by Priscilla Crosby
My six year old twin boys are always giggling and goofing off. We've only been homeschooling for three weeks and they will not listen. The older twin has a bad attitude, always wanting his way. If they were in school I would get phone calls for days. I feel they don't take me seriously. What can I do?
Reply from Kristina regarding Goofing Off:
This situation is one that wasn't created overnight, and it won't go away overnight. So, be at peace right now with the idea that getting your kids back to a point of respect, discipline and focus will be an ongoing process, and small victories are still victories.
The first thing that you'll need to start off with is to make sure your kids do take you seriously. That respect between parent and child will trickle down with positive results to all other areas - homeschooling, behavior, following directions, focus, attitude, etc.
Start today to be 100% consistent. When you tell them to do something, it MUST happen. You must make sure that it happens. Don't tell them to do something - even a small request - unless you plan to fully follow through.
Make sure to give the kids warnings about their behavior before enforcing consequences they didn't know about before. For instance, if you walk in on your kids goofing off when they were supposed to be doing schoolwork, you cannot immediately send them to their rooms. You must give them a warning first. "Get back to your work, stay focused and finish the page you are on before doing anything else. If you get up from your chair before your page is finished, you will be sweeping the kitchen floor tonight after dinner." (Or, whatever the consequence will be.) Then you can leave again, and when you come back, you can apply what you've told them will happen.
Kids stop listening if parents' consequences are doled out arbitrarily and without warning. The kids may begin to feel like they have no idea of how to do what the parent wants, so why try? Being CLEAR and CONSISTENT is going to be the key to everything at this stage.
You can create situations that will allow you to practice your consistency, and allow your kids to practice their discipline and focus. Don't shy away from age-appropriate activities or chores with your kids just because you feel like they will be too spazzy or misbehave. Use these everyday life situations to practice consistency and discipline, and grow your children into the happy, focused people they can be!
Be patient with yourself and your kids as you go through this transition, but always be 100% clear and consistent.