Little Boys and Paying Attention

  I recently wrote on here about how Joshua (2nd grade) is having trouble paying attention at school.  I have gotten around a dozen emails from other moms that have dealt with this issue, as well as lots of comments from my Facebook friends.  
  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support!  Thank you so much!
  I recently had Caleb’s conference, and his teacher said that he also has a little trouble paying attention in the large class setting.  For both of them, the problem ceases in a small group or one-on-one scenario.  
  I don’t think Caleb’s situation is quite as extreme though.  I will say they both inherited a wonderful imagination.
  Here are a few things I have learned/noticed/wondered about all of this in the last week:
  -First off, this trait runs rampantly through the maternal side of my family.  I’m a dreamer.  My brother is a dreamer, and the list goes on and on.  There are cousins and grandparents with this same sort of problem.  
-So is this a personality issue or a brain issue?  I’m not so sure.
-Is this a medical problem or a character trait they will just have to learn to control?  
-First, I’d like to teach them some coping methods and address their diet before we try anything drastic.
Alan mentioned that perhaps it’d be best to introduce one modification at a time.  Then we can see more clearly what makes a difference and what doesn’t.  The only problem is that I’m not at school with them to look for changes.  However, the way that they do not pay attention is also extremely evident at home.
 I need to know, though, how much of that is just them being kids?  Those still in the trenches of child rearing, I need your input here!  Do you have to call your children multiple times just to get them to even respond?  Do you tell your child to pick up his shoes, only to have him say, “Mom, look at this space ship I made!  It has …..”  Then I ask him if he heard what I said, and after a long blank stare, he finally says, “Oh!  My shoes.”
  Surely some of that is just normal, right?  How would I know?  These kids are all that I know!
Here are our current modifications:
Problem #1.  Joshua is an insomniac, sometimes lying in bed awake until 10pm.  Then when morning comes, he has trouble waking up because he has not gotten enough sleep.
Solution:  Found!  All Alan and I have to do is stay upstairs, in our room, chatting, doing laundry, working on our computers–anything–until he goes to sleep.  It takes no time if we’re up there.  Since we have started this, he has not stayed awake past 9pm.  Plus the last two mornings he has gotten up on his own–before Caleb even–at 6:30 am!!!  This is huge! 
  At least I know I’m finally sending him to school well rested!
Problem #2:  Self control.  Most adults don’t even have enough of this, so obviously it can be an issue for kids.  We have to SEE if we can teach Joshua and Caleb some strategies to help them  control when they tune out in class.  So far, we’ve just been coaching them before school.  
  Nonna also suggested that we could have both boys respond when we call their name with, “Yes ma’am or yes sir,” just so we know that we have their attention.  We haven’t had much success with that  yet, but new habits do take a while.  The point is to teach them to make it a point to FOCUS in when their name is called.
  Joshua’s biggest complaint is that school is “boring, boring, boring.”  My brother always felt that way too.  I wish we could find a way to make it more fun and interesting for him.  
  I remember those few months I had to homeschool Joshua during a move, I had to change his math curriculum due to the “boring” thing.  I switched him from “Math You See” to “A Beka”.  The biggest difference was that the “A Beka” worksheets had colorful pictures on them.  The content was the same, but those colorful pictures made a difference!  
  Well, I don’t know how we’ll end up fixing this, but I know one thing:  You can’t fix anything without changing something!  So we are tackling this one change at a time!
  Oh!  And about the diet thing!  Joshua accidentally ate a bite of a Mr. Goodbar (has peanuts) on Halloween night.  Of course, I gave him Benadryl right away, but guess what happened???
Could the peanut allergy be phasing out?  Oh, that would make my life easier if it would!!!


  • Janet and I had a great time, but we are tired! I am so thankful that God sends us children earlier in life! I really admire the job you two are doing raising FOUR little boys!!! I am resting up so that I can be back in early December. April, be working on that list of what all you want us to get done. Hope you are all feeling better very soon. Nonna

  • Anonymous

    Glad to hear Joshua is sleeping better…that is huge! I was online looking at the Growing Kids God's Way site since you'd spoken so highly of them, and I happened to see something about having your kids say “yes, Mama” after you call them so they would focus in. Popular idea, I guess! Very interested in the peanut allergy development…that is also huge! Amy

  • Thanks for all the help. I'm hoping to get a cavity filled next time you come!

  • They really do have so many great ideas. He has done a lot of study in child development, plus I love their Christian perspective.

  • Thank you for stopping by and linking up this great post. I have a child and we have tried everything for ADHD, RAD, and other issues she was tested and diagnosed with. It is a daily struggle. I have tried diet and medicine. The doctor worked with her for months and finally gave up and took her off all medicine. No matter the amount or kind of medicine nothing worked. We have an unusual case and it is frustrating.
    Thank you again for stopping by.
    Blessings Always, Diane Roark

  • Anonymous

    What a wonderful blessing it would be if he could outgrow this food allergy. Love to all, Nana