Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

How do you get kindergarteners to apply themselves? HELP!!

My stepdaughter just started kindergarten this year. During her screening, they almost passed her into the 1st grade. I know she is very bright, but the school work she brings home is so sloppy it's an embarrassment to all 4 of us parents. We have tried talking to her, we have spoken to her teacher and all routines/habits have been on the same page at both houses. She has had a substitute teacher all week and her work is sloppier than ever. We have made her correct her work at home, her teacher has made her re-do papers, but it's just not getting through to her. She is stuck on finishing first, rather than finishing well. There have been no stars on her paper since her first week of school. Is it wrong to take away bikes on the weekends, add more work after school, and take away dance class if necessary? I just hate to see her school career off to such a bad start. We wanted to establish good habits, not bad. Help!!


Asked by midnightshadow2 at 6:16 PM on Sep. 30, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 7 (206 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (10)

  • I will disagree with most these of these answers. Kindergarten is the new first grade and bad habits learned now can last throughout her education. It used to be kindergarten was for teaching kids how sit in class and to socialize with peers. They are no longer just coloring and doing crafts, they are learning actual facts and skills they will need. If redoing the work is not getting through to her then she needs to see real consequences of her poor work habits.

    I would start with extra practice assignments like the lessons she doing poorly and work up to removing privileges.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:02 AM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • good grief. It's kindergarten. Cut the kid some slack. It's not medical school. Let her be a kid. Being sloppy, as you call it, can be "creative" and beautiful to her. Don't try to mold her into your idea of perfect. That's just bad parenting.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:29 PM on Sep. 30, 2009

  • dont stress so much! this is just to the teacher about different methods to slow her down...she might be hurrying to be the first to a certain play daughter did this too...she would hurry through to be the first to get the kitchen play area....the teacher noticed this and told my daughter if she kept doing that she would have to take her off the kitchen area for the rest of the week...she figured it out and slowed down...she learned better to get it at SOME point than hurry and be first and lose it for a week....LOL

    Answer by blueeyedgrl2377 at 6:29 PM on Sep. 30, 2009

  • Be careful. If you push too much you may make her hate school rather than encourage her to do her best. I had some of the same issues with my daughter at that age, and I did a lot of the things you have mentioned. It became a battle between her and us, and it really didn't help matters. I would talk to her teacher and the school counselor to get ideas. Try to be positive and compliment her on the things she does well. I wouldn't reward her for the sloppy work, but I wouldn't punish either. You want to encourage her to do her best without breaking her spirit in the process. Since she almost skipped kindergarten, there is a chance she is gifted and she may not excell in a traditional classroom. You might read some books about dealing with gifted children. I also really like Love & Logic books and CDs - there is one regarding homework and one regarding shaping self image - I think both of those might be useful to you.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:31 PM on Sep. 30, 2009

  • My daughter did the same as blueeyedgrl's! She scribbled on her coloring papers so they would be done and she could go to centers. It took us a while to figure out she was being rewarded for speeding through her work. It sounds like blueeyedgrl's daughter's teacher had an excellent sollution.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:35 PM on Sep. 30, 2009

  • It is always wrong to punish a child by taking things away. Punishment never teaches good behavior.

    You need to learn more about psychology and parenting. Going to google and reading about authoritative parenting would be a good place to start.

    Answer by Gailll at 7:13 PM on Sep. 30, 2009

  • She may be bored with the work that she is doing. Does your school district do evaluations for giftedness or have a gifted (or other academically advanced) program? If you are in Chicago, please contact me offlist. You may want to look into enrichment programs, or find other ways to keep her stimulated. The Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University is a fantastic resource:


    Answer by rkoloms at 9:08 PM on Sep. 30, 2009

  • If she were bored, would she tell us that she is? We've asked and she says she's not bored and she doesn't know all the answers, and that she is learning. Is that grounds enough to need another evaluation?

    Answer by midnightshadow2 at 10:27 PM on Sep. 30, 2009

  • OMG. she's in kindergarten give her a break.. Don't expect perfection out of a 5/6 year old. Definitely don't take away things.. What is she rushing on Cutting and pasting?, coloring?, the alphabet?I knew a girl in high school, her parents kept pushing her to do her best and know what happend to her? SHE COMMITTED SUICIDE... So sit back and relax and enjoy her work don't be nit picky over handwriting. My son has crappy handwritting and he's in 6th grade. As long as I can read it I don't make him do it over again. The handwriting will fall into place for most girls because most females have nice handwriting. As long as it's not affecting grades I wouldn't worry about it!

    Answer by fireangel0310 at 6:25 AM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • I agree it's Kindegarten that is terrific that she is smart but at the same time you are only a kid once let her be a little girl!! It's not the end of the world of she does NOT apply herself in Kindegarten when she applies for college they are NOT going to look at her K transcripts!! I have had the same issues with my son he is a very bright boy but he was soooo BORED in Kindegarten (because I taught him pretty much everything that he learned in Kindegarten) so he slacked off in class had NO interest because it was TOO BASIC!! The pressures that they are putting on kids at such a YOUNG age is ridiculious!! As far as handwriting goes that is a developmental thing, my son literally just started writing neater as of the end of last school year (he is in 2nd grade) it was suggested cutting play-doh, creating those little bead coaster things (you know the ones that you iron) those things build up the hand muscles!! Good Luck

    Answer by lovemykiddies07 at 2:30 PM on Oct. 1, 2009