Teaching Moments in Everyday Life
May 16, 2011 ~
The African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child” empowers everyone in the community to take part in helping children learn and grow into well-rounded adults. Following are three simple ways your child can learn from siblings, neighbors, friends and family members. You are your child’s first teacher, however, so be open to exposing your child to new ideas, and viewpoints as well as different ways of learning.
Make Communication Important People learn in many ways, but at a basic level it all comes down to people communicating with one another, sharing ideas and thoughts, and then learning from one another. When your child is comfortable communicating, it is more likely that he or she will learn something from people other than teachers in his or her life. If you have a shy or reserved child, remember that shyness is a personality trait, not a fault. However, it is important that your child learn how to communicate effectively. Try building his or her communication confidence by encouraging him or her to speak up around people he or she is familiar with, such as your friends at a dinner party or the local cashier at the grocery store. These little confidence-builders can go a long way toward making your child feel comfortable when communicating in public. Whatever you do, make communication important and lead by example. Your initiative will make your child more comfortable conversing with others.
Encourage Siblings, Grandparents or Relatives to Share It may be that your home has more than one child or includes several generations living together. If so, older children may have lessons and advice that they can share with younger ones. It may seem obvious that older children would readily share experiences or challenges with younger children, but this may not be the case. Talk with your younger child and explain to him or her that it’s okay to ask his or her older brother or sister or grandparent for advice if he or she is having a problem with something. If you only have one child, you can have him or her talk with an older cousin or relative for advice. Let your child know how important it is to talk to people who have lived through the things that he or she is currently experiencing in order to gain new perspective on how he or she can better deal with them. Learning from people of different ages and backgrounds will also help your child gain respect, appreciation and stronger bonds with family members.
Reveal the World as a Classroom You’ve heard the words “you learn something new every day,” and your child probably has too. In a child’s mind, this phrase usually is associated with the classroom, but if you can reveal other learning resources outside of the classroom, this phrase can take on a whole new meaning. Your child can learn from neighbors, friends, bus drivers and relatives just like he or she can learn from teachers. The next time your child comes home from a friend’s house and shares with you something he or she has learned, explain how he or she just got a little smarter and learned something new without sitting at a desk or reading a textbook.
Parents know that the world is full of chances to learn and grow each day; this knowledge comes with age and maturity. Instill in your child the value of learning something new daily and teach him or her that learning extends beyond the walls of the classroom. As your child shares and communicates more with the villagers in your community, he or she will see how much knowledge the village holds and will start making withdrawals from its knowledge bank.