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In the January edition of Paramayu, we discussed the three aspects of teaching your children to believe in themselves. In this edition, let us take a look how you can help your child to explore the worlds around them and be confident and successful citizens when they grow up.
When infants begin to put their hands on everything in sight, parents respond by telling them, “Don’t touch.” When children get older and start asking “too many questions”, they are instructed to “keep quiet”. In most schools, the scenario is not much better; students are packed inside classrooms and forced to memorise countless volumes of unrelated information, for the sole purpose of passing exams.
Education must encourage student’s interests, opinions, and life skills. It must enable them to cultivate passion and unique abilities. For it is only when they have competence in an area of work, they are enthusiastic about it as well, will live on to lead a life with gusto and achieve something extraordinary.
Parents are usually afraid of letting their children out of sight because they fear that their children will get hurt. But, it is important for parents to realize that it is not possible to protect the child from every bit of danger that he or she could possibly confront in life.
So, instead of being overprotective, it’d be better to allow children the right amount of freedom to explore the world without worrying about their safety since children automatically develop a balanced sense of caution. Here a few pointers that will help you encourage your child to explore better.
Making mistakes is a part of the learning process. If your child is making mistakes, they are not learning. Avoid scolding or punishing children for making errors, especially when they are related to exploring their worlds. If your son is trying to do a trick on his bicycle and has a crash, instead of yelling at him for being careless, ask him instead what he was trying to do, how could he have avoided it – and what he learned in the process. If you merely scold him, he will continue to do crazy things on his bike, but he will just hide them from you.
In the process of exploring their worlds, children will sometimes wind up saying what seems like the dumbest things. You need to recognise their comments as an attempt of their developing brains to make sense of their world in the best way that they know how. Take this as an opportunity to help them clear their misunderstandings.
When they come out with something amiss, avoid discouraging or insulting them because that can make them feel guilty for their lack of understanding, and inadvertently erode their self-confidence – even, suppressing their desire to learn. When children don’t understand something, it means they have not had enough exposure to that concept. Instead of criticising them, ask them questions about what they have understood so you can provide more accurate perspectives or additional information that will clear up the misconceptions.
Do not hide behind your ego if your child asks a question and you do not know the answer to it. Admit that you do not know by saying “you know, that’s a good question but I don’t know the answer.” In the process, they will learn that not knowing an answer does not make you dumb, and that smart people are those who turn a lack of knowledge into an opportunity to learn something new.
These days, kids are really smart. They are the ones adults turn to when they need help operating the TV, DVD player or the computer. Keep in mind, however, that while your kids might be far ahead of you in certain areas, you are still much more experienced than them in “life issues”. They lag far behind you in how to solve social problems and make effective life decisions. Your children desperately need your experience and wisdom to make meaning out of the barrage of information that overloads their minds daily.
The key to encourage your children to explore more is to make sure they are challenged. If kids find activity too easy, they will quickly lose interest. On the other hand, if the task is too difficult, they may become stressed out and give up. So, you need to play the role of a facilitator, constantly modifying your children’s activities so that they are just above their current ability level.
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