Jump to content

Menu

Extracurriculars necessary littler ones?


Recommended Posts

My almost four year old does interesting things like beg her ballet teacher for snack several times (after eating a snack before class) when I take her to extracurricular things. I don't see other kids doing the things she does, so I wonder if she's just not ready to be part of classes yet. But she likes music and movement, and she likes being with other kids, so I also worry about taking it away from her. I'm just burning up a lot of patience dealing with the odd things she keeps doing in public! I can't tell if we need to just play or if there's something wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's going to be impossible to say anything meaningful if the only example is asking for a snack after already having had a snack - that seems like something a normal 4yo might do. But you make it sound like it's more than that, and more than you observe other kids her age doing, so I don't know.

 

That said, plenty of 4yos have grown up to be productive, well-adjusted adults without extracurriculars, so, no, you don't have to keep her in ballet. She may be more ready in 6 months or a year or so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope, but what it sounds like you have on your hands is not a maturity issue, but a boundary one.  Just like 3-4yos need firm rules gone over before you go into a store, they may need them in other social situations, too.  If you want to keep her in the class then it would be time to do boundary training proactively.  1-3 firm rules you say, then she repeats, before you go in.  Breaking the rule is automatic leaving from the class.  Give it twice and see if the behavior changes.

 

However, classes certainly are not necessary or even appropriate for most 4yos, imo.  While some may be able to follow along, you're not getting anything out of the class you wouldn't get tenfold with a 6yo.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's true.

 

Before ballet last week she danced for a lady we don't know in the dressing room and cheerfully asked, "Do you like me?" and then at the end of class she sat and stared at a different mom for several minutes instead of putting on her shoes (while I called her name trying and failing to get her attention). At open gym she tries to tell the other children what to do. She constantly tells people we barely know long stories and then invites them to our house. I'm really direct and clear about boundaries but it's just not getting through. When she was in Montessori school she wouldn't touch most of the work and instead tried to get the other kids to roughhouse and play pretend, and wanted to chat with the teacher, wouldn't keep her shoes on, ate up all of their snack servings.. She's very articulate but sort of gruff and people don't seem to like her which is hard to watch. I'm an introvert and very picky so I don't have a crew of kids she can just run off with. The stuff I can realistically get her to is very structured and expects kids to be with it.

 

So I'm really tempted to just chuck it for a few years, but maybe she needs the practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like a training issue. It reminds me of the 5yo old that would come play with my kids. When the mom was out of sight, she would always say to me, "I'm hungry. I want some chips." I kept saying I don't have snacks to share today and she eventually stopped asking. I can't blame her for trying. Just like we train little children to say thank you, we can train them that it isn't appropriate to ask for snacks from other people or in class time. It may take several times for her to "get it," but she will eventually stop asking if she is continually told snacks aren't allowed at ballet class or you tell her she is not allowed to ask for snacks from anyone but you. After a few times of teaching her not to ask for snacks from other people, I would gradually introduce consequences for continuing to do so. My kids asked for food at others' homes when they were little. They were so used to being offered food when visiting someone, they thought it was protocol. I just had to tell them it was rude to ask for food, but fine to politely accept if offered something to eat. They eventually caught on, but not without a few times of correction.

 

ETA, I wrote this before reading your 2nd post. This post is only pertaining to the 1st post. I don't have much to add for the 2nd post except it may just be she needs firmer instructions. My son used to stare at people at restaurants and we had to keep firmly telling him to stop. It took a bit to get his attention. It took several corrections. I think he was just curious or fascinated by people around him. He also used to get into his friends' personal space, as in almost nose to nose in excitement to greet friends, when seeing someone. I could tell the friends were irritated. I had to pull him to the side and talk to him about personal space. It took several corrections, but a few years have passed and he is not getting right up in people's faces anymore. He also doesn't stare, most of the time, anymore.

Edited by TX native
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope, but what it sounds like you have on your hands is not a maturity issue, but a boundary one.

You posted while I was typing, and I think you're right. I took her out of the Montessori school because I felt like it was uncaring of them not to set boundaries for her. She is super independent so I thought it would be a good fit. I've always wanted to homeschool but she's not that interested in me. She catches on quickly so I felt like some early instruction would make her happy. It's a little scary to just go totally off the grid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do correct her a lot. And we are laying down the rails kinds of parents, we don't allow them to run or touch things in indoor public spaces, for example, although that's a normal thing for them to want to do. She sometimes responds to my reminders with meltdowns or tantrums. She would melt down every single day at preschool pick up because she didn't want to leave. It's just always some behavior when I bring her somewhere, and if she tantrums when I correct her we leave immediately. I sort of feel like I'm running out of places I'm willing to bring her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's true.

 

Before ballet last week she danced for a lady we don't know in the dressing room and cheerfully asked, "Do you like me?" and then at the end of class she sat and stared at a different mom for several minutes instead of putting on her shoes (while I called her name trying and failing to get her attention). At open gym she tries to tell the other children what to do. She constantly tells people we barely know long stories and then invites them to our house. I'm really direct and clear about boundaries but it's just not getting through. When she was in Montessori school she wouldn't touch most of the work and instead tried to get the other kids to roughhouse and play pretend, and wanted to chat with the teacher, wouldn't keep her shoes on, ate up all of their snack servings.. She's very articulate but sort of gruff and people don't seem to like her which is hard to watch. I'm an introvert and very picky so I don't have a crew of kids she can just run off with. The stuff I can realistically get her to is very structured and expects kids to be with it.

 

So I'm really tempted to just chuck it for a few years, but maybe she needs the practice.

My 4 yr old calls every old person we find in public Grandma or Grandpa. She acts completely thrilled to have run in to them where we are at and runs up to them trying to hug them. She calls any young girl her sister and waves and tries to get her to interact.

 

I think it is the age. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do correct her a lot. And we are laying down the rails kinds of parents, we don't allow them to run or touch things in indoor public spaces, for example, although that's a normal thing for them to want to do. She sometimes responds to my reminders with meltdowns or tantrums. She would melt down every single day at preschool pick up because she didn't want to leave. It's just always some behavior when I bring her somewhere, and if she tantrums when I correct her we leave immediately. I sort of feel like I'm running out of places I'm willing to bring her.

 

:grouphug:  Give it time.  Different ages, different stages, different abilities.  Even a 6 month time period at this age is a lot of time for growth.  Eventually they get it.  In the meantime, do you think she'd respond to a different type of class, something that is a parent/child exercise?  Or a one on one with a tutor?  Bring it back to the basics with playdates and invite one child at a time (larger groups can be overwhelming and bring out bad behavior). 

The most important thing I have found is making sure they know guidelines by making them repeat them back.  Hear, say, do.  All three are part of successful habit training in our house (and academics, too!).  If we skip a step, we're probably going to have problems and melt downs.  Thankfully most of that ended by age 5, nearly 6, and it wasn't as necessary to repeat every time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do correct her a lot. And we are laying down the rails kinds of parents, we don't allow them to run or touch things in indoor public spaces, for example, although that's a normal thing for them to want to do. She sometimes responds to my reminders with meltdowns or tantrums. She would melt down every single day at preschool pick up because she didn't want to leave. It's just always some behavior when I bring her somewhere, and if she tantrums when I correct her we leave immediately. I sort of feel like I'm running out of places I'm willing to bring her.

 

Some kids don't learn from corrections as easily as other kids. You sound quite frustrated. I'd suggest talking to your pediatrician - the pediatrician should be able to tell you if there might be something more going on (like ADHD - note that I don't know much about ADHD), or just reassure you that your kid is normal and you're doing a good job and almost 4yos are tough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a 3yo to me. Kids that age are either bold and embarrassing or shy and embarrassing. And they do the weirdest things, and get very odd ideas in their heads. Be patient, and keep doing what you are doing. See your ped if you are concerned.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do correct her a lot. And we are laying down the rails kinds of parents, we don't allow them to run or touch things in indoor public spaces, for example, although that's a normal thing for them to want to do. She sometimes responds to my reminders with meltdowns or tantrums. She would melt down every single day at preschool pick up because she didn't want to leave. It's just always some behavior when I bring her somewhere, and if she tantrums when I correct her we leave immediately. I sort of feel like I'm running out of places I'm willing to bring her.

I honestly think your hard work and consistency will pay off. She sounds like a confident child who is naturally testing boundaries and trying to figure out if she or you is the one in the driver's seat. I think this is normal for many 2-4 year olds, especially ones with a strong will. You are doing right on your end, but it probably seems like you are getting nowhere even though you are. I like the idea on mentioning to the ped if you think this is more than just average childhood behavior challenges.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's true.

 

Before ballet last week she danced for a lady we don't know in the dressing room and cheerfully asked, "Do you like me?" and then at the end of class she sat and stared at a different mom for several minutes instead of putting on her shoes (while I called her name trying and failing to get her attention). At open gym she tries to tell the other children what to do. She constantly tells people we barely know long stories and then invites them to our house. I'm really direct and clear about boundaries but it's just not getting through. When she was in Montessori school she wouldn't touch most of the work and instead tried to get the other kids to roughhouse and play pretend, and wanted to chat with the teacher, wouldn't keep her shoes on, ate up all of their snack servings.. She's very articulate but sort of gruff and people don't seem to like her which is hard to watch. I'm an introvert and very picky so I don't have a crew of kids she can just run off with. The stuff I can realistically get her to is very structured and expects kids to be with it.

 

So I'm really tempted to just chuck it for a few years, but maybe she needs the practice.

I've done some very specific boundary work with my daughter, who seems to have no intuitive understanding of boundaries. We not only talk about them, but then often rehearse them in the car on the way to somewhere. Once I have addressed the issue, and she has been able to express that she understands what I'm saying, I give her a warning that directly violating the boundary means I will remove her from the situation - either for the day or longer term, depending on the issue. For the most part, that is enough, though I have had to actually remove her from places or not take her back for a while as a direct consequence of breaking the boundary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

None of my five children did extracurriculars at that age. They all started something they were interested in somewhere around ages 8-10. They are all capable, bright, well-adjusted humans now. My preference was to be at home or out together as a family when they were young. I would definitely do it that way again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did extracurricular activities at that age.. ballet and gymnastics.  Two things:  First, most teachers that have been around the block a few times are going to roll with the punches with that kind of behavior.  Seriously, how hard is it to say, "It's not snack time, do you remember how to plie?" At age four you pretty much redirect. Second, extracurricular activities are totally unnecessary at that age. If everyone is having a good time, run with it, but it seems like it is causing you stress so I would totally let it go for a couple of years. It's amazing the amount of maturity that a child can gain in two years. And there's nothing in ballet that can't be picked up more easily by a six, seven or eight year old than by a four year old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither of my girls did extracurriculars that young and I don't think they are necessary. They do enjoy them now.

 

Sounds a lot like the behavior of my two strong-willed children (current 8yo and 2yo). They tend to need a lot of consistency and instruction and discipline over and over again before they decide that it's wise to behave as they are told. With our two older kids, three was the hardest age by far, even with the more laid back kid.

 

It might be worth mentioning to your ped, but you also might just be dealing with a strong-willed kid at a challenging age.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...