We claim those little cuties on our tax returns for a good reason.
They need us.
When it comes to homework, studying for tests and organization, it’s hard to know where to draw the line with a momma’s help. Our hearts can tug and sink with every decision. After all, we’re their mom.
How do we know when it’s OK to help?
How do we know when it’s a good time to pull back?
What do we do when our kids seem to need us too much?
1. How do we know when it’s OK to help?
Let’s look at a specific example. If our child’s assignment is memorizing Spelling Words, it’s OK for boh the parent and the child to make the flash cards for studying. Work up to your child doing all of their flashcards on their own.
Alternatives: Use websites that you input the words and it produces a game to help them study. www.spellingcity.com Also, here are a few websites that help them produce flash cards and print them out.
Remember, making flash cards is not the assignment. Working through and memorizing spelling words is. Keep the goal……well, the goal.
If the assignment is Math, maybe they need to verbally go through the problem before they begin writing down the problem. Many of us need to “talk it out” before we understand something more fully.
By giving verbal feedback about possible strategies, we are just helping them think through it logically. Then, they can take action.
Two other situations warrant the use of an academic life preserver:
–A high level of frustration. You know: tears, throwing pencils, slamming books shut. Is it just too much volume of work? Or, are they having a difficult time understanding the material. It’s time to figure out a new strategy to relay the information. It may also be time to get the teacher involved. Frequent breaks and chunking the assignment into manageable pieces can help let out some steam.
–No progress. They are dilly-dallying. They usually just need a jumpstart. Just like a car battery that’s running low on juice, kids need a good jolt to get them going. Thankfully, A starting point sometimes is all they need! Don’t be afraid to give it to them.
A good question to ask would be, “What do you think the first step is for this assignment? Then what?” You are encouraging them to formulate the first step.
Of course, you may have to “wean” them off of your assistance. If you realize they are asking for too much, too often, here are some tips:
Tell them to work on the assignment for at least 5 minutes straight before coming to you with questions. The use of timers is very useful. “I’m going to set my timer for __ minutes, when it rings I’ll come check and see how you are doing.” It’s independence–with a rescue button.
Allow someone else to help them. An objective third party can inspire or solve problems with your kid that you can’t think of when you are as close to them as their mother. An older sibling, a relative, or even a hired tutor. Remember, tutors can be brought in as “consultants” just to get the ball rolling once in a while. They don’t have to see them every week to be effective.
The bottom line is that our kids want to be treated in the same way we want to in accepting and seeking help.
With compassion and effectiveness.
Don’t worry. They will be off of our tax returns before we know it.