The other day I was returning home from my grocery shopping trip with my son, when I saw a boy in the neighborhood howling and crying in pain. I could not resist asking his mother who stood besides him, what was wrong and why wasn’t she comforting him. She promptly replied he is crying because I have slapped him for not studying. I looked at the boy again, he did not look older than three years of age. I was taken aback. I wouldn’t usually ever tell a mother she is doing something wrong, but this time I made an exception. I advised her to do a few things to make study time fun and interesting for him. I cannot say if she thought it was worthwhile to pay heed to what I suggest. This incident makes me ponder, do we as parents and teachers often forget to implement even the basic rules of teaching and learning. Every parent is a child’s first teacher, hence it is of utmost importance for every parent to be aware of and follow these basic principles.
Before we get to the basics of a good teaching and learning process between a parent and child there are a few things you need to know about your child.
1) Children love to learn – contrary to what we think, children actually love to learn. They are learning every moment, even when you think they are simply fidgeting with a candy stick.
2) Learning for them is not a task as teaching is for you – From birth itself learning is the most stimulating and exciting game for kids. But in the due course of time, we as parents turn it into a boring task.
3) They have tremendous grasping power – just that we as parents must be aware of how to present the desired information to our children.
Now, that you have heard what I think you should’ve known before we proceed, here are ten basic rules of building and maintaining a good teaching learning environment between a parent and a child. I insist you must follow these principles right form when you start teaching your child ( which can also be from birth)
Monitor your approach
“children have never been great at listening to elders, but they have never failed at imitating them”.
This perfects explains why you must have a positive attitude towards teaching. If you succumb to the pressure of teaching your child a certain topic in a given period of time, you are likely to make teaching a chore, a strenuous activity, a punishment in itself. This approach will result in ruining the natural learning institution of your child. He will also begin to vision study time as a task, a job to finish and eventually loose the zest of learning.
Know when to start and stop
The ideal time to teach would be when both the parent and the child are in a happy frame of mind. Make sure the baby is not hungry, sleepy or tired. Begin to teach when your child is enthusiastic and energetic. As a parent you must be able to read the baby’s cues. If you notice that the child has begun to feel tired or is not having a fun time anymore, it’s time to stop. The golden rule is – stop before the child wants to stop.
Dedicate a certain amount of time to studying. There is no doubt about the fact that teaching and learning takes place every single moment with children. But allotting a certain amount of time to reading or doing math, develops a good habit which stays with the child in the long run.
Present new information
I need not tell you that children tend to get bored very easily. You must have noticed how fast you toddler looses interest in a particular toy. Mundane but new objects excite children. You have discussed fruits today, how about trying vegetables. Do not wait for your child to know each fruit before you proceed to the next topic.
Involve the entire family
Father, grand father, grand mother every member of the family must teach the child. This will make study time an opportunity for the child to bond with other members of the family.
Choose an appropriate place and ambience
A place that is too noisy or too dark or too hot would not be suitable for teaching. Choose a cool, well lit place with minimum or no distractions. Children have a tendency to get distracted very quickly, don’t blame them for not paying attention instead choose a perfect place.
Feed their imagination
Children have an amazing power of imagination. As a parent you must enhance the ability of your child to imagine and visualize. Learning is amplifies when a child is able to visualize what is being taught. Be a story teller. For example, create a story like, once upon a time there lived an elephant into he jungle, mamma went to visit the elephant because he was ailing. She took some fruits like apple, mango, cherry and bananas along. The elephant saw the round red cherry and made funny face and soo on.
Make learning fun
No matter how many times you have heard this before I will say it yet again. Think of fun ways of teaching instead of simply providing information and expecting your child to memorize. Use a chalk and slate for writing, play hopscotch to learn numbers, play sankes and ladders to learn counting, sing spelling, dance to the tunes of rhymes. There is no limit to creativity when it comes to teaching.
One of my favorite teacher who taught me to teach said don’t blame the child for looking at the tree outside the classroom. Instead if the tree excited the child, get it inside the classroom and incorporate it in your teaching.
I always thought, it depends on the teacher. She had to be so interesting that the child would never look at the tree outside.
Your child is a power house of curiosity, enthusiasm and understanding. If you foster healthy study habits at a young age, they are definite to accompany your children throughout their lives.
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