No time to help!?!
How often does your morning look like some version of this..?
6am alarm goes off, I hit the snooze.... oh no, my brain kicks into gear, I've forgotten I'm supposed to be sending cupcakes to school for the class party. Into high speed mode, cake mixing, children waking, "Are you out of the shower yet?!?" Hurry up, breakfast, school lunches... come on, come on, we are late - you are going to miss the bus.
Then I tear down our dirt country road testing the suspension in the car and hoping not to meet any kangaroos.
7.30am Three kids on the bus to school - Check!
If you are anything like me the chaotic pace can continue until my head hits the pillow in the evening. Don't misunderstand me - I'm not claiming busy as a badge of honour, in fact I am actively putting a lot of effort into being less busy. However, some days it is just the reality.
Where in all the swirling chaos do you find the time to help your dyslexic child/children with the reading, the writing, the spelling, the homework? Just don’t know where to begin?
The best place to begin is with "I love you". No matter how crazy your day those three simple words and a hug are the most important thing you can give your child who is struggling with school.
Next, match the activity you do with your child to the day. What is your energy/mood like? How tired is your child? No learning happens in a tired-out brain so don't beat yourself up about not offering assistance every night of the week.
Here are my three tips depending on your child’s energy level:
Super tired: Curl up on the coach and read them a book. Choose something they could not tackle on their own, so they get exposure to the language and vocabulary without the hard work of reading it. We continued this until our kids were quite old - think 14 or so. Harry Potter and the Hunger Games were devoured in such a fashion - letting them in on the stories their peers were talking about.
Tired: Co-read. We had periods in all our children’s lives when it was expected they would read a reader just about every night. When they are tired you can ask them to try a paragraph or page and then co-read the rest with them. That is, you read it out loud at the same time they do. Move your finger along under the words as you are saying them.
Feeling great: Focused work on the task or reading program that you have identified as the strategically most important. It is better to focus on one thing at a time and get the real benefit of it than jump all over the place. Time for repetition and consolidation are important in skill building with our kids.
My other tip is to keep this sort of work short! Thirty minutes max. It is easier to do multiple short session across a week than marathon ones that just wear everybody out.
What are your tips for helping your children after school? I’d love to hear your winning ideas in the comments below.