With school graduation around the corner we’ll be celebrating our little ones’ success at school. It’s a festive time, although quite often, it’s tricky achieving equal ‘success’ at home…
Being a working-parent is the reality for the present generation. Working long hours every day, and coming home to that ‘dreaded hour’ when the little ones are hungry, crying, seeking attention – or all the above; is a daily struggle. How do you transform this ‘dreaded hour,’ into a time where you spend quality time with your little ones, and ensure the success of school is carried over to success at home?
Firstly, try to spend 2 – 5 minutes in your car, before getting out to greet your children. Use this time to process your day and to take deep breaths (as many as you need). On entering your home, you’ll need the renewed energy; and ridding yourself of the days’ stress before you enter your home will allow you the grace, and patience to listen to your child speak about their day.
Secondly, put away all technology. It’s the ideal time to catch-up on the latest news, or messages/ emails that you missed during that day, but turning-off your devices sends a clear message to your child that, “I am here,” and “I am available to listen.” With this attitude you’ll find that you have your child’s attention. This will in turn, build-up their self-esteem and make them feel worthy and important. A child’s school performance will often suffer when experiencing emotional difficulty, or the inability to express themselves. This is the perfect time to listen to your child and offer them your attention; as it’s important to be present and show your little one support at home.
Listen, listen, listen. Your child has spent the entire day learning new concepts, developing a new skill, or having fun with a friend. They’ve had a stimulating day (many times overstimulating), and by the end of the day they need to de-brief in their safe environment. An introverted child might have reservations speaking about their feelings. A helpful way to encourage your child to speak about their day is with hand-puppets.
Allow your children to be in the kitchen with you while you cook. Allocate small tasks: sieving, stirring, seasoning, plating; to them to make them feel included, needed, and cared for. Side-by-side, or parallel play where parent and child are engaged in the same activity (parent preparing food for family, and child mimicking the actions with kitchen-themed toys), is great fun for both parent and child. Dramatic play in the kitchen encourages a sense of bonding between parent and child, as well as encourages a nurturing-nature in children.
It’s important to remember that parents need structure and planning as much as children do. Planning can avoid feelings of anxiety for both parent and child. Plan what you will serve for dinner to avoid sudden trips to the shops or buying take-away. Children need nutritious meals every day to ensure they have the optimal brain fuel to engage in all the activities expected of them. Snack-times in-between meals are important, and nutritious snacks even more so. Always encourage your child to eat healthy snacks – the best encouragement is your example as a parent.
With many sunny days ahead, you and your child will be spending lots of time outdoors. Always remember sunscreen (even in the early evening), a hat, and naturally, gardening tools.
Care to get a little crafty? Why not help your little one throw something together with art-sand? Make a Art-Sand Turtle: all you need is non-toxic and dust-free Art-Sand, cardboard (A4, or your desired size), a large sea-shell, non-toxic glue and glitter-glue pens.
Click Arts & Crafts for more supplies and ideas, and remember, loving parents, that success at school will only occur when you have success at home.