Will my kids get along better if we homeschool?
Or are they destined for constant squabbles because they’ll be sick of being around each other all day? Will my kids get along? This was my number one fear. Or maybe one of my several number one fears… Was there anything I could do to help my kids get along?!
It started at day one. The day I brought baby D home from the hospital, K took a nice sized chunk out of D’s rosy little cheek. Now, I think I know a bit more about what was at the root and will share that in just a bit.
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Are you wondering when, if ever, will your kids get along?
Part of it is a developmental thing. As our brains mature, if we’re being taken care of, we’ll start maturing too. So if you have more than two under the age of four, hang in there- someday you’ll see your kids get along! Once upon a time, I thought I was going to lose my mind while I waited. The days were soooo much longer than a mere 24 hours.
Finally, my kids get along
Now don’t get me wrong… my kids do still argue and fight.
Why? Because they’re human. Perfectly imperfect and 100% in need of God’s grace (they got it from their mama! ). The boys have been making great strides this year, however, and it’s blowing my mind in the best way!
I’m praying this will continue to be the road we travel. I catch them constantly playing and giggling together now, sharing secrets and making up games. They’re excited to show each other new discoveries before anyone else, though they’d still never admit to being best friends!
Why do I think Homeschool was key?
I thought that being around each other all the time was going to make it worse. Honestly, for a time, it probably did! But there are four sound reasons I think it’s helped my kids get along in the long run. I’m going to share them with you in just a second. If you’re not already doing these things, consider putting them into practice. If you are, then hang in there and keep praying over your kiddos and your homeschool!
1) You tend to become like the company you keep
First, you can’t help but develop a relationship with someone you spend so much time with. You may start out wildly different, but given ample time together, you’ll find (or develop) common interests! My kids get out and see other kids, especially with church and church activities, but they are each other’s primary friends now. If they want someone to play with at the playground during school hours, they either have to get lucky running into other homeschoolers, or they have to play together.
Before we began homeschooling them collectively, they never had much time to spend together as friends. Either one was in public school, or it was the other. Whoever was in public school came home exhausted, crabby, and fighting homework. That’s not exactly a friendship building environment right there. Now we have free time to play and even learn together some days.
2) Character is at the heart of everything
Secondly, we have a chance to work on their character. This is soooo very key. I think too many times, we see this as another thing to do. We’re too tired for another thing to do! I think to work on their relationship with God, their character, and social skills should be the very first things we do. When they’ve grown, their IQ won’t matter as much as their EQ.
How can our kids get along well with others if we aren’t actively helping them learn how to do that, or what that looks like? When they’re at public school, it’s a lot harder to step in and build or reinforce that foundation. Yes, they need to eventually learn to do that independently, but I’d argue that should be after they’ve built a strong foundation.
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When we have spats and blow-ups, we don’t get a note home at the end of the day, we have the ability to address it in the moment. Which brings me to my next point.
My third point is prayer- pray over your kids with them. We’ve started praying over our homeschool day at the start each day. We do this together! When we are having blow-ups midday, we talk about why it was wrong and ask forgiveness. We stop and pray together after the blow-ups.
Sometimes we forget, but whenever we can remember, we do this. If it’s been one of those days… we just stop everything and pray together. We pray for our hearts, our patience, and our self-control. We pray that we will be a grace-filled family and learn to reflect Jesus and see each other as Jesus sees us.
4) Quality Time
This is the final reason I suspect homeschooling has been such a factor in turning around my boys’ relationship. I don’t think they ever had enough time with me before. Certainly not when I was working and going to school full-time!
Even when I was back at home, they had school all day. Like I said, they usually came home tired, but even if that weren’t the case… How many hours did I get with them each week?
And then they had to share that time?!
“No way,” was probably on loop in their sweet little brains.
I first began to realize this was a problem when D was still doing public school after I pulled out my oldest, K. He began acting out by stealing anything and everything from classmates and teachers. I didn’t make the connection, however, until D began shouting in class and calling kids names. I was dumbfounded, because no one in our house modeled this behavior, and he hadn’t even seemed angry!
Then I looked back at the dates of my messages with his teacher. Each new behavior was coming when something new was taking my attention at home. First was the stealing with a new dog, and then the name calling when my husband returned home from a long work trip. It made more sense now-attention is one of the ways D feels loved!
Bringing him home to homeschool with us gives him extra quality time with me as it did for K.
My last tip to help kids get along?
Piggybacking on that last point, (but unrelated to homeschooling specifically) they no longer have to compete for attention. Be on the lookout for things that cause competition or divisiveness. Yes, they need to learn how to deal with competition, but I’d say not by allowing them to be pitted against each other as siblings.
Some things are unavoidable, but other little, hidden things are totally avoidable. We, for example, usually have them play Mario Kart on team mode. Yep- even on video games, they are on a team together. I always look for ways to get them working with each other rather than against each other.
Your turn: Are there any tips you use to help kids get along?
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