Monday, October 11, 2010

Tried and Tested... For Parents With Rowdy Kids

In the Pic, the new Star chart, color coded school schedule
Kitchen Timer, colored files for every subject.

I haven't posted much this past week. It has been pretty hectic. I'm trying to find balance between work and home. And I'm trying to have the boys find balance in their daily lives (especially now school has started). Ahmed is in Pre KG so there isn't much to worry about him and he is doing very well al7amdullah. "Ana Oktub Frinshi" as he says it, very funny. We call him Ahmed al Sadoun at home because when he is angry he puts his finger to his mouth and yells "Oskut!" Lol! As for Abdulaziz is a whole different story! First two weeks at school they did nothing, actually it was a wasted time because at the end of two weeks we got a letter that their French teacher was leaving for good and is being replaced by a different teacher. Now the new teacher has to start all over with the kids and they have to get used to her. Except their new teacher Mme. F hasn't settled down in the class because till now Abdulaziz comes everyday with something different. For a parent it is very frustrating. This week I'm going to have a meeting with her just to understand what's going on in class. Anyway Back to the main topic…. You have a disorderly boy or girl (my friend has the same complaint about her daughter.) Abdulaziz is all over the place, his things and books and home works. It took us hours to finish work, and that is if he didn't forget them. As a mother it was very frustrating and tiring. I yelled a lot, I punished and grounded. And guess what, none of this really worked. Those of you who follow my blog would know that my kids and I do a lot of projects and work together, even during the summer we studied and revised. You would also know that I'd rather let them run around than take them to an arcade. I'm not partial to video games, not that they don't have the PS3 or the Wii, but their time playing with it is limited. I love reading and I'm trying my best to instill this in them. In the evening when we read and I feel Abdulaziz is getting bored we'd chose the characters and act up the story. It is even easier for him to understand what the story is all about. Iit was and still is hard work. He is brilliant but it wasn't easy to make him take his school work seriously. I had to go to a specialist to help me, because I was out of my mind by the end of last school year. And we had all summer to practice and get organized. Let me tell you again, it isn't easy and not the end of it. It might go on until he graduates, but there is a little semblance of sanity now. Here are some Pointers for parents to follow that might help them: 1- Don't yell (yeah look who's talking). It would not achieve anything except more white hair, losing your voice, high BP and la sama7 allah heart attack and of course don't forget a nervous breakdown. 2- Consistency. It is important to have a daily schedule. Whether it is school day or vacation, my boys sleep and wake up at the same hours. They have their meals and snacks on time too. When we start a project it should be finished, not dropped because he grew bored from it. 3- Sports. It is an outlet to excess energy in every child, and channeling it in something significant is better than not directing it out and getting into troublesome pranks. Abdulaziz is taking Sqaush lessons and if he finishes his home works early he can come biking while I went for my evening walks. 4- Organization. Clean out the clutter in the child's room. Believe me there is clutter. Chose calming colors. Organizing their personal space. Every month I ask them to choose several toys they don't want anymore. 5- Color coding class & subject schedule. As you see in the picture the class schedule is colored. Blue for English, Green for French, Red for Arabic and Black for Islamic studies. Each subject has an individual file similar to the color of the subject. When he organizes his books at the end of the day he knows what he has by looking at the colors on his schedule. 6- Timing. Find a good time to start home works, what works with Abdulaziz is around 4.30 pm. Giving a time limit to finish every home work. I use a kitchen timer. For example he has Arabic, writing his lesson. I give him half hour on the timer to finish it, it will keep him focused and he will finish his lesson before the time is up. 7- Incentive. We started a star chart. Not only for his academic life but also for his behavior, if he gets less than 4 stars he won't get a reward for the weekend and will be grounded. And from 4 stars and above, he gets to chose rewards, like choosing to go to a place and bringing a friend or a gathering with a group of his friends, or choose to eat at a favorite restaurant or go to the arcade.... well what ever he wants.

I hope this will help and good luck ;)

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