Help me teach my boy to focus

I need help.  There, I've admitted it out loud.  See, I have a kindergarten age boy who is crazy active.  He's extremely bright, almost too much as things tend to come too easily in school.  So when he encounters something in life that takes a little more effort and trial and error, he shuts down.  His defense mechanism?  Get silly.

We are in the early stages of reading.  And, honestly, I think he's doing great.  He knows his site words cold.  We make them into flashcards and play games, and he never misses one.  When I can get him to sit still and relax, he reads great.  The trouble is HE doesn't believe he's doing well, and I don't get why.  His teacher is great.  His Dad and I encourage.  Don't get it perfect?  Who cares!  It's the effort that matters.  It's that you didn't give up and you persevered that is important.  But the message does not sink through that thick, stubborn, perfectionist little skull I love so dearly.

So what does he do when he's reading, and he starts getting to words that seem too big and overwhelming?  He makes a guess without sounding any of it out, and then gets silly.  He starts looking around and what's going on around him.  He acts silly to get his little brother to laugh, or at school, his classmates.  It's how he hides from what he thinks is too hard for him.  Eventually, we can settle him back down and he tries it finally.  And he gets it!

So, here's my question.  I'm praying that some really wonderful teachers out there are reading this.  Or some wonderful parents that went through this with their boys.  How do you teach them to see when the "silly's" are getting the better of them and teach them how to focus and settle.  I know age and maturity with help this, but don't we need to start somewhere to help that?  If he gets in trouble at any time of day, it's because he let the sillys get the better of him.  He's a good kid in school overall, but at least once, maybe twice a week, he'll come home with a yellow somewhere on his daily behavior chart meaning he had to get a warning.  And EVERY time the teach wrote a note explaining it was him acting silly.  At home, he'll get really wound up (his little bro is a great audience, which does not help Mommy and Daddy) and get going and just. can't. stop.

So, when you have a boy who compensates by acting silly and goofy, to the point where it hinders his ability to complete a task, what do you do?  Are there mental exercises I can teach him?  At home we tell him to wiggle and giggle and shake em all out before school while he's getting ready.  We tell him that at recess he needs to run.  Just all out, run and get sweaty and tired.  At home, the first hour or two are silly free periods.  As long as he follows house rules he can be as silly and goofy and loud as he needs to in order to release all that held in energy from school, until dinner when it's time to settle back down.  I feel like this is holding him back in his reading a bit.  I wish he could see what we see.  I wish he knew he was as smart as he is.  I wish he believed he was doing well.  I wish he could learn to not worry about getting it "perfect" and just keep going.

Anyone with any ideas to help?  I'm all ears!!!


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