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Chrissie Davies reading book with children in bed

9 Tips on How to Home School a Reluctant Child

Are you home-schooling, supervising remote learning or attempting distance learning with your child – and facing resistance and challenging behaviour? Maybe you have a child who is just not interested in doing any schoolwork with you?

Chrissie Davies with child reading on floor

I can reassure you that you are not alone. We have all been placed in an incredibly unique and challenging situation. 

For the first time, Australian families are being thrust into another role for their children – that of being an educator.

But the reality is that our amazing educators have undergone years of education, and ongoing training themselves, to be able to know how to get the absolute best from our kids. 

As a child behaviour expert and educator with over 20 years’ experience in education, I can reassure you that you are not alone in your feelings of frustration, stress and even anger. Even my own seven-year-old has days when she does not want to engage with me and do her learning!

I want to share with you the ways that I approach it with my daughter to get her over the line. Without tears, tantrums and heated arguments. 

Chrissie Davies Chaos to Calm Consultancy


How to home school your kids with calm and not chaos

1. Recognise that it’s not about you

First, I really want to reassure you. This is not about YOU.

I do not know how many times over the years parents have asked me “Why does my child behave so differently for you?”.

The truth is because you are their parent. Not their teacher. Your relationship with your child is so interwoven. Families are interconnected and often the lines are blurred.

Relationships with teachers are not as complicated for children to understand. It is a stand-alone relationship outside of the family unit.

The other main reason why children behave so differently in their educational setting is something to do with what I like to call “The power of the peer.’ Our children want to be like other kids, and so they tend to follow along in agreeance with their peers.

Chrissie Davies playing with children


2. Have empathy

While learning at home, in a familiar and loving environment, might seem easy to you – for our kids this is hard.

Kids are not meant to be inside most of the day, and we must remember that all classrooms are very fluid. Kids move around in their classroom every 40 minutes. So allow for frequent, regular breaks.

Also, say things like “I understand that this is really hard for you” or “I know you are really missing your friends.”

True empathy goes a long way with children.


3. Support and acknowledge your child’s emotions and feelings

Frustration and annoyance are what I like to call BIG feelings, and kids have plenty of them.

Remember that tears or tantrums are their way of communicating. They are telling us through their behaviour that this situation or task is really challenging for them.

When we take the time to watch and listen to our kids expressing how they are feeling, this makes them feel valued and respected.

Chrissie Davies reading book with children in bed


4. Relinquish control

Try to encourage independence and autonomy. If you can, give your kids the choice about which activity they would like to do first.

Giving children choices and relinquishing control will really help your kids to feel like they have some say in this situation and hopefully allow them to be more intrinsically (self)motivated.


5. If you can, show your child the task before they start work

We receive our learning videos each evening and watch them, but with no pressure. This allows for the ideas to be planted and discussed without any actual expectation to produce anything.

If you receive your learning tasks in the morning, try to take two minutes without your child to read what’s required before starting your child on their work (and getting started on your own work!). This will help you to gather the right resources for your child (eg coloured paper, colouring pencils, printing worksheets) and to anticipate questions and roadblocks. 


6. Aim for effort, not perfection

All teachers really want to see from children is that they gave it a crack. We do not expect or want perfect spelling or precisely coloured in pictures.

A teacher embraces all effort and would much rather see your child’s authentic attempts than a piece of writing that has clearly been “polished’ by an adult before being published.

Chrissie Davies Growth Mindset Card


7. Step it out first

Before asking your child to write anything – model some writing to them first. This helps them understand what is expected of them and assist them with ideas.

The same goes for reading. Kids need a lot of support with ordering their ideas.


8. Be a team and take turns

It is ok to take turns of doing things. When my daughter is being resistant, I ask her “I can see that you are getting tired, would you like me to read a page?” or “Your hand must be getting really tired from all of this writing. Let me write the next sentence and you can copy it.”

The team approach goes a long way with kids.


9. Remind yourself that you are doing a great job

Lastly, I would like to remind you that you are doing a great job. Whatever that looks like or sounds like in your house. You are doing enough.

When the shiz hits the fan try to remind yourself that the most important thing in all of this is your relationship with your child.

There is no test for families at the end of this.

There will be NO judgment from the schools or educators who absolutely understand that families are doing the best that they can. 

Most of our kids will not even really remember what they did day-to-day during this time – but they will remember how this time felt like as a family. What do you want to look back and remember?

Chrissie Davies Chaos to Calm Consultancy with children jumping on bed

Hailed as ‘The Child Charmer’ Chrissie Davies brings a heart centred approach to all her services.  Chaos to Calm consultancy exists to empower parents to create a whole new generation of emotionally healthy families.  She believes that understanding the causes of challenging behaviour is the first step to making lasting change. Working with Chrissie allows parents to view their child’s behaviour through a different lens. Chrissie understands the power of connection and communication and knows that with the right support families can confidently calm the chaos.

Chrissie is also a mama of two young children so has genuine empathy and understanding about the challenges that many families face.

You can connect with Chrissie via Chaos to Calm Consultancy Facebook and Chaos to Calm Instagram

You can also enrol in Calm Connected KIDS, Chrissie’s four-week online course for parents who want to raise kids who thrive from the inside out. During the course, Chrissie shares all of her knowledge centred around the importance of using emotional engagement and positive communication to teach children about to behave positively. Doors open on Friday 15 May! If you can’t make 15 May then you can take still sign up for the self-paced version of Calm Connected KIDS which is live throughout the year.

How to home school a reluctant learner
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For more resources for homeschooling / remote-learning have a look at:

My Daily Visual Schedule 

Big Life Journal Review: Best Growth Mindset products for kids

4 tips for avoiding stress while homeschooling

21 best toys for keeping kids busy and learning

I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Get my awesome weekly newsletter in your inbox every week to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!

Bec Gilbert is a full-time mother of two girls Little Red (2.5 years old) and Goldilocks (5 years old) and a business owner at "Liquified Art" in Melbourne's east.

She likes to spend her days painting, gardening, teaching workshops and running her little people around. A self-proclaimed "Festival Junkie" you'll find her out and about in sunshine or rain, tasting foods, getting involved in crowd participation clapping, talking to people and learning about the causes and products they are most passionate about.

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