Teachable Moments

Ever since I read about “Teachable Moments” I’ve believed they’re the easiest and most enjoyable way to teach a child anything. And grandparents, have more teachable moments with their grandchildren, than even their parents do, because they have the time and the desire to pass on snippets of information.

Grandparents like to take advantage of every opportunity to explain something to your grandchildren it might be an idea, how something works, why something is important, how we do things, and answer to a question, pointing out something interesting a new word, a new sensation, a new feeling.

A teachable moment arises out of an ordinary everyday activity or situation where you feel that there’s an opportunity to explain something. Unsurprisingly children love those moments. The setting is informal, it doesn’t feel like teaching, and best of all its piecemeal, which is how children learn anyway. It’s appealing to a chid because a teachable moment has it own logic. Here are some teachable moments that I’ve experienced with my children when they were growing up or even more recently with my grandchildren.

  • You’re “Gardening” together and you see a worm. You can talk about how worms aerate the soil and turn it over (as worm casts), and how a worm  has no eyes because it’s always in the dark.
  • You’re crossing a street with traffic lights. Hers’s a good opportunity to talk about the light sequence and how RED means STOP and Green means Go. Extend this to talking about how you should look left, then right, then left again, then cross.
  • It’s bath time, and as your grandchild gets into the bath the water rises, then when she stands up, the level drops. You explain why and you could mention Archimedes and “Eureka”. You explain how some things float and some things sink.
  • You use a word that might be difficult for a toddler or young child to understand, for instance, words such as recognize, reflection (in the mirror), camouflage and immediately explain what it means and give examples of how to use it.
  • Use every opportunity to explain a concept this is hard, but this is soft; a cat meows but a dog barks; birds fly and so do airplanes.

You are an expert as a grandparent, because of your experiences, the life you’ve led, and your range of interests and hobbies, you can stimulate your grandchild in a way that a parent can’t. Your grandchildren will learn very easily from you, and I’m sure that. like me, you will get huge satisfaction from the hours you spend playing and learning together.

You have a caring interest in him or her, which they can sense because it makes them feel special, the perfect setting for new games and skills. You have the time to play until your grandchildren get bored. You take obvious delight in their tiniest achievement and make them feel confident. Nothing is too much trouble for you so games can extend his concentration and foster his curiosity.

You are endlessly patient and show him how to try, try, try again until he succeeds, and then praise them. You love him them enough to let them fail on their way to their success’. Remember to let your children and grandchildren fail instead of trying to rescue them from failure all the time.

Take a moment and think about a time that you failed and turned that failure into a success. Would you have conquered it if your parents, teachers, mentors, or grandparents had rescued you out of it? I remember when my son was learning to ride a bike I can’t tell you how many times he fell down and we just ignored him and he got right back up on that bike and finally mastered riding it. Later in life when he learned to drive a motorcycle there was no room for failing.  He had to do it right the first time and he did.

I remember when I started playing baseball at first I couldn’t hit the ball and my teams mates were not happy about that. But I can tell you no one told the couch to rescue me or even how to handle it. All my mom said, was you’ll figure it out just pay more attention to the way you are holding the bat. I kept trying and then one day I hit a home run. It’s good thing too because girls didn’t play baseball back then. Enjoy all those teachable moments and let the kids learn to turn their failures into success’.

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