Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cookie cutter kids

So my kids don't conform to the cookie cutter mold for turkish preschool. They now come home early from preschool. Listen to this, a normal day of preschool can start from anywhere between 8-9 in the morning to 5-6 in the afternoon. That's a possible 10 hours in preschool! It's impossible for me to believe that any non working mother would want this for her child. However, if I was a working mother I would gratefully place my children in this kind of preschool. They get fed three times. Not just sandwiches and chips, but real food. Lentil soup, meatballs, in season fruit, green beans, dry beans with salami, baked chicken, pasta, manti (turkish ravioli), rice, and tons of other dishes that I couldn't describe because I don't know enough turkish. Anyway, they get cleaned 50 million times a day. They get worried about if they fall down. They get coddled. All the attention you would want your child to have while you were gone would be given to them. Despite all these redeeming qualities, I would rather have my children home with me. I take them out at 2 each day. I know that my sometimes grumpy voice isn't as nice as all the cooing that they hear at school, but at least I get to see them be free for a while and know that they are still mine. I love to see them run and jump and get dirty and scream! (outside the house of course) As for the cookie cutter reformation of my children, I don't know if it will ever happen. My children hit other kids. Yes, I am a mother of preschool bullies. They're different than elementary school bullies. Anyway, I take them home early because the school thinks that perhaps I can do something to change their behavior at school. Well, I can't remedy the fact that my kids don't understand turkish and are slightly violent even at home. I really feel for their teachers. I hate to cause anyone else extra work.
So here's my dilemma- My oldest child would be happy to be home with me, but he's severely shy and extremely hyper active. I feel that he should spend some time with other kids and people to foster social growth. We lack family and visits from other children so I feel this is necessary right now. My middle child is very social and less hyper and actually listens better, eats better, and naps better at school than he does at home. He also loves all the attention he gets at school. When should a child most be home with their mother? When they hate their preschool but need to learn to be social -or- when they already are socially healthy and don't need that strength?


Cameron said...

wish I knew the answer but I really have no say so in the matter. I am gone all day. Pray about it and fast about it if this is really important to you to figure out.

Lesa said...

Christine.. funny, the preschools here in Ukraine remind me of the ones in Turkey. The one KJ goes to, some kids are there from 8am till 7pm! Almost 12 hours!! That's nuts. However.. KJ is super shy and active just like Atticus and that is the MAJOR reason I have her in there. I want her to understand I'm not always going to be right there with her and she can handle it on her own. I'm hoping she'll branch out and make some friends even though she doesn't understand the jibber jabber and mumbo jumbo. She did better today. I have her doing a reward chart for going to school and it seems to be a big help. :)

Lesa said...

by the way, I actually only have KJ in there from 9:00 till 1:00. that is long enough for her right now.

Code Yellow Mom said...

All day is a looooong time. I even worry about it with my kindergartner, but he is LOVING it.

Sometimes, as counterintuitive as it seems, small children will fee more secure socially if they have a little bit more time at home with mom. Some, especially tentative oldest children, just need to see how things work and how people are before they are able to jump in with both feet. Also, there are lots of personalities in this world. Not everyone is MEANT to be a socialite. And childhood is a learning skills fall into place somewhat later for boys anyway.

Your idea that your boys are bullies is funny. Believe me, I know the frustration. However, boys are very physical. And often when we (and other caregivers) think they are being mean or aggressive, they are really just making friends, especially with other boys. They're establishing themselves. And most of the time, it's just a phase. Don't let the preschool teachers stress you out about their behavior.

I just got a fabulous book called, "It's a Boy!" Love it. SOoooo helpful with developmental questions and social dilemmas. Check it out.

And P.S. Is Lesa in Kyiv?

Code Yellow Mom said...

Also, sometimes preschool is needed for you as much as it is helpful to the child - a little down time helps you step back and know how to parent when they are home. It also helps them see that there are rules and boundaries everywhere they go, that mom isn't just nagging about stuff for her health. :) And, I might add - the preschool age group should be given a lot of latitude and chances to learn and grow - they aren't SUPPOSED to be perfectly behaved already. Shoot, I know some 30-somethings who never got the preschool behavior lessons. :)

Aimee said...

As you know, I just witnessed a 7 year old boy get expelled from first grade because he had a fit whenever he didn't get his way. His frustrations manifested as hits, shoves and pinches--what I might call class bully behavior. My feeling was this little boy, in his earlier preschool years, missed out on opportunities to practice sharing, following rules and dealing with the consequences for breaking them.

I think the benefits are great for kids to learn these life skills from parents, teachers and classmates as soon as possible. I'm all for kids spending a few hours each day in preschool. It sounds like these Turkish teachers are very patient and caring. That's great.

Hopefully this "preschool bully" behavior is just a phase with your boys. But just in case, it might not hurt to meet with their teachers and outline the rules and consequences for your boys' behavior. That way everyone is on the same page and everything gets reinforced at home and school. It's important to get them ready for life after kindergarten.

Lisa said...

The times spent in preschools in Belgium is the same. The school is open from 7:30-6:30, with school officially starting at 9 and ending at 3:30. My kindergartener goes the whole day (from 9-3:30) but I too have struggled what to do about my 3 year old. All of the other 3 year olds go all day, but I struggle to know if it's really the best thing to have him there all day and so I take him home early 3 days a week. But then I wonder if it's confusing for him and I should just let the schedule stay the same everyday.

Unlike Turkey, the teachers here are quite stern (at least on the french side of things) and the children are required to be very disciplined (which I like...makes my children learn that I'm not the only one with rules and maybe I'm not so "mean" afterall :) ) However, like Turkey, the food in the schools is fabulous. The US could learn a thing or two about hot lunch here!