Homeschooling is all fun and games until you realize that your kids are with you 24/7 and you’re the teacher. There’s really no break for the default homeschooling parent. So, how do you cope? How do you function on those days when your kids are driving you crazy? Let’s find out.
First, you need to remember that kids will sometimes be annoying. Especially when they’re trying to figure things out or if they’re just genuinely bored. Did you just start homeschooling this year? This can be a big change, and can sometimes play a big part in their behaviour. As you and your child are both experiencing a major adjustment when they go from traditional education to homeschooling. In this situation, you can start by learning the reason’s behind your child’s behaviour by reading the ‘Why Your Kids Are Driving You Nuts’ blog.
Additionally, there are two major categories that you should take a look at when your kids are driving you crazy.
How to keep your child entertained.
Ways to get a break as a homeschooling parent.
Let’s start with category number one.
How to Keep Your Child Entertained.
1. You Don’t Have to Keep Your Child Entertained.
Are you scratching your head now in complete confusion? The first step is how to keep your child entertained? But then step one in that category says you don’t have to keep your child entertained. How does that work? I promise I’m not trying to confuse you, or lead you down a rabbit hole. See, it’s good for your child to learn how to entertain themselves. When you are constantly planning events and play for your child, they won’t learn how to embrace their imagination. Notice how I said constantly. Because planning opportunities for your children is great, just not when you do it all the time.
The reason is because your child needs to have the opportunity to use their amazing imagination. Being the constant source of entertainment for your child will only deter their ability to entertain themselves.
2. Encourage Imagination Play When Your Kids Are Driving You Crazy.
The beautiful gift of having an imagination. I’m sure that you have fond memories of using your imagination as a child. Perhaps climbing a dirt pile while wearing a beautiful white dress and pretending you were the queen in her castle. Some of my most favourite childhood memories are the ones where I was using my imagination as my main source of entertainment.
How can you encourage imagination play for your child?
- Put the iPads/tablets/phones/video games away.
- Basically just anything that is electronic, take it away. Wait, you didn’t know you can do that? Surprise! You can! Because you’re the parent. So, take away the electronics and place boundaries around when they’re allowed to use their electronic devices.
- Include free play in your daily schedule/routine.
- Show them how to use their imagination.
- You might have to actually remind your child how to use their imagination, if they haven’t been in touch with it for a while.
- Get them outside.
- You can find more awesome tips on how to encourage imaginative play here: 9 Ways to Encourage Imaginative Play – Frugal Mama.
3. Have Your Child Help Around the House.
Do my kids enjoy chores? Not always! But I have watched them embrace chores using the gift of their imagination. It’s actually so exciting to see. For example, my son will pretend he’s a recycling truck, when he’s taking the recycling bin to the garage. Chores provide an excellent opportunity for your child to use their imagination while building independence. Additionally, you can use chores as amazing learning opportunities also!
Turning chores into learning opportunities:
- Sorting laundry is an excellent way to learn and refresh the concepts of matching and colours. While also helping your child learn proper organizational skills.
- When your child empties a dishwasher or dish strainer, they have the opportunity to learn about ratios when stacking plates of different sizes together.
- Grocery shopping with a parent can help your child read out words on different products.
- Making their bed can help your child feel pride for doing something to their own satisfaction.
4. Help Your Child Get Creative.
Creativity is such an amazing outlet for both children and adults. Which is why helping your child get creative can guide them to find their unique outlet. So be sure to pick up some creative items at the local craft store. Here’s a fun crafty opportunity for your child to get started: How to Make Stickers – Good to Know.
5. Get Active.
Are your kids feeling super tired and bored? Get active! Run around outside, play ‘Simon Says’, go for a bike ride, play some hockey or basketball, take a walk in nature, go for a hike. Getting active helps freshen up your child’s imagination. Which then helps them with their creativity. As you can see, getting active has so many benefits.
6. Add Interest Learning to Your Homeschool.
When you’re always focusing on Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts, your homeschool life can become very boring. Adding in some fun child led learning opportunities will help curb that boredom. And giving your child the opportunity to dive into their interests may result in hours of research and creativity.
Not sure where to start? Check out our Special Interest Units for unique learning opportunities for your child.
7. Teach Your Child How to Sew/Knit or Crochet.
There’s a special satisfaction that comes with creating your own designs. So, obviously teaching your child how to sew, knit or crochet will for sure pay off. As teaching your child these skills may result in your child spending hours creating.
8. Encourage Your Child to Write a Story.
They may need a little help with ideas on what to write. So, encourage your child to write a unique story, that they can share with friends or family when they’re finished. Remind them that it’s not always a quick event, writing sometimes takes time.
9. Help Your Child Find Books They Love.
Does your child not like reading? Maybe they just haven’t found the right material that interests them yet. First, ask your child what they want to read about. Second, get a library card. Third, pick up different reading materials to help them determine which style they like most. Fourth, set a time of the day for independent reading time.
10. Listen to stories.
There’re so many amazing kids stories out there. But chances are you’re feeling burnt out and not really in the mood to read books to your kids? You can use a story reading app like Audible. Or look up neat podcast series for kids. They will be using their imagination as they listen to the stories play over the speaker. Additionally, while they’re listening, you can encourage them to draw pictures, or write.
11. Teach Your Child Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is such an amazing practice for you and your child to learn. If you’re unsure where to start when teaching your child mindfulness, research mindfulness teachers for kids. Like the Goldminds program. Goldminds believes in the power of teaching mindfulness strategies to children from a young age, to equip them with the tools they need to regulate big emotions, build resilience and improve self-confidence. Goldminds offers live online classes. You can learn more about Goldminds here.
12. Play Board Games.
Break out the Monopoly! But not just Monopoly, there are some really amazing board games available for kids. So, do some research to find the best games for your family.
Step one of what to do when your kids are driving you crazy is now complete. Now we are going to jump into category two.
Ways to Get a Break as a Homeschooling Parent.
Getting a break as a homeschooling parent seems like a myth. Can homeschooling parents actually get a break? You’re with your child all the time. But you’re feeling burnt out, frustrated, over-worked, over-touched, and ready to hide in the dark of your bedroom until your kids are older. Obviously you aren’t going to be able to jump on an airplane and head to a tropical island anytime soon. So, how can you get a break?
1. Ask For Help.
This is number one in this category for a reason. Asking for help can often feel like a foreign concept for homeschooling parents, because we are used to doing it all. If you break down and ask someone to watch the kids for a couple or hours, it could potentially fuel their thoughts about how you can’t accomplish it all. This is false thinking on your part. You’re human, and every human needs a little extra help sometimes. Asking a friend or family member to watch the kids for just a couple hours once a week, can give you that oh so important time to yourself.
You might feel afraid to ask for help, but you really don’t need to. Asking for help is healthy, and a part of everyday normal life. And, it’s not just for you. Getting a break will benefit your children also. Because their parent will be refreshed, and they’ll learn that it’s ok to ask for help for themselves, too.
2. Schedule a Homeschool Break.
During this homeschool break you can take the time you need to reset and refocus. Your child can utilize their creative skills that we talked about above. And you can spend time doing the things that you have neglected during the rigorous daily schedule that you’ve been trying to maintain.
3. Have Mandatory Quiet Time.
Scheduling in 20 minutes of quiet time everyday will help you have time to reset during each day. The noise and chaos of the day can become overwhelming sometimes. So being sure to have 20 minutes of quiet time will help you get back in the right mindset before taking on the next task of the day. Your kids can read, write, play in their rooms, or play outside during this time.
4. Play Some Music.
I don’t know about you, but music fuels my soul. When I’m feeling burnt out, frustrated, and in desperate need of a soul refresh. I turn on my music. Music has the ability to lighten up our whole house. If we’re all having a rough day, music gives us the chance to dance and laugh and find joy again.
5. Wake Up Early.
It might be tough at first, but waking up early is essential as a homeschooling parent. Spending time first thing in the morning without your kids in your face is hugely important to the mental peace that you will need for the day. When you wake up, be intentional about having gratitude for all the amazing aspects of your life. Along with the tough aspects that challenge you.
6. Exercise Away From The House.
Going for runs is my lifeline. Typically a run will be my go-to at 5am when my household is still asleep. Knowing that my husband is home with the kids, I can safely and peacefully challenge my body and refresh my mind with exercise. Run, walk, go to the gym, whatever works for you. Just be intentional, because being intentional about your exercise and alone time will benefit you in many, many ways. Including preparing you for when your kids are driving you crazy.
7. Head to a Coffee Shop With Your Friend.
Obviously, you are going to need someone to be with the kids. For example, I do this when my husband is home, or if they’re in a co-op/gymnastics class. I take the one hour window to chat with a friend, and just be me, the person that can get lost in the process of homeschooling, parenting, and working.
Homeschooling is a challenge especially when your kids are driving you crazy.
You will have days in which everything goes so smoothly and you feel like you are on the right track. Alternatively, you will have days when your kids are driving you crazy and you desperately want to hop on a plane and get out.
When you figure out how to keep your child entertained by teaching them to entertain themselves, and find ways to get a break as a homeschooling parent, you will be on the road to success. Just remember to be patient. Good things don’t come over night. They often take lots of time, and practice. With time, your family will find it’s groove and it will be smooth sailing. Keep aiming for it, and you will reach it.