Thursday, September 20, 2007

Advice, anyone?

I'm looking for some parenting ideas in dealing with this child:

Jonah is a VERY sweet natured boy. He has a natural tendency to care for others. He is funny and loves to make others laugh (which he can do quite easily). He really is a great kid! He is happy 99% of the time (and when he isn't it is usually because he is tired).

The 'problem' that we are seeing in Jonah is a lack of focus. He has trouble paying attention to directions and even if he does listen to what he's asked to do, he forgets what he was doing pretty much before he starts. (And to clarify, I'm talking about simple directions such as "Jonah, go get your shoes and put them on."). Often when someone is talking to Jonah he will wander off as though they weren't even talking.

Jonah has a very difficult time hearing his name being called. He does not have a hearing problem, but he just doesn't seem to process that someone is talking to him. Sometimes it's like he is in his own little world.

Also he generally moves at his own pace. I know that this is part of who he is, but it does seem as though he could speed some things up when he is asked. (An example of this is that it can take him five minutes to get out of the van. He sloooooooowly crawls out of his car seat. Then he stops to pick something up off the floor. Then he turns around and sees a book. He starts to flip through the pages of the book. He finally realizes that I'm standing at the van door saying "Jonah, come out of the car, let's go!" and again starts to head my way. Then he notices the seat belt hanging over the middle seat. He starts playing with that. And on and on and on......)

So my question, for anyone who has any suggestions for me: what do we do with Jonah? How can we help him focus on completing tasks, paying attention to people talking to him, etc....? Have you dealt with this with your child or have you seen someone else like this? I really am feeling like we need to deal with it (somewhat) now before he is old enough to be in school. I honestly think that he would have to be home-schooled because he would get left behind in a classroom setting. (Yes, I know that he is only 2 1/2, but it's never to early to start, right?)

Thanks for your input, folks! :)


Lisa H said...

Oops. I didn't realize that I wrote so much until I posted it. Anyone make it this far? :)

Grace said...

Yes! Our boys sound a lot alike! My youngest son, middle child, is somewhat the same. We can get out of the Jeep a little faster, but not much. When I talk to him, going down to his level, he still has a hard time focusing. My husband and I are feeling the same about school...he might have problems paying attention. I'm not too worried yet because he's 3 and by 4 or 5 I truly believe he'll mature and have more control over focusing. What seemed to help my son, which I just started implementing recently, are these…

A more structured schedule – this helps him to know what to expect. Now I’ve always had a schedule and routine for all my children, but I’m more rigid with my youngest son.

Timer- This helps to remind him what will be expected when he hears the bell.

Praise- LOTS, LOTS, LOTS for following directions or requests!

I just started a new reward chart, too. Five stickers for the day, he earns a treasure box surprise or small treat. When he completes tasks or follows directions then he earns one sticker.

I asked our pediatrician at his 3-year-old check-up and she stated this was COMPLETELY normal. I thought my son had a hearing problem, too, but he didn’t either.

Let me know what you think… I’ll be checking back at the comments to see any advice that may work for me!

Tami said...

It seems to me you have a very curious little guy. I watch Amanda, who is 3 1/2 and the world just fascinates her. I have a feeling, he will grow out of this, but I agree with the things that Grace wrote. I have a chart sys. going for Amanda, too. But, you need to make sure he's ready for that. I tried it too early for Amanda and it didn't work at all. She could care less at first about stickers on a chart. So, I broke out the skittles. I know, candy isn't the greatest reward, but one skittle at a time isn't going to rot her teeth out. A whole little bag lasted like 2 or 3 weeks. It didn't take long for her to get more interested in stickers and I was able to phase out the candy. Like good 'ol Dr. Phil says, you've got to find your child's currency. What do they hold in value, and then use it. Good luck. I'll be interested to see what works for you. I still have one more child to get thru this phase. She's just a year old and already I can tell what worked for her sis. prob. won't work on her. Oh, joy! :0)

sam said...

Is his father still in the picture? It sounds like maybe he isn't getting enough dad time. Try taking him to Lowe's and let him connect with one of the workers there. I think this would really help. If Home Depot is closer, that will work too. Good luck!

Just Mom said...

I was going to write what I thought would be excellent advice, and forgot it while laughing so hard reading Sam's comment.


I think Jonah will grow out of it. Alex used to dawdle a lot. He still sometimes takes his time doing a task he doesn't want to do, and does get distracted once in a while, but he's become a lot better about paying attention.

When he asks why he has to do something, I tell him because "it's the right thing to do." If he doesn't budge he gets to stand in a corner until he's ready to cooperate (he comes around within 30 seconds because he H-A-T-E-S the corner).

I like the other advice you've received so far, with the exception of the advice from Sam

Good luck.

Kerrie said...

Lisa - would you be willing to e-mail me?

Anonymous said...

I'm far from an expect and I really don't know Jonah, but the second child is rarely anything like the first. My first was always totally together and followed directions well. My second was very care free and life was a picnic. She matured as she grew and by age...ah about 4 was a completely different child.

End result....ask David H. how daughter #2 turned out when it comes to following directions and staying on task.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I agree with Sam, those home improvement stores have great classes for learning projects and keeping one focused. A father - son class might be just the right thing.

It will also give Mom, Henry, and Bridget some quality time without DAD and little Jonah, hehe.

Heidi Jo said...

that sam guy is a genius...i'd go with his advice.

Marybeth said...

Oh yes...I love Sam's comments...I think Jonah is totally normal...well, not totally, because he has the most advanced,extensive vocabulary for a 2 year old that I have ever heard! Yes, Jonah is the 2nd born- can't even start to compare that to a first born- Give him time- he'll get focused...I think he already is and I see quite a bit of him!