Every day in every way you are teaching your child. You may not know that you are doing this, you may not be aware you are doing it, but you are!
Every time your child sees you doing something, anything, you are showing your child that what you are doing is important.
Every time your child hears you speak, whether you are talking directly to your child or not, he or she is learning something from you.
Scary isn’t it?
After being a teacher for over thirty-five years I understand the important role you play in helping your child learn. Your role is much more important than that of any teacher!
Teachers teach the ‘stuff’ of education. They teach Math, Science, History and then, if they have time and if they know what to do, the might try to find ways to help your child learn.
You, the parent, may not know much about the ‘stuff’ of education but that does not mean you don’t have a role to play in helping your child learn.
You are your child’s first and most important teacher. Your child learns more from you than from any other person. Whether you like it or not you are your child’s most important role model. You are the person your child wants to be like. OK, teenagers might not agree with this but that is because they are busy trying to find out who they are and who they want to be. It is a big, exhausting task and, as a result, they often start by rejecting everything they have learned so far.
On a personal note, it was difficult for me, a career educator, to acknowledge that parents are a bigger influence on a child’s learning than I could be. But the more I work with families the more I accept and embrace this fact.
Not only are you your child’s first and most important teacher you also have a very special role to play in helping your child learn. This is a role that only you can play, no one else can do what you can do.
Even more scary, right?
What is this role, a role that is so vital to your child’s success in school and in life, a role that helps determine your child’s future?
Your role is the set the scene for learning, to get your child ready to benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of all the teachers your child will meet during their lifetime. Setting the scene for learning means helping your child develop a set of foundational skills that he needs to be able to learn.
Imagine trying to drive car without knowing what side of the road to drive on, or how to brake! You need to know these vital skills before you learn how to move a car safely along a road.
It is the same with your child. He or she needs a set of foundational skills that lead to learning. And you are the only person who can help your child develop them.
The good news is that you are probably fulfilling this role right now even though you might not be aware that you are doing it. You are probably helping your child develop all the foundational learning skills that he or she needs to become a good learner.
The bad news is that until you are aware of what you are doing and how it affects your child’s ability to learn and succeed I school and in life you may be missing one or more important ways that you can set the scene for learning.
Most children who underachieve in school are not lazy or stupid or not trying, they are merely missing one or more of the vital skills that lead to learning. They haven’t developed all the skills they need to reach their full learning potential.
Without knowing it, you haven’t fully set the scene for learning!
Here is what you can do to avoid this situation. There are two parts to your role. If you have done the first one correctly – and don’t worry very few parents do! – you won’t need the second part. But you might want to check it out anyway.
The first step in setting the scene for learning is to be aware of what you are teaching your child now.
Your child loves you and wants to be like you. He or she will watch and listen to all you do and try to do the same. (As I mentioned earlier this does not apply to teenagers. If you have a teenager go straight to step 2!).
You are your child’s role model. You are modelling behaviour that your child will follow. And your child is a poor judge of what is good or bad behaviour. He or she will try to do exactly what you do.
You may have heard of the saying ‘Do what I say not what I do!’. Parents say this to their children this when they know they have done something they do not want their child to copy. The problem is it doesn’t work. Telling your child what to do is nowhere near as powerful as showing your child what to do.
So how do you handle this situation? You are not perfect and you shouldn’t try to be. You will be modelling both good and bad behaviour to your child no matter how hard you try to be positive about all this.
Not to worry. As long as you model more good behaviours than bad ones your child will turn out OK.
So – how do you model good behaviours that lead to learning? Try these ideas.
- Let your child see you reading, and enjoying doing it.
- Let your child see you learning something – and making mistakes as you learn
- Let your child see you acknowledge and handle your mistakes and learn from them
- Take an interest in your child’s schooling. See schooling as a good thing, something to be enjoyed
- Talk to your child’s teacher. Collaboration is the key to success
- Talk about people you admire and about why you admire them.
- Eat well and get plenty of sleep. I know, but it matters. Think of the airline admonition to help yourself before you help others.
But mostly just be aware that whatever you do your child is learning from you. All the time. Without stopping. Forever. Whether you want them to or not. Good or bad.
Good luck. You can do this!
Step 2 is for those parents who are concerned about their child’s learning and wonder if their child has developed all the foundational skills needed to make learning easy.
(Or for any parent who wants to know more about their child’s learning abilities!)
Check out the programs on offer through my site – www.leadingtolearning.com. There you can discover how to help your bright underachieving child grow and blossom.
Each of the courses includes a unique tailor-made diagnostic assessment that pinpoints exactly what foundational learning skills your child is missing so that I can offer proven practical advice on how you can lead your child to learning.
Seriously, you can check out my programs, contact me if you want information and advice about which one to choose and we can set your child on their path to success. Guaranteed!
If you are not ready to take that step at least sign up for my free newsletter full of tips and advice on how to support your child’s education.
Your child needs you. Your child needs you NOW!