July 8, 2020

Why Is Trying to Teach Kids At Home So Hard?

If it seems like your kids aren’t responding to your quarantine-mandated teaching style… Heck, if it seems like your kids aren’t responding to you in general these days, do not despair. You are not alone and you are not doing anything wrong. Google “why won’t my child listen to me” and you’ll find 250 million results.

Unless you are a parent who is also a teacher by trade, you are probably very aware that being an early childhood educator takes special skills, experience and training. But when the world was thrust into a pandemic, you suddenly found yourself facing the daunting task of becoming a teacher, whether you had the credentials or not.

It’s not just your imagination that your kids don’t respond well to your attempts to teach them. When it comes to creating and nurturing a learning environment, your kids may actually respond better to their teachers than they do to you. Even if you are a teacher, your kids probably respond to other teachers better than you.

The Upside of Peer Pressure

One major factor missing at home that’s abundant at school is peer pressure. While peer pressure often has a negative connotation, we’re talking about the good kind of peer pressure – the kind that your child experiences when the entire class is actively engaged in learning or everyone follows a set routine and schedule. When you’re in a one-on-one setting in your home classroom, your child may have trouble making the distinction between learning time and fun time.

Try To Understand Your Kids’ Perspectives

Consider your own behavior at a corporate meeting versus a friend’s birthday party. We all act different based on the environment we’re in and who we’re around. To expect our children to treat our homeschool environment the same way they do their classroom at school is perhaps a little unrealistic and unfair.

The Best Environment For Your Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently put out guidance for school re-entry and strongly advocates that children should be physically present in schools, if at all possible. That’s despite the fact that we’re in a pandemic. Their reason? “The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits.”

If you’re looking for a silver lining, keep in mind that kids are more likely to resist their parents because you offer a safe place to practice pushing back against feeling controlled and confined. “We really want our children to be cooperative human beings rather than obedient to our instructions,” says HuffPost Canada’s parenting expert, Alyson Schafer. In other words, you’re helping your kids ask “why” and question authority rather than simply follow the herd blindly. There’s value in that.

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