A creative child is a gift for any parent, but their active mind and natural urge to express their emotions can be tiring for parents and other children in the family. There will be times when the creative side of your child’s personality needs to be reined in a little, which can be somewhat stressful for the adult and the child.
What can you do to encourage your child to learn when to be creative and expressive and when to be calmer and more focused? There are two separate sections here, one relating to homework and the other to sleep. At both of these times, a child’s natural creative side can lead to disruption.
Unfortunately, many schools are eager for children to stick to the curriculum, focus on meeting expected standards and passing tests and exams, even for the little ones. Until the educational system changes, creative children may find it hard to follow the expected protocol, but here are a few ways you can help.
3 Tips to Help Your Child Settle Down to Homework
Make the homework part of the daily routine and stick to it. The initial introduction of homework is likely to cause disruption, but eventually, the child will come to expect homework time as it gradually becomes part of life. Create a routine that fits well with your child, a time when they’re not too tired or a time when their energy levels are at their peak.
Keep calm. The angrier you get the more the negative energy will rub off on to your child’s behaviour. This will probably be one of the most challenging aspects, keeping control of your own emotions is a difficult task. Be kind to yourself, think about how you would feel if the tables were turned and use calming techniques such as counting to 10 – something you and your child can do together.
Play music in the background and make it comfortable and as enjoyable as possible. There’s no need to make homework as boring as school can be at times. Let your child pick the music to play, the books to read, the colour pens to use (until schools insists on a set colour) and sit together to work through the questions. It can be fun to ask the child to pretend to be teacher, giving them the feeling of control in the situation. Ask them to show, explain and share how the questions are solved and so on.
3 Tips to Help Your Child Settle Down to Sleep
Let the emotions pour out. Encourage expression in a form that fits with your child. Perhaps they need a good cry or maybe running around the garden with a ball will ease their anger. Allowing just 10 minutes of expression could make all the difference. However, do ensure that any unwanted behaviours are not permitted by expressing what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Get on the same eye level as your child and ask why they’re feeling so upset or frustrated. Express that you would like to help find a solution together and see if you can come to a compromise. Speak about what you are finding unacceptable about their behaviour and what will and won’t be tolerated. However, remember to put focus on the next steps and guiding towards what is acceptable.
Picking your battles at bedtime can solve a lot of problems. Perhaps an extra 15 minutes would be okay, maybe a hot water bottle would make things cosier? A different book? A calming story on the radio? But when you have come to the end of your compromises you must remain calm, as children learn by example.
Homework and bedtime can be the cause of many arguments, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember that it can take some time for new systems to work. Try different techniques to find the ones that work for your family.