Sarah’s Mom Tips – Challenging Attitudes During School

Is your child freezing up, looking for an escape, or fighting and arguing when it’s time to do schoolwork?

When your child picks a fight or freaks out at school time, do what you can to change the mood.  You may need to change your attitude and expectations. 

Here are some ideas to de-fuse the stress:

1. Give the child a sweet and healthy snack to munch on while doing schoolwork, make this part of the routine, they will look forward to it.

2. Don’t use fluorescent lighting – it causes anxiety for many children. Natural warm lighting is much more comforting.

3. Turn off the distractions and turn on peaceful music.

4. Give your child some words of encouragement or a compliment, and avoid harsh words, criticism, and forcefulness. If you must correct the child first give a compliment, next give the instruction, then say something positive.  The goal is to keep learning time from triggering stress, fight, and flight mode.

5. Give your child a hug, cuddle, pat or scratch their backs.  Comforting touch is a powerful de-fuser and helps the child to ease into a good mood. Compliment, next give the instruction, then say something positive.  The goal is to keep learning time from triggering stress, fight, and flight mode. Children need the home to be a place of comfort, acceptance, and unconditional love.  Children need mommy to be a source of peace, encouragement, and gentle guidance.

6. Use a calm voice and be helpful.

7. Get out of teacher-mode and into mommy-mode.

8. Make the first and last activity of learning-time their favorites.

9. Smile.

10. Dump curriculum that stresses them out – there are many options that can work better, children can’t learn under stress.  Skip journal pages or workbook pages that the child is not ready for.  You can come back to them later, or do those yourself while the child watches.

Guess what? These behaviors should be a warning sign that your child is slipping into “survival mode” because they associate schoolwork with failure, humiliation, confusion, or fear. What do they fear? It could be many things.  Usually fear of failure or a fear of being humiliated if they make mistakes. Children need to home to be a place of comfort, acceptance, and unconditional love.  Children need mommy to be a source of peace, encouragement, and gentle guidance.

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