Families Blog :
Parents as a child’s first teacher
You may not have the degree on the wall, or the HECs bill to prove it, but guess what? You are actually your child’s first (and most important) teacher! Yes, I’m looking at you! Children are parrots; they mimic our words and phrases, our mannerisms and behaviours, even our intonation. Without realising it, you have been playing the role of teacher for years before they’ve stepped foot in a classroom.
So how do we make our role of teacher, one we often take on without a second thought, count? As imperfect humans ourselves, how do we ‘get it right’ for the next generation? We reckon the best place to start is being real. Admitting you don’t know the answer to a curly question and demonstrating to your child how to find the answer—what an incredible learning moment! Or if you’re feeling emotionally drained and overwhelmed, instead of hiding your emotions and continuing on with the day, imagine if you stopped, explained that the ‘big feelings’ were getting a bit much, and did a simple mindfulness activity together.
So how do we make the most of incidental learning opportunities when we’re juggling the everyday shenanigans?
Get your kids involved with what you’re doing
Doing some cooking? Get the kids involved and see how many opportunities there are to stretch their maths brains. And we all know before the cooking comes the shopping—another great way to develop literacy and numeracy skills! For teens, this is a great opportunity to start to learn those real-life skills (think budgeting and planning) they’ll need once they’ve flown the nest.
Get your tribe involved
You and your kids are surrounded by teachers—we often call them grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, and neighbours—also known as your tribe. Chances are they’ve got some pretty wicked skills between them. Maybe someone can help with teaching your kids some yoga if you’re not so coordinated, or another can share their stories of days gone by! Lean on those around you (and their skills!) and you’ll be amazed at what your kids will learn! Hey, you might learn something along the way too!
Keep it simple
We’ve all heard the story of the fancy toy at Christmas being pushed aside for the empty cardboard box. It’s often the simple things that capture children’s attention. Why? Because they allow young minds to use their never-ending imaginations to create. Open-ended items are great too: think about some of the goodies that you toss into the recycling bin. Bottles = musical instruments (we apologise in advance for the noise!), cereal boxes = puppets waiting for an audience, glass jars = terrarium houses. Challenge your children to come up with some ideas too.
The take-away message: keep it simple and enjoy your time together 😊