Let me state categorically that this isn’t the easiest thing to do, teaching children without yelling considering that most of us Nigerians were raised under an automatic remote control system to do as we were told without questioning. I’ll like to focus on these ways of teaching children without yelling only because they resonate and have worked with me…..and they come at no extra cost.
Till today, most of us literally see nothing wrong with yelling while having a conversation with our children/students and most importantly while teaching them. We all struggle with controlling our voices as though our DNAs are wired genetically so. We always argue, creating ‘positives’ that result from using raised voices or yelling at every whim to exert authority. Truthfully, the results end up in more losses than gains.
Try these 4 simple strategies.
1. Create an appropriate time for studies, make it confortable and stick to it.
Many parents especially in trying to help their children with homework or tasks they are struggling with happen to dabble into it when they have the time to. This approach does not work effectively because children’s play time is on a ceaseless 24-hour clock if you don’t put a rein on it. Whether a teenager or younger child, play comes or graduates in different forms. The moment you are able to establish a time routine that you and your child knows, they learn to ‘switch on’ during this time especially if you have established it as a sacred time for learning. Children know when it’s beginning and when it’s likely to end. Make the room comfortable. Preferably during the day if you can’t power your home so you can open windows for fresh air. If you can power your home, set a time that isnt close to bed time preferably after having an interesting fruit to ear.
2. Deep breaths.
I know I’m no ‘oyinbo’ but I tell you this works. I do this all the time. Breathing Releases Tension. Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs. If you are looking for a quick learn-to-yell starter….do away with deep breaths. This works for both parents and teachers.
3. Lower your expectations.
Ahn ahn! I dont mean you should underestimate your child! This is what I think. If you find yourself yelling at your kids all the time, you may simply be expecting too much of them. Acquaint yourself with what’s developmentally appropriate and then tweak your actions; there are far too many parents/teachers in denial of their child’s abilities, strengths and challenges. Find out what they know. Find out what is unknown. Look for the disconnect and slowly…yes slowly…explain using multiple examples. Examples work best when they are visuals or digitalized these days. If you don’t have those, draw with your child and have a laugh at how terrible you are at drawing. Showing your own weaknesses helps children want to do better for you.
4. Adopt a mantra.
Find a word or phrase to distract yourself from yelling and remind you that your child isn’t trying to drive you nuts — he’s just a little _______ year old. C’mon…how long do they spend being little after all? (Insert any age from (1 to 15) “He’s only 10, he’s only 10,” is one example. Or …”She’s making an effort and it’s worth it”…”They are better with each try”…etc
Repeat it to yourself several times when you feel like you’re about to explode.
Remember a child suffering from zero confidence is no good in the market place of ideas and entrepreneurship.