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Why doesn't my nephew respond to his teacher?

Q: My 4-year-old nephew studies in L.K.G. Due to financial problems, my sister has left him at our place and for the last two years, he is with us. There is no child of his age in our colony. My sister lives in another city and due to her personal problems; she can't visit our place to meet her son. My nephew often asks about his mother and we try to distract him from the topic or tell him that she is far away and can't come. My nephew is underweight (only 9 kg) and doesn't have good eating habits. He used to fall sick quite frequently earlier but now he is all right. He was sent to play school last year so that he would get acquainted with the school environment. He grasps things very fast and whatever the teacher teaches him like rhymes, names of animals, flowers, fruits etc at the play school, he tells us all on being asked. His pronunciation is absolutely correct. The problem with him is, whenever the teacher asks him any rhymes or his name or anything taught at school he never opens his mouth and just stares at his teacher. The teacher tries to lure him with chocolates; he takes the chocolates but doesn't speak. Is he scared of the teacher or is he really missing his parents? Now he is in L.K.G and we are worried that if this continues, it might hamper his studies and growth. Please suggest what shall we do.

A:You have given quite a few details of the child's present situation. I find it difficult to imagine that your sister and the family finds a 4 year old's expenses to be high. In my view, he could go to a simple school in the neighbourhood, rather than to an expensive school. Or some member of the family could send some extra money for the child's expenses. I can imagine that this could cause complications. However, unless there is a very good reason, the child should not be separated from his mother. If that is inevitable, the other adults who care for him should give him unqualified affection, lots of hugs and cuddling. It could be quite lonely for a 4 year old if the people in the house are not involved in his daily activities, his feelings and his worries. Rather than being concerned about his school performance, the grandparents should make sure he is happy, eats and sleeps well and has plenty of time and materials for play. If he is shy and quiet in school, that in itself is not a matter for worry. He will adjust gradually to the school. Please consult everyone in the family and review the position. The child will be happier with his parents (unless there is some factor that you have not mentioned). Letting him grow up with his parents should be the first option.

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