by Amy from The Parent Patch
During my four years of university study to become a teacher I worked hard to understand the theories and psychology behind learning. I wrote countless assignments based on the many scenarios that may present themselves in the context of a classroom and I considered the many options available for managing the behaviour of students. What nobody could teach me however, was how to put that learning into practice.
My first day as a teacher was a day I will never forget and I returned home to announce to my parents that teaching wasn’t the profession for me! I knew that it wouldn’t be easy but I never really understood that my learning was only just beginning and that the four university years only gave me a foundation with which to start building on.
The same can be said for parenting. We base our knowledge on what we see of other people’s children, the books we read, the advice we are given and the parenting that we received ourselves however, these are just the building blocks to help us on our own journey as parents. Just as each individual student in my classroom needed to be understood, so do our children and you just never know what you are going to get! Some children are bad sleepers or eaters; some have conditions or intolerances that need to be treated; some will suffer from separation anxiety or shyness and some will never sleep through the night despite our best efforts. The only thing that can be assured is that each child is different and we must never compare to others. The only way to push forward is to accept that understanding our children and learning what works best for them takes time and patience. You know your children better than anyone else but it’s very easy to question yourself and over think it.
After a sleepless night proceeding my first day of teaching, I returned ready to learn. Even though I knew this would be the toughest chapter of my life thus far, I was determined to do the best job that I could and this is how I did it (refined over many years!):
1. I found a routine that worked for my students and me. Each class was different depending on age and class dynamics, so each routine was different;
2. I was flexible when I needed to be but remained consistent in my overall goals;
3. I earned the respect of the students over time. For some, this took a long time!
4. I did things my way, even if it was different to that of other teachers. As long as the end result was the same, it didn’t matter how I got there.
5. I learned from my mistakes and laughed with my students when things didn’t go to plan;
6. I trusted my instincts and asked for help when I needed it.
If you exchange the word ‘student’ above with that of ‘child’, you will find that these tips provide a great foundation for new (and existing) parents. Never give up on learning and use every resource available but only take on board what works for you and your family, as there is more than one way to raise good children.
Amy provides practical resources and advice to everyday parents who are looking for simple, actionable ideas and strategies to manage young children and enjoy each day to its fullest through her website The Parent Patch. You can also find her on facebook. To see all of her articles, click here.