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is there such thing as terrible fours?

My son is 3, turning 4 in May and I put him in a Christian school for prek3. He has been there for 6 mon. and seems to be behaving bad. The teacher says he is smart but that he doesnt know how to settle down when he is asked At home, he is really good. What I have noticed is that because he is around older people all day and on weekends, that he thinks he knows it all. He acts like a big kid. Ive tried everything I talk to him and explain how imp. it is for him to behave in school. His teacher has this system set up were its a traffic light and each of their names on a school bus and as they misbehave, she moves there name from green, to yellow, to red. He is in red every single day. I do not know what to do. I have tried talking, punishing, and even taking away toys. I feel really bad about this, I dont know if im over reacting and i should just let him be a kid or if I should continue to do this till the behavior improves.


Asked by crespomom at 7:07 PM on Mar. 10, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (5)
  • In my experience as a preschool special needs teacher, I do not often support using the stop light as a techniquie for monitoring children's behavior. At least not for every child. If your son starts out the day and is on red soon after he gets there, then he probably feels like," why try to behave, I have already lost my chance to be rewarded. I recommend for your child(who I don't know much about) taking a positive approach to behavior. The teacher and family members need to agree on 2-3 behaviors that you wish to change. Then everyone needs to "catch him being good", Instead of changing his bus to yellow and then red, see if the teacher would set up a system of rewards for him. Everytime someone catches him being good, they would praise him and give him a sticker or some small token (poker chip, penny,etc) to put in a cup. Once he gets a predetermined number of token/stickers, then he gets a big reward. continued

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 5:14 AM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • My sil had a similar problem but the taking away things worked, however she took a vacation away from him, and a trip to busch gardens before it finally sunk in...maybe he isn't being challenged enough at school, he could just be so much smarter than everyone else, and is bored? also, maybe he wants more attention because he isn't used to having to share the spotlight? yet again, it could be his personality, and he is just very cocky! I would say if it isn't too serious, then don't worry about it, but once things get out of hand, try something else? sorry , i am no help!

    Answer by december911 at 7:17 PM on Mar. 10, 2009

  • I'm wondering what exactly he is doing wrong? It is just that he's not 'settling down'? There should be more to it. Otherwise, it makes me wonder if the teacher just doesn't want to deal with an active child.
    Either way, if you don't like taking toys away, try rewards for positive behaivor. At 4 (especially a young 4), many children do not identify with having things taken away, but they do understand rewards for good behaivor.
    My son couldn't sit still at circle time or stop talking when his teacher was talking. We set up a behaivor chart at home and if he did these two things he got a sticker, when he got 5 stickers he got a treasure from the box (dollar store toys).

    Answer by pat7879 at 10:18 PM on Mar. 10, 2009

  • Make sure that the BIG reward is really something he would "walk through fire to get". At first, the tokens/stickers need to be given frequently to get him to buy into the whole thing. If he does not get enough tokens on Monday to cash in for the big reward, then let him continue on Tuesday with the tokens from the day before. Once he is hearing praise for doing the good behavior, the behavior you don't want will fade away. Ex. Instead of saying,"Stop running in the hall", everyone should say, "______, I love the way you are using your inside, walking feet" and give him a token. Once he earns it, then he never gets it taken away! When he comes home, and shows you his prize, of course you praise him loud and proud! And maybe he gets some special time with you, even if it is just 10 minutes. If you want to tell me specifically what behaviors he is showing, I would be happy to help out. Good Luck!

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 5:23 AM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • hmm mine is the opposite he acts up at home and is PERFECT at school, i call it the Furious Fours, im wondering how the fives will be hopefully the fantastic fives.

    I would definitely pray over him, for a Christian school, you would think they would, hopefully they do

    Answer by camtri3 at 2:13 PM on Mar. 11, 2009