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Find the right time for learning

Many children need a break right after school. A time when they DON’T HAVE to do anything. A time they can decide for themselves. Do and leave what they want. … (read more)

Because even though a lot is learned through play in school (at least in 1st grade still), your child can decide very little freely. It has to conform almost all the time. Do what someone else says. Doing what is asked in the notebook. Sitting still and concentrating when the teacher tells them to. Moving more briskly and sharing thoughts with friends only when there is a short break. This takes a lot of willpower on your child’s part. School often costs your child a lot of energy for cooperation and self-regulation. And after class, many children’s batteries are empty for the time being. And it needs to be recharged. Only then does your child want to – and CAN (!) – (already) deal with topics that are given to him or her. Really: CAN! You can imagine the will like a muscle. With continuous stress it exhausts. Then it is time for a rest. Maybe you know this from yourself. After a stressful day at the office, where you have forced yourself through the annoying documentation tasks, you can no longer resist the delicious chocolate bar in the evening. When you’re on a low carb diet (even though you’re sooo hungry for pasta) you have less patience with your kids. And doing some sit-ups after that pesky tax return? No thanks.

Therefore: Let your child decide if he wants to take a break after school. And what he or she may do during this time. No rules, no instructions, no adjustments. Simply: a break and freedom. This way, the battery recharges quickly enough to give your child new energy for homework.

Your child doesn’t want to take a break? That’s fine, too. As long as the mood and the concentration are right – why not? Try it out!

Some kids are a little wound up after school. And need to come down somehow. Maybe a little massage will do them good. Or a conversation where you really only have time for your child (and don’t stir the pot 😉 ). Some children like to paint, listen to music or radio plays, leaf through books or get some exercise in the fresh air. Create time for this where possible. Our middle one had phases where he liked to take a long bath after school. Or spent half an hour doing fairly simple things like grinding coffee or sharpening pencils. Whatever it is, many children have a good sense of what is good for them. Follow your child’s ideas there.

Some children prefer not to do homework at lunchtime, but rather in the evening. Again, as long as the mood and concentration at home are right, why not? Give it a try! Or they may like to divide up the tasks. One thing before lunch, one after and the rest in the evening. Also works.

Depending on what time is right for your child – make sure you adjust the day’s schedule accordingly as much as possible. Of course, you are not 100% flexible, everything has its price. Your child can’t make appointments with every friend at 2:00 p.m., and riding lessons go until 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Look where you still have room to maneuver, where you are free to do things differently. Maybe lunch will be a little later. Or from now on, warm meals in the evening, not at noon, so that the meal time at noon is more flexible. If your child still wants to do some homework in the evening, pick him up from his friends in time. Don’t use the 3:00 p.m. ballet date anymore (always gets so hectic), but use a later option.

By the way, assume that plans and times can change again. If you notice increased friction around homework, it may be a warning light that you need to adjust your study time. Observe closely and talk to your child about your suspicions. And adjust the schedule where possible.

Wherever free learning is involved, choosing the right time should be one thing above all – free. Deposit learning material in strategically favorable places that the child can grab on a whim. For example, in the handbag when waiting for the doctor, in the car, next to the sofa, on the window sill next to the dining table, a few books next to the bed. When you get something new, put it in plain sight for your child. And wait until he or she is curious about it. Make offers, surprise your child, share your ideas. And then let your child decide what to do with it.