>-Ameera Rahim, of Habeebee Homeschooling
Our theme song is catching on. We are now getting mail in our home mailbox addressed to Team Rahim. Its on the boys’ door in cool green and blue letters. Family and friends want to hear it when they come over. We woke up one day and starting singing this song and it has been our theme ever since. “Team team, team Rahim, team team, team Rahimmmmm!” We all sang this together in the morning, just before we get our day moving. You can see their faces light up as our hands are on top of each other and we raise them to the sky, looking as though we are about to run out on the football field, but even better we are running out to tackle every day life issues, no game, no tropheys, someones keeping score and we are in it to win it.
Win what? Win our children over with love and kindness, using our homeschooling as a means to support one another. One thing you can say about homeschooling is that it gives you the chance to be your childs biggest fan, cheerleader, and supporter. Many of us are in need of PR work, and I do not mean Public Relations but if you stick to what I am saying here, you might just make it in the world of Public Relations. What I am speaking about is positive reinforcment. Our children look to us for approval, they seek attention in many ways, either in a positive one or a negative one. The goal is the same: they want your attention. Our mission that we chose to accept, is to steer them towards good and we must support, love and appreciate the uniqness of our child(ren).
I was reading some post on Habeebee Homeschooling recently, I have been blessed to see the group growing and I have been learning a lot from others experiences and advice. A sister on the group mentioned that we “need to catch our children doing good”I thought about that, how often do you find yourself praising your childs good actions and accomplishments? When Takbir started to share with is younger brother Tasbeeh we made this a big deal. “Abi, Abi! Did you see that? Takbir shared the toy with Tasbeeh!” (I call my husband Abi as we do not use our names in the house that is so the children will not call us by our regular names) my husband turned around with the same excited tone in his voice as mine and replied “Whoa you shared?” he asked Takbir. Takbirs big grin was wide enough you could see his gums and he responded in an assertive tone and I want to add… in his super hero stance “Yes I did!” For the rest of the night he procceed to find items around the house to share with Tasbeeh and looked at us each time. Tasbeeh loved every minute of it and he is also now finding it much easier to share his own self. He will give his brother the juice and say “Share.” then bounce off saying “Thank you.” Of course we made a big deal out of it each time Takbir came with a new item, and alhamdulillah it was not draining or too much. We clapped our hands when Tasbeeh would share his juice. The point I am making here is that sometimes we spend hours and long drawn out minutes scolding our children when they are wrong but how much effort do we put into when they are doing something right?
Not only does positive reinforcement means using kind and encouraging words but it also includes using loving gestures as well. My husband says that society is “touched deprived” there isn’t enough hugs and kisses, pats on the back, and loving touches. When your child has worked hard during the day of homeschooling and has finally gotten that multplication down, what do you do? Use a kind word and show how proud you are and even give them a high five to seal the deal. What seems like such a minor thing is really major, whoever invented the high five knew how to show some PR. Little children especially love the feeling of hugs and a rub on the back followed by words of appreciation and support. Not only are we helping their self esteem we are promoting a behavior that they will emulate the rest of their life. As our children play with others and interact you can see them using speech and ways they picked up from home. My son will play with other children and his brother using words he heard us say, I heard him say one day “Thats right you can do it Tasbeeh!” I believe Tasbeeh was coming down the steps, something I dreaded for sometime but he did it one day and his father was watching close by and Takbir was near, being his little brothers cheerleader.
Alhamdulillah Allah tells us to speak to each other using kind speech and not to be harsh to one another. Our beloved Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salaam said to speak a kind word or be silent. There is much wisdom in this, if we speak too soon in the midst of being upset or angry with our child, several things may happen: 1.) Your childs feelings would be hurt 2.) You may feel bad for what you said later on and 3.) The energy of the house is off and everyone is upset. Know that our words leave impressions and feelings that last for a long time. Our fondest memories can be of parents being supportive and kind or it could be our childs worst nightmare, a parent that is harsh and saying these dreaded statements “You can’t…” “You won’t…” “You will never…” this could break your childs spirit. Children like this tend to feel low about themselves and always wonder about what they could have achieved. They also question themselves and their abilites. My husband often mentions the movie Finding Nemo where the father says to Nemo “You think you can do these things Nemo but you can’t!” we wan’t to raise our children in a way that we are not putting down their abilities but promoting their good behavior, celebrating their accomplishments, and keep encouraging them.
As parents we have to remember just as we love positive words from our boss, children love the same. We must know that the road to positive self esteem and kindness begins at home. Parents when interacting with one another should set the best examples and your children will watch and do the same. Our children look to us and we should catch them being good and make those moments the ones they remember for the rest of their lives. On the Homeschooling Now! blogtalk radio show we spoke on this topic and the audio to this article is now available. Let us make it our mission to use much more postive reinforcment in our lives, and you will approach your homeschooling in the same manner, one of positivty.