My son started going to “his” school, when he was 8 and he stayed there for 6 years. To this day, and he is 14 now, he still abides by this expectation, both at school and at home. 

From day one at our school, we allowed kids to bring headphones/earbuds to school. Obviously this was age dependent. The teachers gave the kids parameters in the classroom and I gave them parameters throughout the rest of the school. The 5th grade and older kids really enjoyed this perk. One thing that was consistent, however, was that only one of their ears could be covered or have an earbud in it. If we saw that they weren’t following this expectation then they had to give up their headphones/earbuds for the remainder of the day. We let all of the parents know that this was the expectation at school as well, and encouraged them to use this strategy at home.  

Imagine a day when a kid can listen to his music while he works independently, while also being able to hear you and others ask him a question, call his/her name, or just for general conversation?  Our 14 year son, still knows that this is the expectation at home. He never has 2 ears covered and can always hear what’s going on around him, unless he is just tuning us out because he is 14 years old. This is especially important when dude is out on his bike or when we aren’t around to monitor his surroundings for him. 

While this may not be the end all be all, this one ear strategy has certainly given the adults who interact with our students and my son’s mother and father some life peace. Try it. I promise it will work, especially if you start them young. 

Jimmy Arispe

Founder of the most awesomest schools on the planet and