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.
An 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. 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. 🙁 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.
A mothers job is to teach her children not to need her anymore. The hardest part of the job is accepting success. This girl is growing into the most amazing little girl and she makes me so proud, my heart absolutely bursts. As we prepare for a new year the realisation that you are growing hits me like a wave again. #mylove #firstborn #mothersheart #proud
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?