How do you handle crying kids on the first day?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Rachael84, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2010

    I recently was told I'm staying in 1st grade and not going to 3rd. This will be my 3rd year going into 1st grade, and I feel like my biggest weakness is how to deal with crying kids with the first few days. I'm not talking about kids that are teary eyed and keeping quiet about it; I'm talking about the ones who scream bloody murder and throw tantrums about going with the teacher and the parent leaving them there and turning away.

    I had this happen my first year when I taught Kindergarten, but my mentor was right next door and took a couple of kids who were having problems. She knew I didn't know how to deal with this yet. The teachers in that school were really supportive. I'm in a new school this year, so I doubt the teachers would go this far out of their way to help me; especially since they know I'm not brand new.

    There was one case where I had a child come in later in the year and he wouldn't stop crying. I just kind of let him sit against the wall in the opposite side of the room (he refused to move) and cry it out. Eventually he came around a few hours later and was okay.

    So how do you deal with it the first day when you have to pay serious attention to the whole class? I know about talking to them and trying to calm them down, but what else? I don't want the other kids to see me as soft if i'm trying to talk to the crying kids in a nice, sweet voice, since in the inner-city it's extra important to form a good first impression towards your class.

    any advice??
     
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  3. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    Aug 27, 2010

    Middle school was invented for those of us who can’t handle crying kids!
     
  4. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I have them sit at a table to the side and give them time to calm down. Then day by day I cut the calm down time down. Eventually the child stops crying when they come in. I also just ignore the child.
     
  5. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I would teach middle school, but I have to get my certification to do so. I can't teach below 4th grade because of the tears and tying shoes. I taught math to the k/1st graders last year and nearly lost it when they cried. I'm glad my 5th graders don't cry!
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Aug 27, 2010

    What you describe is far less common with first graders. So far this year, first three days, no crying except for one child that was the result of a bona fide gravity incident.

    I can probably count on one hand the number of first day criers I've had in 10 years and most of those have been fairly minor. I've seen a few crying screaming fits, but so far have not had any myself. I did see a pretty lively one in kindergarten today, though.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 28, 2010

    :lol::lol::lol:

    I have a hard time with the crying as well, but really haven't seen it in our grade 1 students. The kindergarten kiddos are a different story, however, and I'll be called upon the first week of school to help with some of those who are having a really tough time (note to self--comfortable shoes, washable clothes, and carry a box of Kleenex).
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 28, 2010

    I'd probably allow the rest of the class to continue on their activity or assign them something they could quietly do and talk to the child out in the hallway-- where I could still peak in on my class.

    Then I'd ask the child if he/she would like to sit and think for a bit by themselves or if they'd like to take a walk with me up and down the hallway (not too far from the classroom) and chat. I'd ask if there's a favorite activity they'd like to spent 10 minutes doing by themselves--- maybe read a book, or just look out of the window, etc.

    I remember I was in pre-k and one day I just lost it... I drew a triangle wrong hehe... and my teacher said I could go to our bathroom (we had a single bathroom attached to the classroom) and calm myself down.

    I'd also e-mail or call the parent and let them know about it--- hopefully they'd be nice enough parent(s) to talk to their kid about it.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 28, 2010

    I've never seen a first grade crier.

    Last year I was afraid of that for my first year of teaching kinder kids. It didn't happen. I think it was for two reasons. The students have all been in school a while (family ed and preschool) and because I had a beginning of the year party which included parents helping their child get acclimated to the room and getting to know me at the same time.

    I confess... I wonder if my luck will hold this year (same party) because I have new students this year who may or may not have ever been in school before. In fact, I think one was recently adopted from another country (just not sure how long ago, but that's my impression).

    Crossing my fingers because I'm not sure I know how to deal with it either. :)
     
  10. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    Aug 28, 2010

    We have had 5th grader criers EVERY YEAR! But somehow ;) they are always in the other 5th grade room! I have never had a crier...:whistle:

    Yet.
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I teach pre-k and I have had kids who cry for MONTHS! I always try to be empathetic, build a relationship, etc., etc. but at some point the more attention to pay to it, the more it continues. Tears aren't usually as big of a problem as the screaming panic attacks which no one can hear over, or runners. One year I taught with a kid on my hip through January because it was the only way we could survive as a class.

    I try to find out what is their passion (crafts, animals, whatever) and have something for them to look forward to doing. I post family pictures on the wall at the beginning of the year or have portfolio books which include their family pictures which some find comofort in seeing. You can ask if they want to bring a comfort item. Some can be "bribed" with if you don't cry in the morning I will let you talk to mom on the phone at lunch. Teach parents to say good-bye but leave quickly - the more they linger the more the "pain" builds. It is hard to do when you have a big class but the more personal conversations you have with each child, acknowledging when they are doing a good job, building relationships either with yourself or a special friend the more likely the tears will stop.

    Good luck.
     
  12. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    Hopefully it won't be as bad in this school, since this school has pre-k and probably at least 1/4 of the class has been to pre-k. I'd say the majority of the incoming 1st graders have been to K, so i'm hoping it won't be too bad. At my previous school, most kids never went to K.

    Though I spoke to a teacher in this new school, and she said the 3rd graders this past year were big criers the first day. :eek:
     
  13. knitchic

    knitchic Rookie

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    Usually I find staying calm, and letting the child sit apart from the group while we continue something enjoyable (like a story) works for me. I try to talk to the child one-on-one and let them know that we are going to have fun at school and that they will see their parents after school. If they are completely bawling I give them a safe and cozy place to sit, and tell them very calmly that I want to help them but I can't speak with them until they calm down. I tell them to come and get me when they are ready to chat.

    I did have one boy last year who cried every morning for 2 months. What eventually worked was a sticker chart. He got to choose a sticker every morning that he came in without crying. Once he got out of the habit of crying in about a week or so, we phased the chart out. Maybe you could even do one big chart for the whole class? Every time they start the day in a happy was, they could get a sticker and when the chart is filled you could have a treat?

    Another idea would be to assign the crier a job to do first thing in the morning. Let them know that they are going to be the official 'plant waterer' or 'hampster feeder' and they have to do this right away without crying. This might give them something to focus on besides feeling homesick.
     
  14. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    I LOVE the playdough activity that is suggested here:
    http://littlestlearners.blogspot.com/

    I think that if the kids are kept busy with a fun activity when they first come in, it shouldn't be a very big deal. Luckily, we don't allow parents to come in, so the kids have normally cried it out before they come down to the room.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Yes! Put out playdough on each desk and let them get going on that! Big distraction and almost irresistable!
     
  16. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    The playdough idea definitely wouldn't work in the district I work in, lol. no way...it's all work, work, work, even in 1st grade.
     
  17. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Not even on the first day for "morning work" while the teacher greets the students?!
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    A kid can't work if they are crying.
     
  19. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    Nah, it would set the wrong tone. Anyway, it wouldn't be worth shelling out the money for all that playdough for them to use just one time.
     
  20. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

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    Haha, love the term "gravity incident." I'm totally stealing that.

    With crying kids I usually offer up a few sympathetic words or sounds, and then send them to get a drink from the fountain and wash their face in the bathroom. Staying really really busy in the first few days with team building or getting to know you activities also helps keep them distracted.
     
  21. succeed

    succeed Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2010

    We start off kindergarten with puzzles, playdoh, cookie cutters, and so forth. The children come in, and we smile. I build relationships with my children. I tell them how glad I am to have them in my class. I also explain to them that other kids are scared too. I help them bond with each other. For instance, I tell the first two kids that walk in that they are the first ones there. I make a huge deal how they are the first ones to walk into my class. They feel special. I introduce them to everyone. We also do popcorn introduction. I keep telling them how much fun they are going to have in my class. However, we practice practice and practice all day.
     

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