Every child has the power to flourish and every parent and family member can help. The question is: How? The answer is through a combination of common sense and theories about how children learn and about how to prepare them to learn
Remember children tend to follow their parents. Our behaviour style can help them to develop the right attitudes toward life and learning and to build confidence in themselves as individuals and learners.
Value & respect education
As parents, we can show our children that we value education and use it in our daily lives. This is important for the child’s success in school. As our children’s first teacher, it’s important that we build and keep strong ties to our children's schools, to help them do better. Never talk negatively about school and education in any aspect in front of the child, in case we need to do its needs to be a healthy discussion of the pros and cons between all involved, rather than expressing ones' opinion. This will also help children learn key communication skills and respect for others opinion
Spend quality time to build knowledge
As parents, we need to spend quality time with our children to build knowledge and create awareness about different things such as sports, music, dance, literature, math, etc. and understand their likes, areas of interest, things that they struggle with, etc. We need to ensure that we provide knowledge in small proportions to avoid confusion. The focus here is for the child to have fun, enjoy, express themselves. As parents we need to engage with children in reading, research & exploration, problem-solving, building things, appreciations, etc. the field is vast, change the activity on a regular basis till you are able to gauge and associate the activities with the learning and subjects they study at school, as parents we need to build a relationship between things we do and help the child see the relevance and how they all integrate.
Provide Exposure: opportunities & challenge them
As parents once we have identified the areas of interest and built curiosity in a few areas, we need to help the child explore the options and opportunities available to them as a career – talk to them about the various non-traditional career options and how they can flourish. Draw reference to the relevant subjects that they learn at school.
Help them understand that focus and practice are key for us to flourish in life, let them explore all options, and challenge their exploration as children get bored of routine and mundane activities.
This is one area where we as parents struggle, we need to observe rather than watch. It's a natural instinct to be concerned about our child's safety but doesn't protect to the extent that we forget to nurture their talents.
Our observation should focus to cultivate their interest by identifying patterns in their behaviour & approach and extent of involvement. As parents, we need to be there, support and push them when they are in doubt. So make sure you observe, as a parent knows best when a child is enjoying something to determine their interest in a particular subject or not.
Love to do v/s Interest
To flourish in any area, we as parents need to help children differentiate between what they love to do or what they are interested in.
A child may love to narrate a story, but they may be interested in building and experimenting. You can help them differentiate by explaining that what they love can or cannot be what interests them, and assist them in breaking down their interest for them.
Identifying a child's interest and talents is no Child's play; we need to take it easy as children's interests will constantly evolve given the dynamic age we will be in, the amount of pressure they face, technological development, etc.
We need to support and push for consistent effort & practice but at the same time not force. We should follow the process and check the result. This is a time-consuming activity; the result is your child's interest and happiness they derive from their involvement and the learning they get.
It’s important for us as parents to remember that some children may find their knack on the first go, or some may take a little extra effort to find it. Our encouragement, support, and guidance will go a long way. Finally, motivate children to pursue the knack relentlessly.
The writer is Head – Academic Implementation, Orchids-The International School
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