going right now on children's books. Great stuff for $4 or less. Narnia, Russell Freedman, all kinds of great stuff. And definitely look for Great Courses. 


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#6 fralala

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:43 AM

I would be hesitant to add too much computer time for a kid who is already disruptive, it tends to make it worse. 

 

But I would also be working towards him being able to be alone for short periods of time, and not audibly complaining every time he is bored. Some kids really need consistent training for this type of thing; have you tried anything in particular? It sounds like he might need a lot more vigorous exercise for starters, and probably exercise breaks as often as every hour. I'm assuming this is the youngest, listed as 7 in your siggy?

 

This entire post was SO spot-on, but I just wanted to emphasize these two things because they were really true for us.

 

Once I'd done everything I could to give my extremely active kid what she needed-- I find Farm Chores to be the ideal way to start the day here, except we don't have a farm and you probably don't either, so I'm talking things like rag-foot mopping the floor/picking up sticks/shoveling snow/raking leaves/beating rugs/caring for pets, and then some mom-focused time that isn't school but is just tuning in-- I gave her the responsibility of being alone. (In a safe room where gymnastic feats are permitted and there are some fun art supplies, puzzles, books.) And at first, I checked in frequently-- ridiculously frequently-- to notice that she was still there, to observe (in an interested fashion) what she was doing, because this child is certain that everybody totally forgets about her when she's not there bobbing around. High-fives, hugs, retreats. Gradually this becomes less frequent and eventually is not needed altogether...

 

One thing she also really loves is getting to bring my phone with her and make a "podcast" for us. That way she can talk to us and tell us anything she wants without interrupting. She also listens to a podcast (Brains On) that gives a "mystery sound", so she loves making lots of mystery sounds for us. Other than that I try to avoid letting her play on screens because they seem to give us a break for an hour and then make the rest of the day, and the next day.


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#7 whitehawk

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:19 AM

Definitely set up some physical fitness/boot camp things and get him a list and get him going, mercy. My ds does pullups on a pull-up bar (mounted in doorway, around $30), pushups, situps... Anything you can structure or put on a list works. Laps around the house, hehe.

 

 

This. We have a mini-trampoline in the living room/school room. Some people just need to be doing.


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#8 school17777

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:22 AM

I got a lot of solitary logic games for my kids to play when I was busy with their sibling - games like Rush Hour, Logic Links, River Crossing, etc. I think they are by Think Fun. I also had those nine square scramble puzzles they could put together.

Sometimes, I'd have the child that needed to burn energy off run laps around the house outside.
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#9 ondreeuh

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:02 AM

Mine listens to audiobooks while he plays with Legos. He can do this for hours a day. I love audiobooks! If he's not listening, then he is filling the silence with his own noise. He is right next to me now, building a trebuchet from a Tinker Crate, and the sound effects & singing are comical. When I'm actually trying to focus, it's not so funny!
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#10 MerryAtHope

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:46 PM

I always kept a list of things to do, and did a rotating schedule every 30 minutes or so (15-20 if his attention span is shorter). Most toys, building materials, craft materials, manipulatives, physical exercise etc... can be made into a "time."

 

Some children don't do well with large blocks of independent time, and you may find that alternating time together and time apart in 30 minute increments might work better than doing all of one child first and then hoping he stays occupied while you do all of the other child's subjects. 

 

However, we also had scheduled "free time" and they were to decide something and do it. Children who said they were bored always got chores to do here. I kept a list of boredom chores too. There's always something that needs to be swept, cabinets or walls that need wiping down with safe cleaners or even just water in a spray bottle or just a damp cloth if they can't be trusted with a spray bottle, some dishes to wash, towels to fold etc... I'd give a simple 5-10 minute job and say, "When you're done with that, come back if you are still bored." They never did, and they learned not to be bored and to occupy themselves. 

 

Hang in there!