This last week in our home has been tough. School started, routines aren’t exactly set in stone and we are still finding our feet. Can someone please inform the teachers that? My child has been getting REAL homework. By this I mean we are working every single day till 8pm. I have discovered after much screaming, hair pulling, a few sobs, that my child is distracted. Aren’t we all? I hear you, but easily, very easily distracted is more what I mean. Struggling to focus actually. Sadly to top it all off – I’ve been making it worse.

distractedAn article was born… how to not deal with a distracted child

At this moment, unfortunately I do not know to deal with this situation. It’s a terrible feeling, parents should know – they are parents for goodness sake! What I do know is that what I am currently doing is not working. That is okay, I am sharing my lessons with you though because maybe it can save you and your child some tears.

Setting the scene

Emilie comes home from school around 2:30 undresses, eats and then gets stuck into her homework.Β  She sits at our dinner table usually and starts around 3. Until I come home from work around 5, Ian helps Emilie with homework and collects Daniel from school. When I get home, we do coffee and usual supper prep. Our house is generally buzzing, during which Emilie is expected to finish her homework. We have supper together (break). When supper is over Emilie finishes her homework and we start with Daniel’s bedtime routine this continues until 8 including a bit of questions and answers in-between. Then Daniel goes down, with great difficulty some nights we check homework and then we shuffle her to bed. The End. (Excluded are inserts of shouting and frustration by mostly the parents.)

What not to do

I’m sure from the little exert above you can already tell me 5 things that we have been doing wrong. Humour me please, I think I may have lost some brain cells with my recent (18 months ago) pregnancy.

Keep distractions around for a distracted child

Pretty straight forward one would think, but for some reason I didn’t think it would be that difficult to drown out the TV, screaming or nagging toddler. My cooking and conversations between the husband and I. Yep, mistake number 1. Granted she doesn’t want to sit in the office space we have in one of the bedrooms but I think this is because I haven’t made it her own. A space that she can creatively change up to feel the most comfortable in.

Scream, shout, and fuss with your child

This is a no-brainer, especially if you have a sensitive child. It is also probably the reason that I have cried so much the last few days. I get so frustrated, it’s late and I just lose my sh!t. πŸ™ I apologise after, which I always try to do. Apologies however I know don’t help you be “un-hurt”.

Have long periods of study without breaks

We try to utilise the time as best we can, so ultimately we put pressure on her to finish. This includes asking her how far she is like 20 times. Pushing her to finish up so we can all relax. Thinking that because she is struggling to focus, and we keep reminding her to finish up that these are breaks. Not a good idea. Your mind even as an adult gets tired.

Jumble up the homework and do it in any order

I usually let her decide what she’s going to do first, and naturally what she chooses are the things she loves. The things that come naturally to her and that she enjoys. This is awesome because we get a bit of time to do the other stuff being a parent requires such as supper and the sibling. It also means, that later when her brain is more tired we have to do the stuff she doesn’t like to do. Starting off with the more difficult subjects/subjects she doesn’t enjoy might be wiser for the future.

Now what?

After crying, apologising and Googling a lot – (this includes soliciting advice from awesome friends), I’ve come up with a list of new things to try. All of which include the improvements to the above, already this is going to make a difference. I plan to sit down with her and talk about how she thinks we can solve this, and pick from my list which ones she would like to try first and how.

It’s not going to happen over night, it’s a trial and error phase. It will probably get harder before it gets easier. Tonight though, we got homework done early. We made some time for a game of UNO (which I read helps for concentration) and we laughed. The kids went to bed with happy hearts and mom feels like today was a good day.

In the Meantime – do you have any tips for dealing with a distracted child?


23 Comments on How not to deal with a distracted child…

  1. Love this . I think we all learn as we go along . I have similar issues been so lucky that my sis has been home on a break from Varsity to help with my eldest sons homework she seems to have a way that I clearly don’t have explaining to my son how I am dreading her going back to Varsity :-(.

    • Thanks Carly, I was seriously nervous about posting this. I do think that we are all learning, difficult though. Ahhhh how lucky about your sis to just give you a little breather! I’m sure you will do great when she goes back! xx

  2. Venean, its suprising after every blog of yours I feel like, thank goodness there is someone out there that can relate. The fact that Imaan and Nasiha is the same age gap as Emily and Daniel, makes it even easier to relate. Imaan demands alot of my attention, like she literally pulls on my thigh till I sit down and listen to her babble, already I feel like I neglect the other two because I dont even get a chance to ask how their day went because then starts supper while answering some homework questions while straining rice or chopping an onion, and they like using Imaan as the reason they get destracted, “she wants to play” ” she doesnt want to sit alone ” but I also just have to say 20 times please finish up, otherwise it will never get done. Thank u for ur tips, I will definitely apply it.

    • Thanks for sharing I so often feel alone when sharing all these shortcomings… I also feel like I neglect her actually working on a post about a conversation we had about it. Mom guilt to the max. Thanks for stopping by too! xx

  3. Ohhh yeeaaahhh… Been here before..

    Fortunately our school has done away with homework. More to the relief of the parents than anything else πŸ˜‚

    I don’t have any mind blowing advice… But just so you know you’re not alone. Perhaps let her choose when she would like to do her homework and in which order… It may make her feel more in charge? Independence is a skill that will come in time..πŸ’• lots of love

    • Oh my… what school is that and where do we sign up? I’m definitely going to try and give her options although I dont know how wise it is sometimes. She has been so much better since we have spoken about it though. Thank you Maryam! xxx

    • Ahhhh me too – things have gotten so much better since we had a heart to heart. Like she is trying and so are we… it just makes the world of difference!

    • When your bub is bigger there will so many more solutions to all these troubles, but being an intentional parent will stay the same. Glad I can get your mind thinking too. Thanks Mel xx

  4. This is a good message. I can already see this with my little (of course she is 4). BUT when she focuses a TRAIN going past cannot disturb her. she watches me a lot so If I am all over the show so is she. When I am calm and focused so is she. Its all a work in progress as we try to figure this parenting thing out. At least I have your blog posts for the heads up!!

    • They definitely do take a lot from us, and we also need to assist and guide them. I so often forget that its not about telling them how to its showing them. xx

  5. I’m still trying to figure it all out too. Mine gets distracted while we’re doing school, and I get frustrated, but then I need to remind myself to stay calm and remember that I’m almost as bad as she is when it comes to being easily distracted! πŸ™ˆ I guess we just have to take it a day a time, and hopefully we’ll all find our way soon. x
    Thanks for joining us over at #lekkerlinky 😊

    • That is so true, I am also easily distracted and really need to maintain my patience levels… Lord help us! We will find our way! That’s what we moms do. Thanks for stopping by xx

    • Thank you Jeannette, we are trying to be stricter. I just feel like there is so much pressure on them right now – to still have additional pressure from home just sucks!

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