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How To Make The Most of Teachable Moments

adorable animal blur

How are the conversations with your kiddos going?

I’m a little bit behind my goal. I had two ten minute conversations—really good ones—and the other was in bits and pieces throughout the week. I filled out one form, and it provided great opportunities for one of the conversations—it was a game-changer for my youngest. The other two forms are awaiting. I wish those were complete but, since we’re about focusing on the positives here, what went well with my conversations?

Since I’m into equations, I’ll give you one:

1:1 time + Kiddo-initiated conversation = Teachable Moment

Teachable moments arise when a student (or child) shows she or he wants to learn more about a concept, idea, or piece of information. They might show this by asking questions or simply listening attentively. Teachable moments are when we capitalize on a child’s interest to learn and grow. Seize that moment!

What makes teachable moments glorious in terms of parent/kid interaction? The kids actually listen to you. And maybe even say, “Oh, that makes sense.” Or smile. Or hug you. Or maybe, depending on the age of the child, simply don’t say, “Will you stop talking about that?” They don’t push back. In these moments, you probably feel connected to your kiddo in a way that stands out above the rest, and I bet your kiddo feels the same.

It’s tough to find such unplanned moments amidst the chaos of summer schedules, late nights playing outside, tree-fort-building, pretend-play setups and Fortnite battles (Are they battles? What do they do?). But it helps to be on the lookout for them. You may be approaching a Teachable Moment if the conversation or situation has to do with: 1) “What’s special about you?” or 2) “What are some goals you may have for yourself, independent of parental hopes and pressures?”

My intention is to help my children understand who they uniquely are and how to pursue interests based on that information. I have the goal, I pictured myself achieving it, I had an idea of what it took to get there. Then, this is key, I waited until the time was right and seized the moment! The focus and intention put into this process enabled me to achieve my goal in a meaningful way and not simply as a box-check. Now I feel closer to the process of helping them, and this positive feedback fuels my next steps. I can look backward and forward at my progress and see it following along a line toward my ultimate goal.

So maybe helping our kiddos achieve their goals starts with us having our own? Again with the “it starts with me?” Sheesh! Sometimes it frustrates me that helping them always seems to lead back to helping me first. What do they say, “In case of emergency put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others.” Maybe we have to have our own equations before we can help our kids solve theirs. This is my hard thing — helping them do hard things, not solving their problems.  So. Let’s continue on together!

Here’s my plan for the week:

  1. Continue with forms and conversations—the forms are more for record-keeping and reflection than anything, so if you’re following along don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make these amazing.
  2. Look for opportunities to set long-term goals for the school year. As you’ve read, these things take time. The more time we take to set the stage, the more we can help our kids realize this is about them—not us.
  3. Have fun!

For the rest of the month, I’ll continue to document the process of my goal-setting conversations with my own kiddos, and we’ll turn to celebrating the achievements of some of our Yellow Parachute students and families.

If you’d like to share a success story, we’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to our Communications Strategies and Writing Coach Carolyn to set up a conversation!

-Cara

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Sunday, 08 December 2019