My children are both in primary school at the moment and as they work their way through the years, with different teachers along the way, I’m realising that we can learn a fair bit from the way the teachers handle things in the classroom.
Here are 9 tricks that teachers use in the classroom that you can try out for yourself at home.
1. Work with your child to solve problems
One thing that the teachers do really well at our school is involving the children in problem solving. If there’s an issue they don’t just step in and resolve it, they ask the children involved how they think they should move forward.
This is definitely something we should be doing at home as parents as well.
I know I’ve jumped in before and told my children what course of action we’re going to take, when really I should stop, slow down and ask for their input.
Letting them suggest ways to solve problems will teach them so much more than just making the decision for them.
2. Set your expectations in advance
This is something we’ve tried to do over the years.
It’s too easy to forget sometimes that our children don’t know everything. As adults we know that you don’t run riot in the library, but your young child who’s not been there before doesn’t know that.
So before you go in you need to set your expectations of how they need to behave in that situation. Explain that libraries are calm places and we don’t run around and shout there.
This is something that teachers do really well.
If the class on going on a trip somewhere the teacher will explain before they get on the bus all about where they’re going and how the children are expected to behave.
3. Display your house rules
Schools will quite often have displays up on the walls that list the rules that everyone is expected to follow.
Our school has a few brightly coloured displays dotted around reminding the children of the school’s ethos of being kind, being thoughtful and listening (to the teachers and to each other).
This is a great idea to use at home as well.
It might be that you put up a list of the things that the children need to do each morning, like get dressed, brush teeth and so on. Or you could create a list together as a family of rules like knocking before going into someone’s bedroom, or a poster of family mottos like ‘be kind’ and ‘be silly’.
4. Point out when they’re good
When you give a child time and attention when they’re doing something good, they’ll be less likely to act badly just to get your attention.
Teachers do this in the classroom by drawing attention to the children who are behaving nicely, instead of giving attention to those who are being more noisy and disruptive.
You can do the same thing at home by making a big fuss and praising your child when they put their shoes on the first time you ask, or sit nicely at the dinner table.
5. Give them the chance to burn off some energy
Rhys is a really high energy child and finds it hard at times to sit still and focus. So his teacher will let him round around the yard a few times, or up and down the stairs, to get some of his energy out.
Once he’s done that he’s much more able to concentrate on his classwork.
If your child has a lot of energy then you can use this same idea away from school too. If you’re going to go somewhere like a museum where you need your child to be a bit quieter and calmer, then give them a chance to run around and burn off some of their extra energy before you go in.
6. Be consistent
When you have a class of 30 children it’s so important to stay consistent with how and when things are done.
The school day follows the same pattern and rhythm pretty much every single day, so all the children know what to expect and what they need to be doing.
When you have this kind of structure and consistency children tend to be calmer, more productive and better behaved than if the day didn’t follow any kind of routine.
You can do the same thing at home by bringing in a gentle routine to your days.
If your child knows that maths homework always gets done on the same night after school there’ll be less battles and less drama over it. In theory anyway.
7. Learn to adapt to each child
We’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing teachers teaching our children so far.
What I’ve noticed is that they take the time to get to know all the children in their class. And wherever possibly they adapt their teaching style and approach to the different children. They work to adapt to the way the children learn, rather than expecting the children to adapt to the way they teach.
If you have more than one child at home then this is definitely something to keep in mind.
My children are so different in lots of ways, and so we have to adapting our parenting style at times to find what works best for each of them.
You might find that your oldest child responds best to a really structured routine, knowing exactly what is happening when, while your youngest is happier in a more relaxed set up where you can go with the flow a bit more.
8. Whisper, don’t shout
A lot of teachers take this approach to dealing with a class that’s getting too loud.
Instead of shouting over the noise, they talk really quietly. This way the children have to quiet down to hear what they’re saying.
This could be well worth a try at home.
9. Try using non-verbal cues
If the whispering trick doesn’t work to get your children’s attention then try this other classic classroom trick.
Remember in Kindergarten cop when the head switches the classroom lights on and off to get the children to stop running riot? This is something that teachers do quite often. It’s an easy way to get attention without having to use your voice.
You can try it at home with your children too.
I know that in our house switching the TV off is a very effective way of getting the children’s attention!
Do you do any of these things with your children at home already?
Are there any other tricks that teachers use that would work really well at home too?
Please do leave me a comment and let me know!