7 Tips for Working with Children at Home

Emotions are running high!

No matter the age of your children, and even for us adults, this is an uncertain time and the range of anxiety and behaviors can be overwhelming. Distance Learning means that parents are often co-teachers and learning right beside their students. That can be challenging by itself, but juggling a job at the same time can be downright exhausting.

Whether your child is extra clingy, teary, moody, or handling things in stride, here are seven tips for working with children at home.

1. Create a “Kind Jar” or “Bucket” for all of your children.

In Open Circle last year in the Lower School, we have discussed "How to Become a Bucket Filler" and doing acts of kindness. Each act of kindness, spreading happiness, or completing a task with having to be asked 1 time can earn a marble or rock in their jar.  Watch it grow and have them earn something once it’s full (a celebration, favorite dessert, small toy/trinket). You will also read more about what else we’ve done in Open Circle in the SEL section.

2. Do not meet resistance with resistance.

If your child is having a temper tantrum, resisting it or arguing with them will not stop the tantrum or relieve it.  Your child is unable to process with you until the tantrum is over and the emotions have calmed down. Try having a “tantrum” with them. This will likely stop them in their tracks and may even make them laugh therefore ending the tantrum. (Dr. Shefali is an amazing resource for more help on this matter)

3. Do not try to change the behavior.

We often try, or want to, change a behavior we are seeing our children exhibit. Do not try to change the behavior. Instead, get to what is underneath the behavior.  Is she scared? Is he anxious? Frustrated? Once your child can identify their emotion behind the behavior, progress has already been made.

4. Show empathy.  

Provide pure empathy. “I see and hear you are very frustrated/sad/angry/scared right now.” This is unfair. Kids feel ripped off.  Of course, they do! Lynn Lyons has a ton of great resources and additional, helpful information about the importance of empathy.

5. Identify what is in your/their control.  

“You seem to have a lot of questions and concerns about the coronavirus. What can we do for our part?"(wash hands, not go out, check on neighbors and family members via phone, spread kindness and positivity…)

6. Create a plan and problem-solve together.

“I know you are frustrated about home-school. It is still important to learn, so what can we come up with together? Would you like to Facetime someone from school? Let’s incorporate more (downtime, science time) tomorrow.”  Or perhaps, “I see how difficult this is being away from your friends. Scientists and the government are giving us information that we need to respect and try to understand. What can we do during this time to make things more fun? What is it you miss the most so we can make plans in the future to definitely make this happen?”

7. Outside time, break breaks, and mindfulness activities.

These are even more important now than ever! Go on a nature walk, swing in the backyard, utilize breathing tools, exercise, and get off screens when you can! Check out our Counselor's Corner for more helpful resources.