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,


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