Parents, there has never been a better opportunity than now to engage with your kids! Some people say that it is a perfect opportunity for some homeschooling, but I say no to that! You don’t want to do what the school does. Don’t repeat the actions of the school in your house! The school has an important role in your child’s development, but it teaches in batches of 30 kids, and with specialised teachers. You have an intimate environment that is a completely different context for your child. There are amazing things that children learn at school, but at home, they learn different things.
From the moment they are born, your kids begin learning from you how to be human. How to communicate, feel, play, interact, react, learn, eat, speak, walk, and treat other humans. The home is where the magic happens. The home is where the base is built, upon which their lives are constructed! The home has to be the safest and happiest place for a child. I see the consequences of homes that aren’t happy and safe, and none of those children enter the big wild world unscathed.
Is it nature or nurture? I say that it is both, but in every child, it will be a different ratio. What I can say for certain is that your child has innate capacities, but the degree to which your child can really thrive in this world is not a question of these capacities. It is a question of the opportunities!
By the way, love is not an opportunity. It is the most important and fundamental necessity in every child’s life. I also don’t mean opportunities like access to good food and a healthy living space, although these do contribute. I mean opportunities to learn from you! You are the number one teacher in the life of your child and if you can support your child in finding what interests them, help them engage in the process of imagination and creation, and assist them in finding different ways looking at the world, then your child will bloom like a flower in spring!
And how do all of this? Through playing with them. Not that difficult after all!
Right now, is the time to connect one-on-one with each of your kids. Forget school work, they have their whole lives to study! Maybe you have several kids but I’m going to talk about your kids as individuals! You don’t want your kid to be the same as the other 29 kids in the class at school. You want them to be different. The vital ingredient to your child flourishing as a unique individual is the confidence that they have being themselves!
You have your child standing in front of you. What do you want to do with them? You want to support your child as being confident in their own skin! Why confidence? Because there is nothing more limiting in this world than a lack of it! You want to support your child in finding the stuff that gets them excited. Ask them what they want to do and then get stuck into it with them. You know your child better than anybody else. Observe your child and have a look at the states that they go through when engaging in certain activities.
What are the activities that light up your child’s face? When is the moment that they are 100% “in it”? That’s when you can be the best teacher in the world. ‘Sometimes’ all you have to do is stand back and watch. Other times it happens when you are interacting with them! Look for the moment when you see a change in them and follow that thread. See where it takes you.
What you have to understand is that it is just as much of a learning process for you as it is for your child. You are learning how to best feed your child’s interests. Don’t be afraid to try things. Interact a little more, or a little less. Say more and act less or act more and say less. But all the while, look for the twinkle in your child’s eye and that’s when you know you are moving in the right direction! Become the playmate of your child, enter into their world of make-believe. Then you can support your child in making their own story. Their own movie. Their own worlds. Their own characters.
It depends on the age of your child and their ability to create their own worlds. When they are younger, they usually have no problem creating the whole blockbuster with characters, scenarios, contexts, and problems to resolve. When they are a little older maybe the play is more practical so your interaction can be based on asking open questions so that the child has to think, imagine, or look at things from a different perspective. You are a guide so don’t show them where to go. Let them choose their own path and walk beside them!
If you can show your child that you support them in the interests, no matter how weird and wacky, then you are helping build their confidence in not only themselves but more importantly, in being themselves. When you enter your child’s world with them, their world is validated, and they are liberated to spread their wings and fly. What is flying for your child? It is being the unique individual who has the confidence in who they are as a loved and valued human in this world!
Now go and play with your kids!
Wait! I want to leave you with a video that reflects the importance of your influence in your child’s life. You plant the seeds…