I want to teach my kids STEM but how do I avoid burnout? A guide to teaching your kids science without the overwhelm.
Even without a pandemic, parents can be on the overwhelming burnout train. We’ve all been there. Modern parenting is tough. And filled with ‘shoulds’. I should sign them up for this, we should get caught up on that, they should have learned this in the last school year, and I should be there for all of it.
We should be giving ourselves a break and acknowledge we can’t do it all.
You’re already busy adulting your adult life and adding one more task – like teaching your kids science – can feel absolutely impossible.
I remember when my kids were little, there was always way more to do than I could do in a day! I was in graduate school. I had laundry, and cooking to do and groceries to get and there was always the yard! I also homeschooled my kids and when I tried to school them the only way I knew how at the time – like public school – I got burned out. I ended up exhausted and miserable and wanting to quit. But as my kids grew older, I learned more effective ways to teach them science, and it made all the difference – for me and them.
In this recent video, I walk through some steps to teaching your kids real science and without overwhelm and stress. And, since some of us have more time to scan articles like this, and others prefer a video, I’ve outlined the steps in writing as well.
How to win at teaching your kids science:
Shift your perspective. I know it can seem obvious, but we can often put too much weight on ourselves as parents. Instead of feeling like you need to know all the answers to your child’s questions (and feeling stressed about it), understand that you don’t need to “teach” them facts, particularly about science, but instead become more like a “graduate advisor” where you just provide the guidance and support for your kids to search for the answers their questions.
Gather your resources. Once we are in “advisor” mode, we need tools. Gather as many of the best resources as you can to help your child answer their own questions. This can be books, curriculum, science kits, online research activities, field trips, or help them make connections to other experts, like scientists, engineers, or university professors, by making the calls for them. The more resources, the more options!
Time. I know we are all feeling crunched for time. And, when we truly set aside some time every week to just play with all the questions, ideas, and discoveries your child presents, that’s when the teaching and discovery happens.
Just an hour or so a week will do. Have fun helping them create a play or do their own science experiment or take a short hike or field trip to the local bakery with them. There’s no pressure here to find the “right” answers or to come up with a prize-winning science fair project, it’s just being curious, exploring your and your child’s imagination, and enjoying the process of learning through play.
So now that you know the steps for teaching your kids science in a new and relaxing way, how do you make it stick?
I invite you to try our at-home RATATAZ boxes for plenty of science play ideas and materials. Ratataz helps your child feel comfortable tackling complex subjects. I’ve mapped out the best way for kids to learn science, and all the hard work of choosing where to begin has been done for you.