Every day presents an opportunity to teach something new to your child. Here are some great ways to capture an ordinary moment and turn it into an educational one.
By Susan Philip
“Mamma, give,” demanded little Akshay, pointing at the ball in his mother’s hand. “Say 'please', first,” prompted his mother. “Mamma, please give,” repeated Akshay, and his mother handed him the ball with a smile. Like Akshay’s mother, we parents can all turn everyday situations into teaching moments for our children. Here are some ways to use our interactions with our little ones through their growing years to impart knowledge and teach them skills.
It’s often said that a toddler’s mind is like a sponge. She soaks up everything. So every moment you spend with your pre-schooler is a potential teaching moment. Make full use of this phase. It’s never too early to start teaching your child the lessons you want her to use through life.
About manners: ‘Please’ ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ are words that should be part of a child’s vocabulary as early as possible.
About the body: A toddler is by nature curious. She will feel your hair, touch your face and grip your hands. Use her instinct to teach her about her own body.
About colours and shapes: You’ll be surprised how easily your pre-schooler can distinguish colours and shapes.
About nature: As a parent, you can help your child appreciate the beauty of the world.
The teachings started at the earlier stages can be expanded during this stage. Your child will learn more because he will be exposed to varied experiences at home and at school.
About respect: Respect, courtesy and telephone etiquette are some things that can be easily instilled in a child.
About vocabulary: Your child will pick up new words quickly at this age.
About healthy food: This is a good time to help your child understand the importance of a balanced diet.
About discipline: Lessons of discipline started early last a lifetime.
This is an impressionable age; your child’s brain is growing fast, and is capable of processing and storing a lot of information. Turn the time spent with her into teaching moments, but do it unobtrusively.
About health: Your child will be responsible for his health and hygiene by this age.
About work-play balance: Study-play ethics learnt at this age will translate into her maintaining a healthy work-life balance later.
About value of money: Basic budgeting can be taught in a fun way at this age.
About empathy: You can prepare your child to be conscious of the needs of others at this stage.
Make the most of the small windows of opportunities you get during this phase of your children’s lives to convey life lessons which they will carry into adulthood.
About safety: At this stage, it is very important to learn about personal safety.
About social duty: Being socially conscious is something that doesn’t come naturally to teenagers, who are usually self-absorbed. But it can be inculcated.
About civic duties: Following civic rules doesn’t come naturally to teenagers either. But you can make your point.
About new experiences: Your teenager could soon go to a different city, or even country, to study. Prepare him to accept new experiences.
The best lessons are learnt at home. Set an example for your child, use every moment you spend in her company to introduce her to different aspects of knowledge and behaviour. These will be the bedrock of her future.
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