When Caidin was little, we found ourselves not only describing and explaining things to him, but being sure that we added adjectives and adverbs to every sentence. So instead of saying ‘that’s a dog,’ we’d say ‘that’s a big brown dog called a Labrador.’ Or we would explain what we were doing and why, while in the midst of things. I’m sure this is why Caidin’s first word after the usual Ma, Da, Bottle was Octopus.
We also helped Caidin, through his own experiences and ours, to understand how we react and respond to situations in our lives. If he was frustrated, we didn’t ignore it or let him figure out how to deal with it on his own, we’d help him put words to it, understand it and then find ways to deal with it. So today, he has a number of strategies (I call them tools) that help him to manage his own emotional experiences, including both a great vocabulary to express what’s going on as well as the confidence and comfortableness to be able to express it.
Teachable moments exist in everything we say and do; whether you want to teach your child about life, love, faith, gratitude, positive thought or seeing life as an adventure.
The key to teachable moments though is to keep them ‘teachable’ rather than ‘preachable.’ Effective teachable moments are woven into every day conversation, time doesn’t stop and stand still so that you can use a moment to tie it to a bigger concept. Teachable moments are simply a part of your day-to-day activity.
It’s much like learning in general. Caidin goes to a progressive school where teaching is integrated into the everyday. Most of the time he doesn’t even know that he’s learning but it is amazing what he knows. Sometimes he blurts out facts that I will secretly look up to verify.
Have you ever actually looked at a child when they are being ‘spoken to’? They sit rigid, usually holding their breath and their eyes look like that of a deer caught in headlights. They aren’t really listening at these moments, they are thinking ‘am I’m in trouble’ or ‘what do I have to do to make this stop’. By weaving teachable moments into your day-to-day, you create a way in which everyday conversation becomes the spring board to providing your support, instilling your beliefs and offering your guidance.
Here are three great ways to make teachable moments part of your everyday conversation
Ask Questions -When a teachable moment arises, ask questions about your child’s thoughts, feelings and experiences and share yours as well. See where the conversation goes, highlighting the lessons you want to share.
Added Benefits:In addition to creating a teachable moment, your child will learn to communicate with you.
Share Experiences-Use your own experiences to highlight the lessons you want to share. An example might be “You know what happened to me today?” and then share your experience and weave your lesson into your experience.
Added Benefits: In addition to creating a teachable moment, your child will learn how to talk about and share experiences through your example.
Use What You See-There are many places and ways to use what you see to teach life lessons from video games, to movie, to television to the news to everyday life happenings. One of my favorites is actually television. Whether it’s gender equality, stereotypes or the power marketing has on people; television offers many wonderful teachable moments. When I see something that offers a teachable moment, I’ll make a statement or I’ll ask a question. For example, we were watching a cartoon on television and a commercial came on for a dinosaur. The ad made it look huge and interactive. I asked Caidin ‘What do you think about that toy? Do you think it actually looks like that?’ He said, ‘No, I think it’s much smaller and it probably doesn’t do any of what they are showing.’ Which was a great analysis of the ad and he was correct. We looked it up on line and the toy was pretty small and it really didn’t do anything at all. We went on to discuss how he would have felt if he ordered it and we also explored the ways in which the marketing had made it seem more exciting than it was.
Added Benefits: In addition to creating a teachable moment, your child will learn critical and analytical thinking skills.
Using life as teachable moments can be time consuming, because almost every moment offers us something we can learn, but if you make it part of your everyday parenting you will not only be supporting your child, you will be helping them develop great skills and tools to manage their own life
© 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.