Lockdown is pretty crap, there's no doubt about it, but it's certainly giving me the chance to work on some of my parenting skills. I've always been a 'You've started so you may as well finish' kind of mum, but it's finally dawned on me that perhaps this is an approach I need to keep unspoken since - who would have thought it? - sometimes kids can work that out for themselves. For example:
Boy: 'I'm so bored. I think I might go into town.'
'OK.' (Don't ask him if he's finished his schoolwork. Don't ask him if he's finished...) 'What are you working on?
Boy: 'Imperialism in India.'
He starts to collect his books and I busy myself with making a cup of tea. I have been drinking a LOT of tea during Lockdown - such a useful prop...
After I judge enough time has passed for me not to seem too invested: 'Right. Imperialism. Is it interesting?'
Boy. 'I don't know. Maybe?'
Me. 'How much more do you have to do until you finish the bit you were working on?' (Note use of past tense here: 'were working on'. Very important. Don't let him think you have any expectation he's going to finish it right now. Softly, softly...)
Boy: ' Not sure. I'll take a look.' He flips open his book. 'Not much. Probably ten minutes.'
Me: drinks tea.
Boy: 'I'll go when I've done it.'
I wait until his back is turned before I do a quiet fist pump. But then, oh then...
'Don't do that, Mum. It's so not cool. And you were doing so well, too.'