Help! My kid won’t listen – I’m not a teacher…
Hello OJCS families,
The title of this blog post is something I’m guessing some of you are feeling right now….
Parenting at the best of times can be challenging and exhausting….parenting at the worst of times (and let’s face it, this is pretty awful..) while your child is ‘at school’ but at home – well that brings a whole new dimension that none of us ever thought we would find ourselves in…. and yet here we are.
I know that many parents are finding this ‘new normal’ very challenging – juggling your own work stresses while simultaneously trying to support your child/ren with their distance learning. We know it’s been tough and we know that you are doing your best and we know that you are likely screaming…. Help! My kid(s) won’t listen – I’m not a teacher!
My advice is to step back and take a deep breath. You are doing great and you can only do what you can do. None of the teachers are expecting you to be the teachers. We know that many of your children are not feeling independent or confident YET, but it’s because it is new and we are all learning. We are making mistakes, we are collecting feedback, we are tweaking and tweaking again and together we will come up with better plans and better schedules and improved ideas. The best thing you can do for your child is to support them and love them. Do NOT engage in battles and power struggles. When (not if) but when your child is struggling and stressed and perhaps even yelling… your best weapon is to stay calm. Your job is to encourage, validate, listen and support. You do not have to feel obligated to swoop in and fix anything and you certainly don’t have to make it perfect. Learning is supposed to be challenging and designed to let kids struggle. We know you are not your child’s teacher and we don’t want you to be. Just like when you do your best to support with homework, you do your best to support with distance learning. When your child runs into difficulty, of course, you can try and help, but the second it turns ugly, you are allowed and encouraged to put it away for later and ask for help from the teacher.
We know that when stress levels are high, emotions run higher than normal. It’s important to model calmness. It’s important to model taking a break, getting fresh air and exercise. It’s important to model forgiveness and patience. I would also encourage having lots of healthy snacks ready for the day. They can be prepared ahead of time and be accessible in little containers or baggies for easy access. Hangry kids are the last thing you need right now! And of course, getting a good night’s sleep is so important, so sticking with your regular school bedtime routine is advisable. Most importantly, after the kiddos are in bed try really hard to find some ‘you’ time – whatever that means for you!
So to recap…
- Don’t engage in power struggles – pick your battles and let go of things that are not so important
- Seek support and help from the teachers if your child seems frustrated with their work
- Struggling through new material is the way we learn – it’s not always a bad thing
- Keep a consistent routine and try and promote independence where possible
- Print the schedule – or make a visual schedule to keep order and structure and predictability through the day
- Stay calm, use a quiet voice, validate, love and support (even when they are yelling)
- Model good habits – breaks, exercise, eating well, sleeping well
- Find some ‘you’ time
- You got this – you are not their teacher
- But you are one incredible parent, living through a very trying time – give yourself some slack and celebrate your successes!
Tomorrow is a new day 🙂
Hope to ‘see’ you tomorrow night at the OJCS PTA – Parenting with Social Distancing evening.
To join the meeting click here “Parenting With Social Distance“
Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy!