Patience is a virtue! One that I seem to lack in most areas of my life except when I am learning with children. I have always wondered how am I able to exercise patience when learning with kids but hardly in any other areas of my life! So, I decided to study this and what I discovered might help you understand why you are impatient with your child (when it comes to learning) and how you can learn to curb your frustration and make learning a more enjoyable experience for you and them.
Remember, children can feel, sense, hear our frustration and this creates a tension that puts them off learning and stops them making the progress that we would like.
SO HOW DO WE LEARN TO BE PATIENT WHEN HELPING OUR CHILDREN LEARN?
1. Change your assumptions and expectations!
When I look at areas in my life where I am most impatient, I can see instantly that it is because I have made assumptions about the person or issue and my expectations have not been met. We show frustration when we think they should know better. This is absolutely normal! Of course I will have more patience for my child learning to ride a bike than a road cyclist that cuts in front of my car.
So if we are frustrated with a child we are helping learn, it must mean that they are not meeting our expectations or those set by their peers, or by society and so we put that burden on them! It is absolutely normal to show frustration when we think they should know better, but it might mean we need to reassess our expectations and ditch our assumptions!
2. Little and often, not all at once!
I don't think I can stress this enough. To help ease a child into a new concept it is always best to start early, go slow and practise regularly! Start when it doesn't really matter because at this time there is usually very little pressure to perform. In other words, start way before the deadline or before you think it is crucial for them to have mastered that skill and go at a slow, easy pace. Take a look at homework when it arrives and without sitting through it, start dropping the concept into the child’s mind in simple ways where possible.
3. Focus on the process and not the end goal.
Time spent learning with our children is valuable time. Children learn best from those they know love and care about their well-being and progress. So it is important to help your child enjoy the process of learning so that they are motivated to continue practising.
To do this you will need to focus on the child’s improvement and understanding of the concept rather than on completing their work with a 100% score. Homework time should not only be spent looking through the work, but also finding out how your child is coping with the topics and what they find difficult. You could share with them your difficulties at school and how you overcame them.
To watch the No More Homework Hassle Workshop, click here.
4. Be positive about the outcome.
As long as you are devoting some time regularly to learning a topic or subject, be positive that there is an impact being made and you will see this in the future. A lot of times we worry that nothing is happening. The light is switched off. We want to see instant results and so when we don't see them we panic. This fear and panic is what increases our impatience. In truth, something is going in, the child is trying to make sense of it. Stay positive and give it time and one day, with most things, one day the fruits will show. You know, plant a seed-water-wait-water-wait....you know! Don't try and uproot it all before the flowers begin to blossom.
5. See it as your role to help them learn...not to teach them
This may sound contradictory but I've found this so helpful in my quest to help children learn. (I'm going to talk about gems a lot now). Rather than see myself as the gem keeper whose job it is to pour these gems of knowledge down the children's throats, I imagine that all children have gems of knowledge in them or the capacity to learn and it is my duty to help them draw it out. Think about it, it is much easier for me to hold a child's head back and pour these gems into their mouth, but highly uncomfortable for them. However, if I see my role as having to draw these gems out then I have to rethink my whole strategy: I have to work with them. They have to be willing to release the gems they are holding inside. I have to teach them how to do it. I have to create the environment, nurture and encourage them until they feel confident enough to share that gem with me. I have to encourage them, be patient and positive for them to feel safe. This way of thinking makes me approach teaching differently. It is my job to help you learn, not to teach you the subject!
6. Take your pride out of it
We may not realise it but our pride, more often than not, gets in the way. To put it simply, do not assume that your wonderful way of delivering will automatically be lapped up by your little one. If they are not getting it, it usually means they are not ready or you are not explaining it well enough. Don't get mad, just change your method, change the time of day you teach (if you can), change the atmosphere, change something, change everything. Just remember, if they don't get it, then it is not enough for you to say you taught them!
To join the No More Homework Hassle Workshop, click here. You can also get access to the workshop when you join our Coaching Programme