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Don’t Let The Kids Drive You Crazy

The American Counseling Association

One result of the health crisis has been a great many parents getting to spend a lot more home-time with their kids. While situations vary around the country, many school systems have ceased classroom instruction for the year. Instead, kids may be doing online classes, while complaining and trying to sneak in as much TV, cell phone and video game time as possible each day.

However, you can help minimize the complaining, the goofing off, and your own headaches, by taking action to make home-time more productive.    

A starting point is having a real plan for your child’s day.  Experts recommended making a schedule sheet to hang on the wall or fridge where you and the kids can see what happens throughout the day and week. In school kids have set times for math, English or history lessons.  Your home-time should be the same to help move the learning process forward and minimize arguments.

It’s also important to offer choices. Reading time doesn’t have to mean picking up the same book or story each day. Give your child a selection to choose from. This same sort of approach can work for art projects,  writing lessons or virtually any subject.

Math studies, for example, might include lessons from a math book some days, but could also include practical math projects around the house. Does your child know how to measure and calculate the square feet in his or her bedroom? Can he or she figure out how to change that recipe to increase or decrease the number of cookies it will make? Then how about going right from there into a delicious baking session?

The opportunities to learn around the house are endless. Your backyard is probably filled with budding plants, small bugs or places to plant a few seeds, all part of science learning.  What about helping your child put together a family history (writing project) or family tree project (research and art)? And yes,  there are art projects for most kids, regardless of their age.

Kids are very social creatures, and being stuck at home with Mom and Dad (and maybe siblings) for any extended period isn’t as much fun as hanging with friends, or even being back in school. But with a little planning and effort, parents can help fill up the days in productive ways to help make the time go faster and to minimize the complaining.

“Counseling Corner” is provided by the American Counseling Association. Comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.