Have you ever been working on something with your child and thought, “But why are we doing this? They are fighting me every step of the way.”
While we are home with our kiddos, let us all grant ourselves and our children some grace. It is hard on them to be out of routine and it’s hard on us to manage a time of uncertainty and trying to establish a new, and hopefully temporary, “normal.”
As you are putting together your homeschooling schedule, it is helpful to stay flexible and be willing to make changes or switch gears when needed.
I know it looks like teachers are magic child-whisperers and to some extent we are. I’m going to share some of our tools with you.
Throughout the day, we offer children both structured and unstructured time, alternating between quiet down time and physical activities. The strategy is to keep in mind that children need more than one type of experience throughout the day.
AND, if the schedule isn’t working, we shift it and try something else based on observation. For example, if the kids are always cranky when we have story time right before lunch, maybe they are too hungry to focus, maybe we need to switch to another activity or move lunchtime to an earlier time.
- A balance of routine (example: meal times are set at the same time daily) and freedom (the right to say they don’t want to do a certain activity at that time or maybe at all).
- Quiet down time (rest/ looking at books /puzzles) and physical activities that get children up and moving (like a dance party or playing outside)
- Structure (caregiver directed activities like a craft or cooking together) and unstructured free choice (like playing dress up or make believe).
- The opportunity to be creative and expressive (i.e. coloring, painting, playdough).
- Transitions (give children both a 5 and a 2 minute warning before changing activities).
As educators, we continually ask ourselves, “Why are we doing this?” knowing that children’s minds are most open for new knowledge when they are engaged.
If your child doesn’t want to color a card for Aunt Jenny’s birthday and won’t stay in their seat long enough to make a scribble, then maybe maybe you remember that they are really into airplanes. And then offer the idea of making a paper airplane for Aunt Bea instead, asking questions like, “What color will you make your airplane?” This gets them coloring which was the whole point all along–to make something for another person (social emotional development) talk about colors (language and cognitive development) and work on those fine motor skills by using crayons and markers.
You can do this, and please know even the most seasoned teacher has a hard time finding the right strategy at times. And, even the most well-behaved, pleasant child has meltdowns from time to time. We are all trying to do our best <3