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Kids Behave Differently At Home And In School. How To Get The Best of Both Worlds
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    We often hear it from our kids’ teachers. “Oh, Dylan is so behaved today, waiting for his turn in the sink to wash his hands.” We couldn’t believe it though since that morning, he was so stubborn to put on his socks. 

    It could also be vice versa: Your child behaves at home, but in school, he doesn’t participate or throws tantrums. Does your child have double personalities? Not really. 

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    Why kids behave better in school or at home

    Many kids either behave differently at home and in school for many reasons. It’s not unusual. He may enjoy a friend’s party but be bored in another one’s get-together. There are many possible factors. 

    Kids may spend their energy behaving in school that they’re looking for a release. 

    Some kids, especially those with ADHD, anxiety, autism, and learning disabilities, “may be using a lot of their resources to follow directions or cope in the classroom,” says Stephanie Lee, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute

    1. Children benefit from the structure or routine that the school provides.

    Often, rewards and consequences are also clear and more consistently given in school, helping motivate the kids to behave. If not, then the consequence is also instant. 

    2. Kids know that their parents will love them no matter what.

    Kids behave how they like at home because they know that whatever they do, their parents will forgive them, or clean up after their mess. It could also be that they’re used to the consequence of a certain deed, so it doesn’t work anymore. 

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    3. Children may have social or performance anxiety, so they thrive more at home.

    They could take a break and play with Legos at home when they feel overwhelmed, which they won’t be able to do at home. It could also be that the child is downplaying his condition, if any, to avoid embarrassment.

    How to get the best of both worlds

    Now that the school is at home, there’s a way to bridge the gap. If your child does better in school, it’s not impossible to replicate that at home. If your child thrives at home, you could introduce school rules that they can benefit from. There are  two key things you can start with. 

    1. Collaborate and coordinate with your child and his teacher.

    Develop a good relationship with your child’s teacher and value their hard work. Parent-teacher conferences should give you feedback as to what works (or not) for your child. 

    Dr. Lee suggests encouraging collaboration and open communication. “If there are strategies or techniques that the child is really benefiting from at home or in school, can they be shared and adapted to support that child in both environments?” she stresses. 

    If you solely are your child’s teacher this year, then observe which works for your child. Does he respond to visuals, using his hands to tinker with stuff, or through stories? Finding out how your child best learns is the first step.

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    2. Give your child a schedule that fits him.

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    If you give your child a school schedule at home too rigid, then issues will come up sooner or later. If it’s too lax, then you wouldn’t be able to move forward with lessons as needed. 

    “It’s vital to note how well-nourished and well-rested the child is,” Jerry Bubrick, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Service at the Child Mind Institute.

    Home rules still apply, of course. Some parents mark a time when additional “school at home” rules start. Once you set the rules, stick to them and follow through with the rewards and consequences you’ve set.

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