Guest Post by Ken Myers:
Prior to children turning into teenagers and then knowing “everything,” they like to come home and relay something they learned in school to the parents. At this point, it is your reaction to the information that can change the way your child views future educational material. You may not realize it now, but your interactions can alter the fabric of your child’s experiences. In what ways can his or her views of education change from your input?
1. Trusting the Source – When your child comes to you with a new fact that he or she learned in school, it can be exciting for the child. It is a new piece of information that the child has found engaging and he or she just can’t wait to relay it to you. If you believe the material to be false, don’t verbalize the error and tell your child that his or her teacher is wrong. This can undermine the trust that the teacher is trying to build and your child could look at the person with disrespect. You want your children to trust the teachers. Take your problems directly to the teacher and discuss it with them, not your child.
2. Dismissal – In your busy lifestyle, it is easy to dismiss comments made to you by anyone. Although you may not intend to be rude, it is easier to give a nod or short default comment such as, “that’s nice” in order to keep your attention on what you’re trying to accomplish. From this action, your child’s excitement about learning a new subject can diminish rapidly. Since you didn’t give your undivided attention, he or she could assume that the material is not worth your time. This can be a bad habit to form as the child could slowly start to see a variety of material that isn’t worth the time to learn.
3. Laughter – Keep in mind that your child is learning new material on a regular basis. He or she doesn’t have the experience you do as most topics are new. Don’t poke fun at your child for stating facts that are obvious to you. This can make the child feel embarrassed for absolutely no reason. This could drive your child away if he or she believes you will embarrass them if they speak to you. Join in his or her enthusiasm for it is a new piece of information that the child has never had before. Have them explain as much of the material to you as they can remember. It can help them retain the information while giving them the sense of accomplishment.
4. Engaging Conversation – Have an in-depth conversation with your children pertaining to the new material. Let them show you how much they have learned and let them feel proud about being able to relay the content to you. If you keep the conversation energized and engaged, your children could want to learn more just so that they can converse with you later about the material.
As a parent, you influence a great deal of your child’s life without putting much effort into doing so. You are the child’s first experience to what life is about as they mature. You have the power in your hands to help them enjoy life and everything it has to offer, or fill them with feelings of self-doubt lowering his or her self-esteem. Interact with your child and keep them excited about learning.
Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.