While we are on the subject of liking ourselves, taking care of ourselves, and general well being… we should really talk about stress. For many of us with kiddo’s, SCHOOL started this week. It’s ugly to admit, but many of us live under a cloud of stress and striving named “making sure my kids come out on top”. We all want to ensure our kids have the very best start on life, but it can morph into a terrible mess of self imposed pressure and stress – and not just for Mom! Kids today are under an immense amount of pressure to preform at school, win at sports, look cool etc.
Natalie and I wanted to take a moment to share how we approach this issue in our respective families, and how we help our kiddos learn to nurture and care for their own bodies and souls.
Just look at her littles… this was taken last year:
1.This year you’ve both chosen different schooling models for your kiddos – can you briefly explain what they are and why?
Early on, we were advised to take each year as it comes, asking the Lord what is right for our kiddos this year. He has led us so well! We had mostly done a combination of co-operative home schools, and small private schools up until last year. We have experienced massive rewards through being involved in our childrens’ education and giving them a primarily Christian Education in their Elementary years when those little world views are forming etc. Did you know that the majority of our worldview is formed by the age of 5?! Last year we chose to enroll our 15 yr old Elijah in the public school system, mostly because of the special ed. options it gives. So far so good! 8 yr old Carter is happily moving into his 2nd year at a private Christian school. The small class sizes and constant spiritual affirmation has given him an incredible boost with both his self esteem and academics. Little 4 yr old Riah is in preschool 4 days per week, which allows me to work and keeps him happy too!
This year we are choosing to homeschool. It has been all about hearing the voice of God for our kids on this topic. Last year we felt really strongly to put them in Kindergarten at a Christian school and it was the best decision ever. This time, we felt really strongly to homeschool, and I even had a dream about it. My husband is usually pro-school but he has felt just as strongly for us to homeschool our twins.
2. Can you share some ways you help your kids cope with perfectionism and pressure to make straight As’ etc .
Raising a brood of boys, I’m constantly aware that I am raising MEN. They must grow up to be godly, kind, brave, leaders who hold a good work ethic and know how to accomplish and overcome challenges. Lots of that can be learned through our approach to learning and school. We require that they do their best, but recognize that may not mean an ‘A’ grade for each child. We talk daily about working to our best ability and that verse from the Bible, “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though working for the Lord, not for men,” is in my heart as I coach them and pray for them throughout the day. If a report card comes home with F’s and we know the kid didn’t try… then summer school it is! If it comes home with low grades but we know the boy did his very best… we celebrate his hard work!
Perfectionism can be hard to work through, especially since children have to go through a learning process that includes a lot of practice before they will master things as little as coloring between the lines or as difficult as calculus. Celebrating our children’s successes is important to us but I think it’s a good thing to celebrate failure, because without it, we cannot learn. Showing our children successful people and explaining how they failed many times before achieving their success is a goal of mine. Also, not taking ourselves as parents so seriously because honestly, kids catch more than they are taught, so we need to look at ourselves and work through our own perfectionist behavior patterns before we work on theirs.
3.We are talking about self-care this month; let’s apply that to kids too! How do you instill that same value in your little ones? (Teaching our kiddos to self evaluate and give themselves what they are needing: time alone, more sleep, outside time, etc.)Bethany:
This is an area I’m really working on! We do have that ‘Power Hour’ that Melody talked about in her article , and I use that as a time to instill in them the value of rest. They are really starting to enjoy it. If I’m very honest I spend way to much time telling my children what they need and how to get it, rather than helping them gain that self evaluation skill for themselves. I’m making this my mission for this new school year!
My children are still young, so much of the time I am keeping a close watch on behavior and mood to determine the need for rest, etc. I try to implement a quiet time for the twins while the two younger kids nap in the afternoon and I have noticed how much physical activity improves their moods and their sleep. It’s not always easy to get them outside for a lengthy period of time, but at the very least, they get some time to scooter and run down the sidewalk chasing each other and breathing in some fresh air.
I have also been trying to implement a morning quiet time (trying is the key word!), where the dinning room table can be a place for worship music, looking at their children’s bible and coloring. My goal is to help them eventually start having there own morning times with Jesus…one small step at a time though.