How to make teaching (and time in general) with your kids more enjoyable

How to make teaching (and time in general) with your kids more enjoyable

I can get frustrated with teaching my kids. One moment it seems actually impossible and the next I know there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. Whether you have one kid or eight, whether you homeschool or help with all the homework and projects, whether you’re dealing with diapers or driver’s licenses, let’s just admit that each situation is hard for different reasons! 

So, how do we make spending that time with our kids when we want to teach them something enjoyable? It’s easy for me to have a good day when I’m just the “fun mom” at the zoo but when I need to push my kids to learn something, sometimes it feels like I have to be the exact opposite of the “fun mom” I really want to be (I know my kids like that lady…). So, what have I found to make one of the biggest differences for me?

It's simple but... If you want to teach your kids, look at what works best for you as the teacher.

This seems counter intuitive in our culture of learning style analysis and our own inclination to want what is best for our kids - but if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, you’re probably not going to do it for very long. 

If your kids like superheroes, you should read them superhero books and guess who they are today. If they like playing dolls, play dolls and change their clothes. Of course. I’m not telling you to be selfish. But when you’re at the point of mom burnout, look at what you can do with your kids instead of just hiding out in the laundry room.

When I’m wrapping up the end of my grocery shopping, and not one of my three children is in a cart seat (even though there are two to choose from), more often than not, a nice older lady will say something like, “Enjoy these little years, they go by so fast.”

And I get it, I really do. I’m not offended. Sometimes it helps me remind myself to enjoy what I have because other people are longing for it. Part of me feels like I was just in the hospital after the birth of my now six year old. But the other part of me looks around, seeing three needy kids and sometimes I do find myself hiding out in that very laundry room and crying, just for a minute of alone time!

So, here's what I have to remind myself of:

One - Don’t do something that you hate because you think it’s the only way to get it done or it's how other moms are doing it. Be creative!

If you like your mid-morning coffee, share that time with your kids twice a week. Let everyone have a mug of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever and sit around the table and read a story together and then discuss it. My kids are much better listeners when they are drinking hot chocolate with extra marshmallows!

If you like going on nature walks, go on a walk and bring with you a few Bible verses, catechism questions, fun facts - whatever that you want to talk about on index cards. Walk, talk, and repeat.

If you like coloring or drawing, sit at the kitchen table with your kids while everyone works independently (but together) and listen to some catechism songs in the background and then discuss them as you continue to work.

Most things in life are better with yummy snacks, lovely smelling candles, or upbeat music. It takes that extra few minutes of setting it up, but it can really make a world of difference.

What in your schedule do your dread? Is there something you can do to mix it up?

Two - Plan or Don’t Plan (But Probably Plan)

I think most people do better with a plan in place. Commit to doing something and you’re more likely to get it done than if you didn't think about it ahead of time.  

This is so unique for each person - you probably already know the top two things you'd like to change. So, try out some different ways you could plan it to make things go more smoothly. Maybe it's buying a pretty planner or using alarms on your phone to remind you of things.

But maybe that isn’t your personality. Maybe you really are one of those people who does better when everything is random. Or maybe you’re just in a season where you barely sleep at night because of a newborn nursing every two hours. Give yourself the grace to just have some good quality books around to read.

There are so many amazing resources out there that can basically create the plan for you - from books you choose to just read a chapter from a day out loud, homeschool curriculums that can pinpoint exactly what you want to cover, meal planning services, the list goes on!

If you're looking for some good books to add to your shelf, make sure you check out the simple round-up I did last month with some of our favorites.

What have you found helps you be a better teacher and mom to your kids? Have you already been doing this and have some more tips to add? I'm all ears!

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