One of the things that happens, regardless of how well planned your day is or how disciplined you are, is that mum will always get distracted.  You will be in the middle of a lesson and the phone rings – for us we have a business line in the house so I do answer it now (when the kids were little I just let the answering machine do it), the cake needs to come out of the oven, younger siblings need attention or you need to go to the loo – all these things will happen when your kids are fitfully occupied but guaranteed that as soon as you are out of the room they will either finish what they were doing or hit a problem and can’t go any further without you.  What will they do?

The character trait our children need in this situation is a balance of patience and punctuality.

Patience:  I will make the most of my spare time*

Punctuality:  I will be at the right place at the right time*

*Character First statements

In a sense waiting for mum is ‘spare time’ and yet they need to ‘be ready to go’ as soon as mum is back in the room.  When my kids were young they had one activity they could do if they were waiting for me – reading (or looking at books).  When Daniel came along and wasn’t reading nor that interested in looking at books, I added Lego to the list.  Now that they are older they also have independent work or unfinished work that they can go ahead with.

I personally find nothing more frustrating that coming back into the room to continue and everyone has scattered.  They may well be happily occupied and we may think that is a good thing, but it is a waste of time having to wait till everyone gets back together again.  This is why I limit their choices to activities that keep them right there, and really ready to go.

  • Do you have a plan to handle these every day distractions?
  • Do you find yourself always chasing kids up, getting them to come back to the desk?

Then maybe you could teach them the balance of patience and punctuality.

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Distractions will always happen so we need to teach our kids to go on with something if mum is distracted an not available.

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