Saturday, December 8, 2012

Parenting Tip - No Spoonfeeding Allowed

When I teach piano lessons, the mother is always there listening and writing down what and how the child is to practice at home.   I teach young children so the mother is an integral part of the teaching and learning process.  She IS the teacher in the home setting.

But sometimes I'll notice that a student is having a hard time learning a new piece.  I sense that the child is waiting for me to tell him every note he is to play and is not internalizing the sequence on his own.  When I question how the practice session goes at home, I soon discover that the mother is telling the child every single note to play and so the child just sits, waiting to be spoon-fed and takes no responsibility to learn the notes himself.  When I help the mother realize what is happening, she changes her technique at home and the child quickly learns to play the song.

When a child internalizes the learning, whether it be piano or math,  the knowledge becomes his own and he can apply it and gradually learn more.

Do we spoon feed our children in every day life?  Are we constantly nagging them to get their homework done, do their chores, clean up their room, or quit fighting with their siblings?  How can we get them to "own" their responsibilities and internalize the learning so they can do what they are suppose to do?

Our words are our best help, I think.  Instead of constantly saying, "have you finished your homework yet?" perhaps we could talk with them beforehand about how much homework they have, how long they think it will take them to do it, and when and where is the best time for them to work on it.  Help them verbalize the steps needed to accomplish getting their work done, then provide them with the time and environment they need to do it and let them do it.  Check in on them periodically but let them tell you what their progress is and what they still need to do . 

Easy to say, but harder to do, I know, and not an overnight success rate! This takes consistent practicing on both you and your child's part.

Cleaning a bedroom can be an overwhelming project.  But I'm just learning the value of categorizing things, myself, and think it's a super way to break down a big project into small steps.  Help your child categorize what is in her room that needs to be done--like clothes picked up, toys put in bins, and bed made.  Let your child decide on the order of how she will get things done, and maybe even how long she thinks it will take her. Then let her do it, encouraging her or even helping her (depending on the age).

Giving your children the gift to learn things, internalize that learning and become responsible for their actions is a great thing for you to do, moms.  Also a HARD thing because it takes time and practice and sometimes doesn't work out too well.  But using natural consequences ("sorry--no board game tonight, your homework took too long") and lots of positive coaching ("wow, look at you sitting there doing your  math problems"), your children will soon be on their way.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Parenting Tip - Asking WHY?

Children go through stages.  One of the painful ones is the stage of asking "WHY?"  For months your child constantly asks, "why?" on every event, activity and issue you come across.  And it seems like their need to know never gets satisfied, because as soon as you answer the first "why", it is always followed by another "why".

But I think as parents, maybe WE should be asking ourselves, WHY?  Why am I doing what I'm doing, because it sure doesn't seem to be making a difference to my family.  Here are some things you might be struggling with and if you know the "why", it might give you encouragement to keep going.

Why am I a stay at home mother when we need more money and I can work while the kids are in school?
Why am I the one who has to set the mood for our family?
Why am I constantly having to teach my children to do their chores?
Why am I driving my kids to 5 different activities a week and getting stressed out?
Why do I have to fix dinner every day?

Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a sense of security and the knowledge that they are loved unconditionally.  When we think about these two gifts, we can see that a lot of the reasons why we do things is to give these gifts to our children.

Why do I stay home?  So I am there for my children when they are sick.  So I can catch teaching moments throughout the day to instill a truth into their hearts.  So I can give them a sense of security.  So I have time to prepare healthy meals and teaching moments.

Why am I the one who has to set the mood for our family?  Yeah, that seems totally unfair!  But it's a fact and hard things make you stronger.  You are the cornerstone of your family and have been entrusted with a great responsibility.

Why am I constantly having to teach my children to do their chores?  Because I am a teacher.  I teach children to be self sufficient and to be responsible so they can be mature adults.  It will take me a LONG time, but it is important for me to stick to it.

Why am I driving my kids to so many activities and stressing out?  Ummm, this is a hard one.  You might answer: so my children will have lots of opportunities to learn and grow.  But are they?  Or are you and they becoming stressed out?  Are you teaching, instead, that they are entitled to do everything that everyone else can do and teaching the lie, that "we can do it all".  The answer to this "why" may cause you to reconsider and change some things in your family.

Why do I have to fix dinner everyday?  So I can provide healthy food and teach my children to respect and care for their bodies.

Okay enough preaching and rambling.  I encourage you to look at WHAT you are doing and discover the WHY you are doing it.  It will help you to stick with it, or change it or tweak it or understand it.

Thanks for reading,




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...