Parents are the foremost teachers for their children. From infancy, children observe their parents' mannerisms, moods and personalities as they begin to develop a sense of self. Parents articulate and simplify complicated life phenomena and provide ease to the intrinsically curious nature of little ones.
Parenting and teaching may appear vastly different in many ways, yet most aspects of the roles are quite similar. This is especially accurate when it comes to managing behavior and encouraging creativity in toddlers and teens. If you’re an early childhood educator who is also a parent, this blog will help you ease the gap between the two roles. Here are 5 tips to balance your role as a parent and teacher to positively influence the learning behavior of children:
1. Foster A Positive Attitude Towards Learning
Children are more likely to have a favorable attitude toward school and learning if parents and teachers are themselves engaging in the process. You can set healthy examples for children by engaging in lifelong learning through online courses on platforms like International Comprehensive. Observing adults in their lives engaging in positive learning behavior like reading, self-studying or engaging in artistic and passion-based hobbies helps children instill a positive mindset around learning. Ultimately, your attitude towards learning shapes your child and your student’s overall impression and passion to evolve intellectually. This is an important power that mustn't be taken lightly!
“Children grow into the intellectual life around them”
Vygotsky, Children’s Psychology Specialist in the 20th Century
Ron Ritchhart’s concept of creating Cultures of Thinking (CoT) puts modeling at the heart of lifelong learning for children. CoT is an important part of Harvard’s Project Zero and aims to integrate skills with dispositions of children from a young age. Check out this video interview with Ron Ritchhart to learn more:
2. Set Respectful and Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries are essential to maintain as both teachers and parents. While the two roles will intersect at many points in your life, it is important to maintain healthy boundaries for yourself. Your mental wellbeing through a healthy work-life balance will not only help reduce your stress, but help you be more present and show up for your children. This can be done in simple ways like:
Set up a study at home to run virtual classes such that your children can be mindful of whether or not they should enter. (Perhaps put up a sticky note on the door when you’re busy!)
Have clear distinctions between work time and family time once the school day has ended. Make family a priority at the dinner table and during your off time by turning off your phone and mind from work.
Take off your teacher’s hat during family time and allow yourself to enjoy your child’s presence without feeling the need to correct them!
Separate your professional and personal emails/ storage systems to create healthy boundaries in your digital life
3. Manage Your Time While Leaving Room For Spontaneity
Integrating a growth mindset can greatly help you take equal responsibility for both your roles. This entails scheduling and creating to-do lists while learning from what worked or didn’t work each week. Managing your time for students, your family and your personal development can be tough. Using resources like Google Calendar to schedule your days can greatly help you keep track of your personal and your children’s schedule. You can also use our Sunday Night Checklist to plan out your classroom and work week after you tuck in your kids on Sundays!
4. Prioritize Self Care As Often as You Can!
It’s important not to let your role define your behavior at any given time. As much as you may want to protect your children and students, you must give yourself grace to slip up every once in a while. While you may feel responsible for your students at school and your children at home, your primary responsibility lies at taking care of yourself. So, take that sick day when you need it! Rely on other adults in your family and take support from your community when you can. Download meditation apps like Calm and sneak in 5-minute meditations during the day to ground yourself! You can even become a TeacherWit Ambassador to receive a year long subscription to Calm!
5. Communicate Attentively and Effectively
It is important to be mindful and present with children, especially during their primary years. We never know what a child might observe! To make sure your children at home and at school feel validated, pay attention to their words, body language and needs when you communicate with them. Make sure you really listen to what each child says to understand and connect with them rather than simply respond. With technology becoming integrated into lives from early childhood, you can also look at digital resources to communicate effectively with students.