Shannon Wing, from Flow Energy Healing, is here to help you survive homeschooling while working.
As we embark on another week of homeschooling in Sydney and other parts of the state/country, I suspect there are a few parents out there who could use some tips/tricks to help them through it.
If you are struggling through each day, let go of any blame, shame or guilt you hold about not being better. We are all just doing our best. Instead, try to recognise that you are being pushed to confront your wounds. Everything that happens to us has the ability to leave an energetic imprint stored in our body and this dictates how we act and behave and can become part of our triggers.
Your child is not the issue, your workload is not the issue, it is your unhealed energy that needs to be addressed. Children have a way of highlighting the wounds/traumas we haven’t worked through, so it’s important to recognise this and use it to heal, grow and evolve. As a parent, it’s up to you to meet your children’s needs and not the other way around.
The below tips will help you stay calm and in control of your emotions as you journey through the impossible task of working while homeschooling.
1. Leave all expectations at the door
This includes expectations of your children and yourself. We are all doing our best so removing expectations will limit unnecessary pressure. This may look like not expecting your child to get their school work done by a certain time, not expecting that they even understand the work, nor expecting that they should be able to work independently.
Let go of any expectations that you have time and ability to work/teach/parent all at once, that your kids will behave as you need them to or that they will understand your stress. LET IT GO. Each day will be different and you can’t predict how it will unfold so don’t waste time or energy trying.
2. Embrace positivity early
If you can, do an exercise in the morning to ground/balance yourself or meditate. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to help with this. The more balanced your internal energy is as you start each day, the more your kids will be able to model your behaviour, and the easier you will all be able to cope with the stresses of the day.
Let go of any negative experiences from the day before and start the day with a new positive mindset. You can try saying to yourself, ‘I choose to let go of anything that has already happened and anything that would trigger me today’. Imagine breathing out the negative energy and inhaling the new positive energy. This can be repeated over and over until you feel a shift. You can even invite your kids to do this exercise with you so you all start the day on a fresh, happy page.
3. Observe your breath
A simple breathing exercise can be used first thing in the morning or any time during the day as needed. One I suggest is slowly and calmly breathing in for 5 counts, hold for 3, then breathe out for 5, hold for 3 and repeat. Slow breathing and comfortably holding your breath regulates the nervous system, which is constantly triggered in to fight/flight mode when we are stressed and anxious. During the day catch the stress and frustration building early, walk away and BREATHE.
4. Avoid the blame game
When you are starting to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, anxious and stressed, remind yourself that it’s not your child’s fault you are dealing with so much. They didn’t ask to be homeschooled any more than you did and shouldn’t bear the brunt of your stress. This is hard on them too and they are still developing their coping skills. If you model healthy coping skills to them, they will learn this critical skill from you. As the parent, it is up to you to regulate your emotions so that your child can regulate theirs, not the other way around.
Think about how you would like to have been treated by your parents if you’d been homeschooled as a child. Aim to treat your child this way. If you did experience teachers or parents treating you in a way you disliked, make sure you don’t fall into the same patterns. Trauma is not always caused by big events, more often than not lots of smaller events pile up to create trauma.
5. Aim for organisation
Be as organised as you can be. Set your child and yourself up for success by equipping them with everything they need including snacks and drinks before you start work. Give them one task at a time and check in with them at the end of each task. If they need your help to complete tasks, perhaps set them up with one that they can do on their own and save the task they need your help with for during a work break.
If there is nothing they can do on their own, make up a task of your own you know they can do. Allow them to take regular breaks and don’t force them to get it all done in the shortest amount of time possible. The breaks don’t have to be long. Encourage physical activity to shake off any pent up energy and frustration. Jumping on the trampoline, vigorously dancing and really shaking the arms and legs are easy examples. Physical movement releases negative energy and helps to regulate the nervous system. You can try to do this with your child to help with your own stress. You could finish the break with the breathing exercise above to come back to a state of calm and focus.
6. Try a timer
If your child works well with a timer, try using one. Set a timer for each task but make it realistic and even add a bit more time than you think. You want it to be fun and for them to have a sense of achievement if they finish within the given time frame.
Don’t put any pressure on your child and don’t be disappointed if they don’t get it all done in the time you set. Next time either increase the time and/or gently say, ‘it’s ok, you can try again on the next task’. The idea isn’t to create pressure and stress, just to encourage focus and getting on with the job.
You can also time any breaks. Ensure your child knows before the break starts that the time won’t be extended and it’s the end of playtime once it’s gone off, but once they finish another task they can have another break.
7. Know when to walk away
Understand that how you treat your child is a huge part of developing their self-worth, self-esteem and self-love. If you find you’re putting your child down or getting angry and frustrated because you feel triggered and can’t cope, then either walk away and try and release how you are feeling (using breathing exercises) or simply don’t continue with homeschool that day.
The long term effects of the trauma on your child will far outweigh not doing any work for the day. If they don’t understand something, won’t listen to you, are getting frustrated and upset, flatly refusing to do the work, being aggressive or putting themselves down then taking a long break or calling it a day might be your best bet. Your response to this behaviour will typically be based on your own learning experiences and any trauma you are still harbouring. Don’t repeat any negative patterns you may have learned. Break the cycle.
8. Don’t base your success as a parent on your child’s academic success
If your child isn’t understanding the work don’t worry about it. Often parents base their own self worth on the abilities of their children. The smarter they are, the better we feel. This is especially true if your own parents were very performance-based and pushed you to be the best and if you weren’t they withheld their love from you.
Love your child even harder when they aren’t the best at something. Our society is structured around performance-based learning and achievement but this does not take into account how kind, caring or empathetic your child is or whether they have healthy self-worth and self-love. Cultivate this in your child and model this to them so they don’t base their worth on external factors. Also, keep in mind that children can’t learn well in a fear-based environment so if you are teaching them while angry and frustrated they will find it more difficult to complete their work. If you model kindness, care and empathy to them during this process, they will learn to do the same and recognise that these traits are of even greater importance than their grades.
If any part of this resonated for you, but you’re at a loss as to how to go about the change you want to create for you and your child, please reach out for a chat about how healing can help.
Good luck Mumma’s. We’ve got this!