I am teaching music at a K-2 school. This is my first year teaching and I need all the help I can get. So, my question is "HOW MANY TIMES DO KINDERGARTNERS NEED TO USE THE BATHROOM?!?!?!" They are driving me crazy. My class is 30 minutes long. They have breakfast before they come to me but they also take a bathroom break before they come to me. Yet, I have at least 15 in my kindergarten classes (I teach 4 k classes) ask to use the bathroom. I don't let them go together and I have a bathroom pass that they have to check and see if it is there before asking, BUT STILL!!!!! Is that normal? I have only taught 3rd and 6th grade (student teaching and an AmeriCorps program), so this is new to me. I don't want any accidents on my hands though. Do I just let them go everytime they ask? I have fun lessons and once they hear what we are going to do, the bathroom questions die done, but it is still a CONSTANT interruption.
Could be nerves, could be checking out the bathroom (exciting and new). If they've already been there, should only be a couple of kids, and that might be as they digest their brk. You could ask before they begin, then not allow them to go during lessons. Also... ask their classroom teacher what his/her guidelines are. Might be able to follow that, as kids will be getting use to it.
Yes, it is pretty common for K students to need to use the bathroom a lot. I will also say from experience that often by the time kids ask, it is an emergency at that point! I would NEVER tell a K student they can not use the bathroom when they ask. If you say no and there is an accident, you would have a hard time justifying it. What I would suggest is, let their teacher know it is becoming a big distraction and that kids are missing work and information. Ask the teacher to remind her students to go to the bathroom before they go to your class. hopefully that will help. Another thing you could do is. Instead of a pass, you could have a system where a child has to write their name on a wipe off board. That way, they quietly get up, write their name, and go.
a physical need - it is a diversion more than likely.
The same things happen when we have school wide assemblies. One asks, and gets to go and so then you'd have a long stream of kindergarteners wanting to go for something to do. I would start telling them to use their bathroom break before they come to you rather than wait til they come. Talk to their homeroom teacher about who might need to go (some might be peers still at this age) and get the full scoop. If they have a regular, established bathroom break before you, there's no real need for them to need to go again. They can usually handle it without accidents by the time they are 5-6 years old. I teach 3-5 year olds and they can pretty much hold it as needed.
Its all new, its fun, they're testing you, and it will settle sometime this month. Even wearing your pass is a fun new experience. I totally agree with not saying no, you do not want an accident on your hands. You could have them sign, so that you can show the teacher the list and she can help you work on the problem, but remember the K students might not be very good at printing their names yet so this might become an issue all on its own.
In the meantime, be sure their teacher takes them to the bathroom before they come. It might help to always start your lesson with a "welcome to music" song and a routine, so they get into that routine and forget they had planned to "go". I always found the kids loved to review a favorite song from last lesson, doing singing games that involved movement or taking turns singing/chanting a line on their own. Tell them all the fun stuff you have planned today so they are too excited to leave. If it continues to be a real issue, how would you feel about telling them that when they return from the bathroom they'll have to sit out the next activity. Since there is always something fun going on in your classroom, only those who really need to go will go.
Some K students do need frequent breaks, but MOST of them should be able to last 30 minutes. Talk to the teachers. Find out if there is anyone with special bathroom issues. Then ask the teacher to remind the class the "no bathroom breaks during specials" rule. As a classroom teacher, I always take my students to the bathroom on our way to a special class, and then I announce that to the specialist as I drop my students off. "We JUST stopped at the bathroom, so no one should have to ask you during music class."
If they are using the bathroom right before they come to your class, make sure there is an "everybody tries" rule. Explain to them that everybody tries before they come to music, so no one should have to go during music. I do group bathroom breaks twice a day, and I won't let anyone go for about the next 30 minutes. I just say, "No, you just went." and I have never had a problem.
them go. I have my parents bring their kids into the bathroom the 1st day and show them how it all works to allieviate anxiety as much as possible. Then I bring them all in to the bathroom at once and teach the routine, exaggerating what we should NOT do sandwiched in between modeling what we SHOULD do.
Finally, I teach them that THEY are in charge of their bodies, not me and that I can't know when it is an emergency. I tell them that when I am teaching I will ask them to wait, but if it is an emergency they need to tell me and I will let them go.
This year, I have a group that at the mere MENTION of one having to go, they are like dominos and they ALL have to go. I liken it to when I hear water running...sometimes it just has that effect on them to hear the words "I have to go potty." at this age.
I would back up and teach the routine even though you are in music. Help them understand that they need to try to wait when you are teaching, but that if they REALLy can't, that they can trust you to let them go. They are learning self-regulation about EVERYTHING in kinder.
I was a kid with a busy bladder and am an adult with one. My 3rd grade teacher refused to let me go even though I followed her rules. I asked several times and finally, afraid to take care of myself for fear of the teacher's consequences I sat right next to the row of 4th grade boys in my combination room and wet my little plaid dress. I never lived down the humiliation from that one incident. The teacher later privately apologized, but only after very publich humiliation. It isn't worth the scars. Trust me. I've taken it to turn it into something better for my kids.
I agree with 'NO' since they have JUST GONE. I do whole group bathroom before rest/read and have never had an issue. I do have 1 little girl we watch out for since she can't make it in time- special issue. So check with teachers on any kids like that. During rug time I don't have any issues with potty copy-cats. And I know which kids can't make it through a mini-lesson that goes long. But no drinks till you're at table work. I told my kids nobody is gonna die if you have to wait for your drink. (It takes 3 days to die without water) 1 kid is now quoting that to me
I like the idea of a previous poster...have some music or something ready to go as they are entering the classroom so that they become preoccupied. I have been teaching Kindergarten for a long time and this is pretty common in September. Remember that everything is new and exciting to them. They want to check out the bathroom, your pass, and what is going on in the hallway when they are in class. Maybe they will see their sibling or a friend! Make sure that everyone who would like to has had a chance to use the bathroom during Music one time to help get that out of their system. I would also tell the Kindergarten teachers about the problem and ask that they try to see that their students use the bathroom before coming to you especially if there are group restrooms. Some children may have a medical condition that you need to be aware of. But, you don't have much time with them. (It is difficult for my K students because they only use the one bathroom in our room. It would take me 30 minutes to have them all use the bathroom before a Special! ) I wouldn't be afraid of saying no to them when they ask. Most of the time you can tell who is in distress by the expression on their face...it's often the quiet kid with the tense look on his face. Send that kid right away! Otherwise, encourage them to hold it for a little while longer. Accidents happen in Kindergarten and if handled well by the adults, they have never seemed to be a big deal at this young age. They are sort of oblivious about what the other kids are thinking. It should settle down as they mature. You are already off to a good start because you indicated that they stop asking once the lesson gets into full swing. Keep your sense of humor. We will all get through September!
Just to share this very cute Matthew. He was my students when at my first year at our school. He was very jolly and love talking about water. I thought he was joking when he told that his parents allowed him to do his school work while in the bathtub. But one day that we had met with the parents I ask his parents and they confirmed me. That was crazy!