Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Power of Observation Is A Key To Kids' Success

Does the thought of helping your children with their homework at night feel like you are requesting to have your fingernails pulled out?

My mom hated to help me with my homework. I was normally ushered to my room and told between complaints that I hadn't cleaned and done my chores properly, to "Give it another try".

Just the sheer excuse to avoid further critique of my dusting and vacuuming skills was enough for me to run to my room, and not come out for days.

To me homework was a way to escape and avoid confrontation...not the ideal version I want my kids to associate it with.

Thankfully, I have come to regard "homework" as life lessons at a micro level.

I make opportunities for my kids to see me read and enjoy learning new things. If my kids want to "see" what I am doing at the computer or while I am lounged with a book, article, etc in hand I try to remember to welcome them up into my lap to share it with them. Describe to them what I am doing/reading and then asking what they think. Sometimes we make up our own stories from that, sometimes my daughter runs to her work table to assemble a "book" and write herself, or sometimes the result is just sitting for a bit and snuggling (usually the last is my favorite!).

We have had moments of pure joy, affection, and learning moments together. Although my youngest still doesn't know how to read, he loves helping type and hearing about what I am reading about or doing.

Normally for him it doesn't last more than 6 minutes until he is ready to switch gears and run off to play golf, chase, bounce on his ball, or play his ukulele. But the moments we share in that 6 minutes to me are priceless.

We bond and I get to share with him one of my passions. In turn I'll notice him grab some of his books and head for his chair to "read" or pull out one of his activity books to practice.

I have always loved to work with my hands and create special gifts. One of the greatest gifts I have been given is when my kids want to do the same thing. Many people will comment to my daughter... "You are such the artist, just like your mom."

My daughter beams with pride. I know though, it isn't so much genetics as it is she has taken the time and opportunity to watch me do those same things and has mimicked me.

I do my best to allow her to participate when I can. If I am working on a piece for someone and she can't contribute on my work, I will give her something similar to try it out for herself.

I have been asked... "doesn't that get expensive?" The answer is yes if i were just considering the monetary value but a whole heartily "no" considering I am sharing my love with her and we are creating a cherished learning lesson and memory together.

Best wishes to you this holiday season. My hope is you will experience many moments of love, appreciation, joy, and opportunities of "learning life lessons"!