Articles and Topics
Why does my kindergartner take so long to finish her work?
Donna Goldsboro
Your daughter may be right that some of those worksheets waste her time. Most of us in early childhood think they should be delayed until first grade, and that kindergarten should emphasize the type of learning exemplified in social play and individual play with creative materials. But worksheets are stressed as part of early literacy, and your daughter will need to learn to complete them in a reasonable length of time. As you are an elementary teacher, you can remind her that teachers sometimes ask their pupils to do things that the pupils can't see the justification for at the time, but that they will appreciate later. Also, there is nothing wrong with simply telling her that she needs to show respect for her teacher and help her carry out her mission with the children.

It is rare for a child to have a serious attention problem at school without comparable behavior at home. In your own interactions with your daughter you can note whether she clearly focuses when you talk to her or give her instructions. If you think she lacks focus at home, try to help her by doing simple things like (1) speaking slowly and clearly, (2) making certain she is looking at you before you give her any instructions involving two or three sentences and requiring considerable organization on her part before her response, and (3) remembering to praise her when she carries out a long-term activity.

As far as medication goes, I'm on your husband's side. But you need to check with your own pediatrician and possibly have her evaluated for ADD. It is widely diagnosed, with the typical treatment being medication such as Ritalin, Adderall or Cylert. However, a number of experts in the field think these medications are overused and that we need to have more research on their long-term effects. They should be the last rather than the first resort.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education