In a recent post, I admitted to taking away my son’s toy trains for constantly earning his name on the naughty kid board in kindergarten. It didn’t work. Noah’s name became routine in the classroom, to be expected like the pledge of allegiance and lunch. Ugh, lunchtime. That was when he’d earned his spot on that infamous board by telling a friend to explode a milk carton. Fist down, milk everywhere, very unhappy teacher. Noah’s punishment: one week sitting alone during snack and lunch times.
That first day of punishment, I showed up with my sandwich and juice box and sat with my Noah. My presence was met with sympathy from the teachers, who admitted they felt bad, but we all agreed he needed creative discipline—and taking away the trains hadn’t worked. For the rest of the week, Noah completed his punishment alone, although I did put a special note and sticker in his lunch bag. He taped those notes to his bedroom door every night, insinuating that perhaps he’d learned his lesson—not!
There are many theories to explain poor behavior in the classroom:
- Advanced children get bored – Negative, his test scores are high, but not off the charts.
- ADHD—No, I approached his pediatrician about his active behavior years ago who negated my worries.
- Nature, meaning boys are naturally very active—Yep, that’s it! After a heart to heart with Noah, he simply said, “I have too much energy Mommy. We sit all day in class, and I can’t even sleep at night because I still have energy.”
This confirmation earned Noah a spot on the West Valley Eagles track team. Three times a week he runs a combined total of one mile during practice, in addition to sprints, lunges, high knees, you get the idea—the coaches wear ‘em out. Not to mention weekly track meets. An added bonus: the coaches don’t play. Meaning, no talking or goofing off, none whatsoever. Any kid who steps out of line gets a thunderous ear full from the coach and is ordered to run a lap, sometimes two laps. When coach yells, “Do you understand me?!” The kids reply, “Yes, Coach!”
My son does not win races. In fact, he comes in dead last in many of the distance runs. It doesn’t matter. The discipline he’s getting has eased tension in the classroom and at home. He’s better behaved and addresses adults as he’s instructed to do at practice. “Yes, Mommy!” is music to my ears. What’s more, this is the first activity he hasn’t quit because he doesn’t win.
It’s hard to express how beneficial track is for our family. In just a few weeks, Noah has matured by leaps and bounds, and his name hasn’t been on the naughty board once! In my eyes, he’s won the battle.
Now if I could just get my three year old to stop dashing and darting through the stands at West Valley Eagle track meets—ugh.