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My 3 (almost 4) daughter has trouble concentrating and taking direction

Is that normal behavior? She's all over the place. I am having her practice writing her name and she's telling me a story about a princess.

Normal right?

The direction following is pretty bad too. She's never been in daycare or anywhere really structured. She had to stand in line at the Library the other day and she didn't "get" that she had to stand there. She just kept going to sit down at a table.


Asked by staciandababy at 3:09 PM on Aug. 21, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (11)
  • my 3 year old is like that. only day 2 of her sisters being in school and she succeeded at making me feel like they were all home today plus 15 other kids. sooo frustrating because she doesn't listen. i think its normal, maybe just a lot of positive reinforcement for when she does listen./follow directions well.

    Answer by tnm786 at 3:14 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • Do you have HeadStart in your area?
    The behavior sounds normal to me

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 3:13 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • She has a short attention span
    That is normal
    Keep activities limited to 5 or 10 minutes and then slowly increase the time.

    Use a kitchen timer so she can see how much longer she has. Something like, "We are going to do this activity for 5 mins, then we will play for 5 mins".

    Answer by feralxat at 3:16 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • btw- do you have pinterest? lots of cute ideas for having them practice name writing. saw one where you write the letters of their name on different bottle caps, then write their name on a piece of paper, and have them match the bottle caps with the letters on the paper. also another where their name is on the paper and starting with the first letter, each letter needs to be traced. so the first line they trace the 1st letter, 2nd line they trace the 1st and 2nd letters, so on and so forth.

    Answer by tnm786 at 3:19 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • LOL
    Face Clocks work well too- it's the sound of the timer that let's the kids know it's not broken (remember high school and clock watching)
    If you really want to up the ante on education you can write something like 9:45 on a piece of paper and tell her when the numbers on the clock look like this, we will change activities

    But again- clock watching. Don't forget the timer on your phone

    Answer by feralxat at 3:23 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • I love TNM's idea of the bottle caps; I'm going to"borrow" that. As far as following directions, one thing that has helped with my daughter is to have her repeat back to me what she has heard. That way I know she's listening, but it also seems to reinforce the idea in her mind. So if you ask her to stand in line, then say, "Now, what are you going to do?"

    Answer by Ballad at 4:10 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • And since you probably can assume that she will be reliable about giving you indication of whether or not SHE values a particular purpose enough to adapt herself to it, I recommend clarifying purposes by providing information/explanations, AND reflecting back what her behavior (or words) communicate about her response.

    To me, this approach or response has been helpful in avoiding ongoing automatic resistance. I think that's because it makes space for the child's initial reaction or opinion (thus confirming that her feelings make sense, rather than immediately pushing against them as problematic), which helps the child feel more generally receptive or flexible. It's not some kind of "trick" you use, but an orientation/response that helps to avoid automatic struggles around control. Kids are more likely to stay in touch with their spontaneous cooperation if their sometimes resistance is honored so they don't get sensitized.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:16 AM on Aug. 22, 2013

  • I know that's the aspect of preschool she needs, though we can't afford to enroll her anywhere. It's the structured environment and rule following she needs help on. She's plenty smart.

    Comment by staciandababy (original poster) at 3:11 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • Put a kitchen timer on my list of things I need!

    Comment by staciandababy (original poster) at 3:18 PM on Aug. 21, 2013

  • Totally sounds normal to me. I think if you can't get her into a preschool program, doing things like contining to go to the library for structured activities will help fill in the blanks. She can learn to line up and follow group rules there, and it's free. ;0)

    Answer by tessiedawg at 4:18 PM on Aug. 21, 2013