Every child and family are different, so these tips might not suit everyone.
- Include your children in planning. When it comes to the simple daily routine and planning, I seek their input and respect their opinion on what they want to do. This doesn’t mean I’ll always do what they want, but occasionally I’ve been known to go with their ideas instead of mine.
- Maintain the basic structure of a regular routine whilst holding on the flexibility that home-schooling offers. Kids like to know what to expect and when. Flexible time is much more enjoyable when there is some routine and routine allows the mundane everyday things to be accomplished easier.
- Be explicit. Be clear on the behaviour that you expect from your children and try to explain yourself in language they can understand. Speak to your children at their level.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s safe, non-destructive, and not bothering other people, let them do what they want to do. Usually, what they want to do is harmless and giving kids freedom encourages them to respect your wishes more.
- Give your children credit for their ability to make choices and make the right decision or at least be involved in decision making. This gives them a voice, makes them feel heard and understood and is great learning for adulthood.
- Let go of feeling like you need to be perfect. Something must give. If it’s the laundry, or dinner, or a maths lesson, accepting that you can’t do everything is an important part of feeling peaceful about your life. Kids are intuitive, and they will pick up on these feelings; if your feeling pressured by home-schooling or everyday chores let something go. You can always catch up another day.
- Let go of the notion that life has to be busy to feel successful. Slow down. Do nothing. Let your kids play outside all day, or build a blanket fort and draw or colour books all day. Don’t check your email. Resist the urge to multitask.
- Let go of your fear of failure. Your kids will fail, you will fail. With the right attitude, failure can be the most empowering experience in the world. It’s how you learn, and it’s how you practice getting back up and trying again. Children need to be able to make mistakes and move on from them.
- Let go of micromanaging. It’s easy to get distracted by things like ‘how much multiplication should a year 3 child be able to do?’ but getting too focused on small details can get in the way of seeing the big picture. What’s your goal for your child; you don’t need to know or work by anyone else’s goals.