Some kids are simply unable to contain themselves. They are constantly in motion and half of the time they are not aware of it. Homeschooling the energetic child is a challenge, but think of how miserable your energetic child would be in a traditional classroom setting. Feeling motivated? Give these tips a try and see what helps your whirling dervish focus.
- Embrace the good. The latest health warnings advise us that we do not move enough, putting ourselves at risk for all kinds of diseases. Your energetic child will never fall into this category. Whew.
- There is no rule that says schoolwork must be done sitting in a chair. Allow your child to work standing up at a kitchen counter or, if he’s still small enough, at the kitchen table. They can shift their feet and fidget while still working.
- Use a child-sized table and have your child sit on an exercise ball. The ball allows some motion and the need to balance himself will give him some added focus.
- Break tasks into small chunks. For kids under nine, limit focused work to no more than fifteen minutes. Use a timer so your child can see how long he has until he gets five or ten minutes to burn off some of that energy.
- Remember “The Peanuts.” Think of scenes from the Charlie Brown cartoons. Whenever an adult speaks you hear “Wah.Wah.Wah,” in a nasally, droning tone. All kids, but especially the very active ones, will tune you out if you are not using short, to-the-point sentences. Keep it short.
- When you are teaching, or even just speaking to, your child get down to his level. You should be able to look at him eye-to-eye. Gently guide his face back to you when his attention wanders.
- Work out some acceptable fidgets before you start your day. Many kids will tap their pencils, drum their hands or some other repetitive motion while they are doing their schoolwork. While they don’t hear the noise they are making, you will and it can make a parent insane. Keep a drawer or small box full of things your child can choose each day to fidget with – a couple of squishy/stress balls or check out toys used for therapy.
- Make lessons active whenever you can. Do math with chalk in the driveway. Practice spelling on a dry erase board, practice math facts while pushing your child on a swing (give him the problem when you push, he can shout the answer when he gets it).
- Make and use a calm-down jar when your child absolutely cannot get focused.
- Stick to a routine. If your child knows he will have ample time each day to be active, he’s more likely to cooperate.
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