Should a 10-year-old to be able to sit down and do an hour of homework?
One reason why such questions produce so much conflict and woe in the home is that parents’ expectations for their children’s behavior tend to be too high.
His teacher wants you to work with him at home on his reading every day for 20 minutes.
Your child, who’s embarrassed about his reading, resists this “extra” work, perceiving it as an unfair penalty.
If you’re in that position, recognize that the problem here is in part the expectation.
Shifting it to, say, having the child play quietly in her crib at that time will take care of most of what’s really at issue: The child needs to rest, and you need a break.
It’s normal for a 2-year-old to get bent out of shape if he doesn’t get something he wants; it’s normal for a 3-year-old to lose it if there’s an unexpected change in the bedtime routine; it’s normal for a 6-year-old to fail to sustain focus on a baseball game, to pursue one fly ball with steely purpose and to let the next fall untouched in the grass because he’s daydreaming.
We know this, and we know that each of these developmental stages will probably pass in a few months’ time, but, still, we stand over the child with index finger raised, an unpleasant edge in our voice, futilely repeating: “I Necessity feeds this habit, and so does the human tendency to see the world according to personal priorities. Your nap is scheduled for right now, and I have a phone call to make in nine minutes. ” If your child could articulate what’s happening to him, he might respond, “I love the mobile, but my bones are growing like bamboo at the moment, and it hurts.
You read for two minutes, and we’ll talk about what you read, then I’ll read for two minutes and we’ll talk about it.” Then, once you’ve got the habit in place, over a week or two you can escalate in easy stages up to 20 minutes of reading. Your stress goes up, and, since you’re not a saint, it’s very likely that your increased stress will translate into behavior (such as harsh categorical statements in your Metallica voice about doing 20 minutes of reading every single day or else) that causes his stress to go up when you try to get him to work on his reading.
So it’s crucial that you separate the pressure you feel to help your child read from the project of working with him on his reading.