Telling versus teaching
By now most parents have learned how to homeschool, even if only a little. We want to make sure our children are getting as much knowledge as we can put into their little heads. So what is the difference between teaching a child versus telling them something? The difference is engagement!
When you think you should tell your child that they should make their bed in the morning when they wake up, that is fine, but not always heeded without a warning or consequence. Instead teach them why they should do it? Talk to them and ask them why it would be better to make the bed rather than leave it a mess all day. Maybe neither of you have a good answer, well then brainstorm a list of pros and cons! A pro might be that dust can’t settle on the sheets where you lay your body. A con might be that you just make it a mess again so why bother? There are pros and cons to everything!
Disclaimer: I am not trying to say that we should reason with our children and allow them to decide what does or does not get done. On the contrary, you are teaching them why you are requiring it! That makes a difference. For example, If I tell little Bobby to rinse his plate before putting it in the dishwasher, he’ll do it a few times and then that might peter off. If you teach them why they should do it, it might make more of an impact. Dirty dishes grow bacteria faster. Old food particles mold. Ants eat left over crumbs, even in the dishwasher!
Here are a few other examples of things that are pretty common:
Turn off the TV when you aren’t watching it! versus Do you understand why you should turn off the TV when you aren’t watching? Maybe they have a good idea of it, but by having the conversation you are helping to strengthen their knowledge and memory and also validating their ideas.
Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, even at home! versus Do you understand why you should always wash your hands after using the bathroom, even at home where the bathroom looks clean?
Clean up the toys on your floor! versus Do you think you can come up with a few reasons why leaving toys on the floor might be dangerous?
Sometimes turning something into a discussion or having the child explain it to you, seems less threatening or punishing, which will then help the child to retain the information better. Just think, if you are in a lot of trouble and someone is yelling at you to do this and get that done….blah, blah, blah….How much are you going to remember? Probably only how loud they yelled or why you got in trouble in the first place!
It is okay to let children know they can talk about your decisions even if the conversation DOESN’T change anything!!!!!!!