How to be patient when guiding your young children with homework?
Children have much shorter attention spans than adults do. A child's maximum attention span is about two to three times his/her age. Therefore, a five-year-old child would have an attention span of, at best, fifteen minutes. While guiding young children, many parents' patience is being put to the test. More often than not, preschool children have trouble sitting still, concentrating, or grasping new or challenging topics.
Here are some tips for holding onto your patience while guiding your young children.
1. Practice mindfulness
Before impatience sneak up on you and you become irritable with your children, shut your eyes and count to ten. If you need more time, try leaving the room to give yourself some space to breathe and calm those nerves. Alternatively, you can consider practising mantras to put the situation in perspective; try "This too shall pass."
2. Be reflective rather than reactive
Avoid lecturing or reprimanding your children. Instead of saying, "Why are you so slow?" or "I think you can skip bedtime tonight." Be direct with your intent and focus on what motivates them, "Boys, I would like you to concentrate on your work now so we can have more time for bedtime stories."
3. Seek to understand
Young children may have difficulty focusing on their work after a long school day. Give your child (and yourself) regular breaks to use the restroom, have a snack, or recollect themselves after attempting a challenging topic. It may even be a good idea to let your child do some other short and active activity before starting homework in the evenings.
4. Cut yourself some slack
Staying focused on a single activity helps keep you calm and chilled, lowering your stress explosion and helping you think clearly. Take one step at a time and be easy on yourself by not multi-tasking, at least not for yourself alone but for others, especially your children. Be in the present moment and resist the urge to fix everything immediately.
5. BONUS - Get support from your children's Kumon Instructor
Suppose your impatience stems from the assigned worksheets being too challenging or taking up too much time. You can always talk to your children's Instructor about revisiting their study plan or being more realistic about the assigned worksheets to meet your family's current needs. On the other hand, if you need help explaining certain concepts to your children, you can always reach out to your children's Instructor. Remember you are not alone in this journey.