1. Create a positive work space
The kitchen table is the central hub of most families. That’s where the action is. If you are doing an interactive activity like flashcards or a game, this is where you want to be. For a reading activity or assignment that requires solo focus, this is the worst destination. Create a quite space in your home, even if you convert a closet into a little learning nook, you will gain a lot. Is your home base extremely small or crowded? Headphones! Preferably of the sound canceling variety can be a life saver.
✔ Pros: less interruptions in your day for unessential items or commentary allowing you to complete the tasks you need to.
✖ Pit falls: near game consoles, their bed, other distractions.
2. Executive Function
Have a system that helps them organize their time. For little ones, you do it for them. Write it out on a whiteboard or paper each day so they can see what needs to be done and check it off, erase it or put stickers next to each item as it is completed.
✔ Pros: you will be teaching a very valuable life skill. Don’t get caught in doing it one particular way. Allow your child rento have input in the system and don’t be afraid to allow it to evolve.
✖ Pit falls: not being consistent. Constituency is key here. Once they are off and running, you will need to manage this less and less.
3. Perfection is a recipe for a perfect disaster
Don’t hover over your child. Their teacher can’t do that in the classroom and you shouldn’t do it at home. Allow you child/ren to have some independence. It is also important for them to make mistakes and correct them.
✔ Pros: teaches independence and will prevent your children from having analysis paralysis where they become reluctant to answer for fear of getting things wrong.
✖ Pit falls: never checking in. It’s important to make sure work is done and that your child didn’t just write any answer wrong. Highlight the areas they will want to review, remind them that it’s important for them to do their best and leave it at that. If they are still not putting in much effort, talk to their teacher so that you will be on the same page with the child.
4. Make work more fun
Alternate easy and harder assignments. Between assignments, create fun breaks. Do a Go Noodle together, go for a nature walk/scavenger hunt, make a snack. If you try to plow through, you and your child will burn out real fast. If you are doing a task that is a great struggle, take a break it the middle even.
✔ Pros: have a happier child and a happier home. You are also teaching your child to set personal goals and boundaries on his/her time. S/he will be more productive and happier.
✖ Pit falls: set a time for the break so your whole day doesn’t become one long play session.
5. Don’t be afraid of the wiggles
Sitting still in an upright position is not a recipe for success. Let your child stand, wiggle, play with their pencil or a stress ball while they are working. It’s also perfectly acceptable (and much healthier on their bodies) to allow them to sit in a position they are comfortable in or lie on the floor.
✔ Pros: greater focus and better joint and muscle health.
✖ Pit falls: letting things get out of hand. Once they are no longer engaged in their assignment or if they are falling asleep, they have taken this too far. Refer to point 1 about the bed. The bed is a dangerous, dangerous work place. Ask any college student. How many a reading session has turned into a nap?!?
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