Best of the Web: 6 ways to help with parental burnout, and more

Strategies for parents to cope with burnout, the benefits of connecting emotionally with your kids, and why video games should be used in the classroom.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

6 ways to deal with parental burnout

(Kendra Wilde, Greater Good Magazine)

We usually hear about burnout in relation to work. Too much work, too much stress leading to people feeling overwhelmed and struggling to cope.

But what about burnout as a parent? This article details how it is a very real thing, especially given the demands placed on parents over the past 18 months.

‘The collision of roles we have had to take on during this pandemic – parent, partner, teacher, employee, caretaker, and so on – was an impossible load,’ the author writes. ‘When demands and stress exceed our resources, well-being suffers.’

She is speaking from first-hand experience that predates the pandemic. Over 10 years, the mother of three experienced illnesses linked to her hypervigilance as a parent. She had to change her relationship with stress to be there for her family.

This is a story from the United States easily translates into what parents in Australia are experiencing. The author offers some sensible strategies you can try if your feel burnout creeping up.

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It took my son’s meltdown and a lightbulb moment for me to stop parenting on autopilot

(Conal Hannah, The Guardian)

Sometimes, important moments in parenting just happen. So it was for the author, who was facing another pre-swimming class meltdown from his four-year-old.

Cuddles, reassurance and rewards had failed. ‘Then one day, out of desperation as much as anything, I tried something radical: listening to him.’

What followed was empathy and a real conversation about what it meant to feel nervous. The result was the best swimming class for months.

It took the author down a path of discovery, including an online course on emotion coaching children. Lesson one was a shock: You can be a warm, hands-on parent while being emotionally dismissive of your children.

The most important discovery for the author was to slow down – don’t rush to judgement, offer solutions, or intervene in sibling arguments.

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Why video games should be more widely used in school

(Andre Thomas, The Conversation)

The Chinese government has come down hard on children playing video games. In an attempt to rein in use, students have been banned from playing them during the week, and one hour a day on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

The author, a video game designer and scholar who specialises in game-based learning, argues for the opposite approach. ‘I see a need to expand it – and to do so during the regular school day,’ he writes.

He cites other scholars who argue that video games in the classroom help learning – including the book The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.

And he details his five reasons to use game-based learning, including helping students with STEM and keeping them engaged in content.

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