Enhanced – interview video
Dear Durenda
How do I keep calm when it feels chaotic during the school day?

like calm. I don’t usually enjoy chaos. So remind me again why I had eight kids in thirteen years, five of whom were boys? Actually, I am very grateful to have had our eight kids! No matter how many children you have, there will be times of chaos. Our job isn’t necessarily to always keep a lid on the mayhem, but as moms, we are responsible for the tone in our homes. If there isn’t a certain amount of order, not much can be accomplished.

So do our homes have an overall spirit of peace or chaos and confusion?
Much of it depends on where the chaos is coming from. In order to know that and respond appropriately, we need to ask ourselves a few questions:

1. Is the root of the chaos that my children are out of control? In other words, am I setting and keeping healthy boundaries so that my kids have no doubts about what is acceptable and what is not? Am I being consistent in my discipline?

2. Is there an instigator? Is there one child who seems to be stirring the pot whose behavior needs to be dealt with?

3. Am I doing too much? Are my expectations for what we (or I) can accomplish more than what is realistic? Have I scheduled too many activities both at home and outside the home? Am I trying to teach too many kids at once? Do I need to simplify?

4. Do we need a break? Kids need brain breaks, and often boys need to get outside and burn off energy. I gave our boys the option to take ten to fifteen minutes on the trampoline, riding their bikes, or other physical activity in between each subject.

5. Do I need to break our concentrated learning into smaller blocks of time?

6. Are my kids eating too much sugar and simple carbs and not enough nutrient-dense food?

7. Is our learning environment promoting peace? There are certain types of music that are more conducive to this type of environment (usually classical or acoustic) that are available online. Are we encouraging a peaceful environment by our response to whatever is going on?

The final question we should ask is, “Is this happy chaos?” In other words, is what we are experiencing the beauty of having children in our lives who are full of exuberance and joy and simply being children? That is actually cause to rejoice and maybe even worth taking a moment to sit back and soak in all that goodness! After all, the days are long, but the years are short!
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