Find Teachable Moments in Your Daily Routine
When you think about all the things your children need to learn during their formative years—from ABCs to multiplication tables and so much more—it’s downright dizzying. Couple that with the ultra-hectic schedule that most working parents keep, and the prospect of finding time to teach your kids anything other than how to ‘hurry up’ becomes almost unimaginable.
However, from the time your child wakes up until the time she goes to sleep at night, there are countless opportunities for learning and growing. Here are a few examples of “teachable moments” you can employ throughout the day:
The commute. Many parents spend a good chunk of time each day in our cars, commuting to and from work or school. Rather than zone out listening to the radio, it’s the perfect time to engage your children in a fun but enriching activity. Make up silly rhymes, ask your child to count all the cars painted her favorite color, or even listen to an audio story and talk about it together afterwards.
Preparing for dinnertime. When you’re making dinner at home, teachable moments are endless. A preschooler can practice the ability to follow directions while playing assistant chef and helping to locate the ingredients you need. Older children can work on comprehension skills by reading and following directions for recipes, or using math skills to measure out proper amounts of ingredients, particularly when you halve or double the recipe.
Walking the dog. A dog provides the perfect excuse to take a walk with your child and, along the way, show her what’s going on in the world around you. Talk about the changes that take place during the seasons, and the evidence of that transformation in your surroundings. Ask older children to evaluate the environment and make an educated guess as to whether you’re experiencing a drought or an excess of precipitation, and explain why. Weather patterns and the ecosystem provide great lessons, just a few steps out your front door.
Whatever your daily routine, you can teach your children something new no matter how much (or little) time you have. Some of the best learning happens without your child even knowing you’re teaching them!