Good parenting is more than protecting your children and offering opportunities. It is about teaching your child how to learn and explore for themselves. This post will focus on ways to incorporate self-learning and independence among our children.
Munchkin is almost 5 years old now and she is turning into such a little lady. When she comes to me with a question, I can usually answer it. There came a point last year when I asked myself “Does it help my daughter to simply give her answers?” This lead me down a philosophical path of discovery and family appreciation. I love being my little girl’s ‘Daddy Genius’, but it is time to let her discover answers on her own.
Therefore when your child comes to you with a question you believe they are able to figure out themselves. Here are 3 ways to help them down the path of self discovery:
1. Ask the Same Question
Now only should you ask “What do you think?”, you should also include follow up questions to guide you children to the correct answer. Here is a great example from the other day:
Munchkin: Daddy, why does our garden grow? (such a sweet question, I know)
Daddy (me): I love seeing our garden grow, why do you think it grows?
M: Because the plants want to reach the sky!
Daddy: I am sure the plants want to grow, but do you know what we give them to grow?
Daddy: Right-o. Now what happened to our basil plant that we planted in the plastic bag (school experiment)?
M: We put it in the mud!
Daddy: Exactly, now why did we do that?
M: So it could grow taller!
You get the idea! Don’t just answer questions, explore them!
2. Draw the Answer
This is often easier said than done. But I usually ask Munchkin to draw what she thinks the right answer is when asking about some kind of physical object. The other day she asked me where birds go in the winter and I loved her little drawing. It included a bed, TV and a monster truck!
We eventually starting drawing snow and cold weather and drew the birds on a tropical island with sunglasses. It is not 100% correct obviously, but it is a start to a very complicated scientific question of migration.
Prompting your child to draw his or her version of something not only helps them explore the issue for themselves, but it enables the parent to see (sometimes) where their little minds are at.
3. Do an Experiment
When Munchkin asked me how to do something. I usually ask her how she wants to do it. This trial and error technique is a fun way to learn the proper ways to accomplish tasks.
A great example of this is when she wanted to dress herself for the first time. She wanted to wear her shirt for pants and we did an experiment about trying to put her shirt on through her legs. She eventually figured it out (and man did it look hilarious), but she couldn’t walk very well. She finally said “Daddy, you can’t wear shirts as pants!” and that was music to my ears.
You can use this technique for anything from eating food, to putting away toys. It will help stimulate innovation and creativity when the child tries to figure out the problems for themselves.
Image Source: http://chic-type.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/trial_and_error.jpg