I recently started taking some courses to get my teaching certificate. As I worked through my study materials, it hit me that I could use a lot of the teaching skills I was learning in my parenting. A good mom is a lot like a good teacher.
I only wish I had worked on these skills sooner! See which skills you already have and then try our tips for the ones you need to work on—I’ll be working on them too.
When you’re a teacher, you have to accept that there is no set pace for all children. A teacher must be patient and understand that children learn and mature at different rates. Same goes for moms. We must be patient with our children’s learning progress at home, too. It’s easy to think, “When will they learn?!!!” But learning is a process, and like concepts taught in school, lessons must be repeated to sink in.
And, teachers have this great concept: gradual release. It means that first you show the child how to do the task, then you do it together, and then the child does it on his own. If we use this method and prepare our children, our patience won’t be tried as much.
If organization comes naturally to you, that’s a huge plus; if it does not come naturally, there are ways to make it look like it does. As I’ve visited schools and substituted in various classes, I’ve seen that the best-organized teachers keep it simple. So try that at home.
Decide on the three areas that are most important to you at this stage of your mom life; they can change over time. For example, if teaching your children the importance of doing chores tops your list, use iMOM’s chore chart. Start small and have your kids tackle one or two chores the first week, and add on from there. If you tend toward disorganization in most areas of your life like I do, this article has some great tips.
3. Classroom management
This is the biggie in teaching. My instructors tell us that if we can’t manage our students’ behavior, teaching will not go well. At home, classroom management equates with how we manage our children’s behavior. Good teachers do not resort to yelling or shaming, nor do they let the class run wild.
Just like a good teacher, a good mom wants her kids to know that she believes in them; this will make the kids more inclined to want to behave. So praise often, even for small things, “I really like how you’re acting with your sister today. You’re showing me you can make good choices, and the better choices you make the more privileges you’ll earn, like biking to Noah’s on your own.”
Another teacher trick is to expect good behavior, and thank the students before it even happens, “Thank you for getting out your books and turning to page 86.” At home, it would sound like this, “Thank you so much for taking up your plates after dinner.” Here are 10 more tips for disciplining your child.
Last week I taught a class of seniors at risk for graduating. Many of them were surly and unengaged. Our topic that day was the play Pygmalion — unlikely at the top of their personal must-read list. So I tried something different, I had the students read the play, taking turns as the various characters. They loved it. At the end of class one boy said, “This is the first time I’ve had any idea what this play was about.”
So think of creative ways to do your mom job. If you want your kids to fold clothes, divide the laundry and make it a folding race. If you want them to turn off their screens the first time you ask, tell them that if they can put down their device and run to give you a hug within 30 seconds, they’ll get 10 extra minutes of screen time on the weekend.
One of the biggest rules for teachers is that they are not allowed to have their phones out in class. It sounds like common sense, right? The teacher is there to teach and she must be focused on her students. Well, when we apply that to being a mom, it’s even more important to be primarily focused on our children. So when we’re “momming” we need to be in our teacher mode, focused on our children.
I bet many of you are teachers. What other tips do you have?