So how exactly do you school that strong willed child?
Hand's On- literally! When we are sitting, whether at the computer or at a desk, I often keep my hands on CJ. Sometimes just a hand on his back, sometimes we even hold hands. At the very least I try to touch his arm every once in a while. There is just something about that constant human contact that seems to ground him and help him focus.
Change locations frequently. This is no standard school room. Have space? Use it. If not, be creative. Anytime we read we try to find a comfy couch or chair to snuggle in. And shhh, don't tell...sometimes we do school in the floor.
Make a game out of everything you can! - This goes against every once of my being. But it works. Here we are doing our memory words using bingo cards! Works like a champ and it is something he asks to do...even right before bed, hence the pajamas! Kids learn best by playing, after all.
Be creative! Learning Spanish? Sing the songs! Use puppets. Act out the story you are reading. Use dinosaurs or army men to practice addition and subtraction.
Allow the child to be as active as possible. Again, not MY preferred teaching style, but definitely his preferred way of learning. Hence, the action shot! This child does not like to stand still. So we act out our action words, dance to our Spanish lessons and build things to learn math.
Give them choices. I often say would you like to do math first or reading? With the older kiddos we had a pretty strict schedule for subjects. CJ, not so much. If things get done, yay us! I do not care what order we get things done in.
|Here the choice was where should we do this worksheet. In the living room, of course, while we play school. Playing school? Silly me thought we were DOING school!|
Use the power of motivation. Sometimes I use rewards... "when we get done with this we will have a special treat." Sometimes it is as simple as when we get done with this we can eat lunch. Sometimes it is just carefully chosen words. Regardless of what it is, sometimes just the promise of the next step or the right choice of words is enough to get us in motion.
Take little breaks along the way. Call them potty breaks, or stretch breaks or exercise breaks, whatever...but a quick break in the work gives the child a moment to let off steam without being disruptive in the middle of a lesson. If they know it is coming, they can usually hold on. I would recommend you keep it short however, or you may not be able to reign them back in for the next schedule event.
|image from office.com|
Patience, patience, patience and love, love, love! Strong willed children push limits, they break molds and they challenge our patience. But they also have incredible potential. They will be great leaders one day. Our job as a parent is to harness that potential and help them be the superstars that God intended them to be.
Do you have a strong willed child? How are you helping them learn to be successful in this world?
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