That’s all you get.
That’s how many weeks it is from birth to age 18.
That’s how many weeks you get to prepare your child to take on the world.
It’s not a lot is it?
Especially when you think about how many have gone already.
turn teachable moments into learning opportunities
Life provides a constant stream of experiences and opportunities that parents can use to help their children learn.
The problem is, we’re often so wrapped up in doing ‘stuff’ that we miss these ‘teachable moments’.
Not only that, but how do you use these moments to best effect?
During our 2-year stint homeschooling the twins, we were keen to maximise our efforts, so we developed a sequence of questions that allowed us to turn almost any experience into a learning one.
By having an easily remembered set process, you can use every situation to your (and their) advantage. And the great thing is, your child is using their own experiences to learn which is much more powerful than you giving them the ‘lesson’.
So, whether it’s a film they have just seen, an incident at school, or a family situation, there is a learning experience for your kids in there somewhere.
The sequence of questions below will help you to find it:
the theory behind the questions
The rationale behind each question is:
Q1: What was positive about that?
This helps them to frame their experience in a positive light or look for positives in what may be a difficult experience.
No matter how disastrous the situation, there is always a positive to be gleaned, this question helps your child to recognise it.
A positive attitude is an important characteristic to possess if you want to be resilient.
Q2: What did you learn?
This question means that they have to frame the situation as a learning experience.
This helps them to see that all life experience is an opportunity to learn, and having framed the situation in a positive way (Q1), your child is more likely to elicit a positive learning experience.
Q3: How would you do it better next time?
This teaches kids that things aren’t set in stone and that any outcome can be altered by a change in strategy, thought or action- the very essence of growth mondset.
We found that this really frees the kids up from the fear of getting small stuff wrong. Plus, it challenges them to think creatively and to look for solutions, perfect traits of resilience.
(If the situation didn’t involve them you could ask ‘How could it be done better next time?’ or ‘If it were you in that situation how would you do it better?’)
Q4: How could you use that in your life?
Now we are asking them to translate their thoughts into a real-life situation.
This encourages creative thinking and gives them their own blueprint for future possible actions.
It takes something conceptual i.e. a thought and gives it life, it’s still a thought, but now the kids have primed themselves for future action in the real-world.
Q5: How will this solution help you?
The final question is intended to attach positive feelings towards this new course of action.
It helps them recognise at a conscious and unconscious level, the benefits of this action, which will make them more likely to take the action.
when to use them
The questions work best if asked in your own conversational style, we don’t always ask them and we don’t always ask all five, we go with what we feel to be most appropriate.
The most important thing is to have the framework in mind, ready to use as and when the opportunities arise.
For a free printable of our 5 questions click here.
want more ideas like this?
This is the second part in a series of posts about how you can teach your kids to be resilient- read the 1st post here.
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07 Apr 2017 - experiment