Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kids Need Teachers - And You Can Be One Of Them!

Teaching kids is a big part of parenting.  Parents teach their kids to feed themselves, dress themselves, and use the potty, among other things.  Kids have so much to learn.  If you're a parent or childcare provider, teaching is part of your job.

Most parents know that it's their job to teach kids the basics of self-care and some social skills.  Many even understand that they can and should teach their kids shapes, colors, letters, and counting skills.  But did you know that you, as a parent, can significantly contribute to your child's academic education?

You don't have to be a certified teacher to give your kids a love of books and reading.  You don't have to be a mathematician to teach your four or five-year-old to add and subtract with Cheerios.  You, as a parent, have the power and ability to instill a love of learning in your children from a very young age and to continue to encourage and support that learning throughout their lives.  

When you have time with your kids, use part of that time to teach them.  I'm not suggesting that you make them sit at a desk and give them worksheets to complete, although there are a few kids who enjoy that sort of teaching.  I am encouraging you to have a look at the world around you, consider your child's interests and abilities, and find ways to teach them something they didn't know before.  

It could be as simple as taking your kids for a walk outside and collecting leaves or rocks to examine.  Or looking up information about butterflies on the internet.  Or running sprints across the lawn and timing each other with a stopwatch.  Or teaching your child how to measure the flour for a batch of cookies.  Or figuring out how much of your child's allowance will be left after he or she buys a new toy.  Or looking at your child's schoolwork, finding out what he or she is learning in various subjects, and coming up with ways to add to that learning at home.  

Don't depend solely on schoolteachers for your child's education.  Schoolteachers are important and most of them do an excellent job.  However, they need you, the parent, to support their efforts.  Kids can't learn everything they need to succeed academically and relationally during their time at school.  They need parents who will show them that learning isn't just part of school; it's part of life.

Thought for the day:
Kids need teachers.  I don't have to be a certified teacher to teach my kids.  How can I be a teacher in the life of my child?  How can I encourage academic learning in my child?  What are some small ways I can add to my child's knowledge of the world?

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