I believe gentle parenting impacts learning. Do you learn best when you are feeling anxious, angry, shamed, or disconnected? Probably not. Most people thrive in a calm, loving environment where they feel safe to explore. Learning is vulnerable we “take chances, make mistakes and get messy,” as Ms. Frizzy from the Magic School Bus likes to say. Gentle parenting will be a huge help to your child no matter if they are in school or homeschooling. As a parent, I know you are invested in their education.
In this podcast I talk about:
- What is gentle parenting?
- Specific parenting strategies that help learning and school work
- Coping Strategies for children
Listen to the episode here:
What is Gentle Parenting?
Gentle parenting helps children feel a sense of connection. It is mutually respectful and encouraging. Any gentle parenting strategies are effective long term and teach important social and life skills. Gentle parenting invites children to discover they are capable.Jane Nelson of Positive Discipline
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Gentle parenting strategies that help with school work
Parenting communication tools that can be used to gain cooperation, understanding and better connection with your child. These are some strategies that help specifically with learning. You may also enjoy this free video series with even more parenting strategies to fill your tool box.
Asking not telling: Ask open ended questions to get your child thinking. Rather than telling a child what to do all the time, ask for their opinion. Get them to think of the next steps or how to handle a problem.
Taking time for training: Slow down, model and teach routines and methods. Don’t always assume your kids should know or remember how to do something.
Routines: Having a strong rhythm and routines helps a child know what is coming next. Their stress and anxiety levels drop and the can relax. This allows them to enjoy the moment and leaves space for curiosity.
Problem Solving: Focusing on solutions, brainstorming and working together helps a child to move past rote learning and into exploration. Throughout our lives we will come across the need to think outside the box and solve problems. Teach your children how to work through their struggles, how to define the problem, brainstorm, choose a solution, evaluate and try again.
Small Steps: As adults we can often see the big picture and break it down mentally into smaller steps, although many do struggle with that. Children can get overwhelmed easily when a task looks to big to tackle. Help them by breaking it down into smaller chunks and teach them to do the same. A large project, even chores can be broken own into manageable tasks.
Encouragement: Children do not need empty praise and external motivation to learn. However knowing that you believe in them, encouraging and building up their strengths help with their internal motivation and self-esteem.
Kind and Firm: Gentle parents are not passive. It is good to set loving limits, to be kind and firm. If you and your child have made an agreement, then the agreement needs to be upheld. Of course there will be compromise and discussions, you do not need to be harsh. When work needs to be done you can still offer empathy and hold boundaries.
Empower your kids: Children long to be independent and in charge. Look for ways to offer choice, ask their opinions, and take the lead.
Parents often struggle with getting their kids to listen, do as they are told and obey . No one likes being told what to do all the time. It creates resentment, anger and sneaky behavior to get out of the work. Do you recognize this in your home? What if there was another way?
Children often listen when they feel heard and understood. Empathy communication is a way of listening first and them moving towards problem solving. The first step is to observe and state the facts without all the blame, shame or name-calling. Then consider your feelings and your child’s. It can be hard to with with those feelings, or to recognize that a child’s behavior doesn’t always match how they feel. Next look past the feelings and towards the needs behind those feelings. Our emotions are often a warning light showing us that something isn’t going well (or that life is fabulous). What need was your child trying to meet with their behavior? What are your needs right now? How can we meet both our needs? Now we are ready to problem solve and work towards a common goal. If you want an in-depth look at this check out Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-violent communication.
Coping Skills for kids
Talking about feelings in your home makes emotions welcome. Your children will be less likely to stuff their feelings down and hide them. While it can be a challenge to deal with big feelings, it goes a long way to help our children grow into healthy adults who can handle their own emotions better.
There are many ways to copy with our emotions, especially those that cause frustration or worry. Coping skills are healthy strategies to help us manage rather than feeling overwhelmed.
- Calming strategies are those that help the mind and body to relax.
- Distraction strategies help take your mind of your problems for a while
- Physical strategies are great for burning of energy or getting you energized when you need to get going.
- Processing strategies are those that encourage you to reflect and work through the emotions.
A connected child feels understood and safe. When a person feels safe, their defences go down. They are more willing to cooperate and learning can happen. Connecting with your child helps them to learn. All of these strategies work towards creating a closer bond with your child. Homeschooling and helping your child with their school work is all about relationships.
Watch Gentle Parenting and Homeschooling here:
Resources mentioned on the podcast:
Positive Discipline with Jane Nelson
Non-Violent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg
There are many blog posts linked and many more resources I’d love to share with you. Be sure to look around the blog here for more on gentle parenting and homeschooling.