Focus of the Week and Things to Try
Some of us are in week 2 of children at home. You may have taken last week as a spring break, and you may have started a school from home routine or anything in between. Here are some thoughts as you prepare for week 2.
In week 1, we asked you to set an intention for this school from home adventure, set up a learning environment, set a schedule, and gather some basic resources for success. This week, we want you to keep integrating those plans and start adding a few more things.
The big focus this week: notice, don’t react. This week will not, I repeat, will not go as planned. I promise. Your best laid plans of last week will wear off as shiny and new, and you and children may realize this is not just a fun game anymore. So before throwing everything in the trash, panicking, and making a reactive decision, just pause. Notice what isn’t going well. Don’t change (unless there is an immediate danger). Just notice. Perhaps jot down what you notice, and what you feel in a journal to come back to later when you’re in a more neutral state. You may also notice the story you’re telling yourself about yourself when you notice. For example, my almost five year old had a monumental tantrum over our “little a” practice this morning. MASSIVE. It took him 20 minutes of self-imposed quiet time to be ready to come back to the table and try. I did my very best, with some flaw, to not react. But I’ll tell you, the story I was telling myself was, “I’m a complete failure. I’ve raised a child who won’t succeed in school. I can’t do school from home. I really am not cut out to teach basics like writing, reading, and certainly not math. This is a disaster. I am a terrible mother. Why am I not more patient and kind like my homeschooling friends?” Any of that sound familiar to you? Well, my kiddo came back to the table. We had a laugh and tried again, and he quickly wrote 6-10 almost perfect little a’s. I nodded and we moved onto our morning walk. No praise. No analysis. Just noticing and observing.
Transitions are tough. We know transitions are the hardest part of a child’s routine. It takes a lot of brain function they are still developing. Try to have as many obstacles removed as possible to set transitions up for success (bikes, helmuts, sweaters laid out the night before to transition from the table to a morning bike ride). Give yourself extra time. And keep noticing what happens and what comes up for you about yourself through these transitions.
Do less academics. It’s OKAY this week to not get to everything. Especially as we start to populate the website with academic resources and options and the internet continues to explode with “free subscriptions” “free resources”, etc. DO LESS. Your child’s career as a _______ will not suffer from a week of non-academic focus. Do a little practice. Explore which resources you like best, and leave the rest for another week.
Make a snack basket. Are you kids devouring everything you had bought for the week in a day? COnsider making each child at home a basket of healthy snacks each morning with a fresh water bottle. Give them the autonomy to grab a snack whenever they please or to choose from the basket during your scheduled time, but let them know there will be no more snacks after their basket is empty. This teaches so many beautiful lessons about self-control and gives autonomy while still preserving your food stores. This also encourages them to eat more during meals.
Try a live class. We’re populating our calendar with live classes and offerings from our own iLEAD staff and from organizations and individuals we love. Consider trying a class or two this week to see what you like. Remember, you don’t and shouldn’t do them all.
Resources for you. Keep checking our “Parent University” section for resources for you. Remember, children under 7 continue to rely on our emotional states for their feeling of safety. The more we care for ourselves (note the difference between self-indulgence and self-care) to keep our bodies and minds calm, steady, and energetic, the more our children will follow suite. This week we have some Love and Logic tips and a FREE live fitness schedule over zoom with classes for caregivers, kids, and both together.
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