choices we make can have an impact on the lives of our children.
Do we choose to take the time to connect or do we rush from one thing to another? Do we choose to stop and answer a question or do we say 'I don't know'?
Imagine to yourself if you took the time to answer every question your child asked you, and if you didn't know the answer or couldn't answer it at that particular moment, you said 'Hey, what a great question, let's find out'.
Just think how much our children's knowledge of the world would grow. Not only that, but what we as parents would also learn.
Do we say to our inquisitive 3 year old, 'Look at the birdie'? To which they reply, 'What's it's name?'. Here is where we have a choice. Do we take the lazy option and say 'I don't know' or do we evoke interest in our child's natural curiosity?
I say take the latter. I would say 'Wow, look at that bird...what do you think it is? I haven't seen one of those before, lets find out what it's name is'.
Connecting together to find the answer, either in a book or on the computer or at the local library. This could be extended into other areas of development, like creative arts, drawing or painting the bird. All of these activities reinforce our children's natural interests and learning experience.
I have listened to parents whose 'mantra' is 'I don't know'. How do we expect our children to learn new things when the people they want to learn most from, will not even make the effort to find out an answer with them!!!
Over the years of natural learning with our children, we have learnt so much. I would have never imagined having such a knowledge of dinosaurs, marine creatures or even native Australian birds. Yet through our children's natural inquisitiveness, these are some of the topics we have researched and learnt together.
At the heart of natural learning is the parent answering their children's questions and modelling ways of finding out the answers we may not know, and there are LOTS of questions I cannot answer initially. Even so, I try not to say 'I don't know', I say 'Let's find out' or 'What a great question, we will need to research that' etc. Children lead the learning experience and we as parents are there to facilitate.
Some parents and children are suprised by just how much our children know about different topics, but really it just comes down to answering their questions and taking an interest in what they want to learn and not telling them what they have to learn.
John Holt, in his book How Children Learn, reminds us, that we need to TRUST CHILDREN, to know when they are ready to learn and what they are interested in learning.
So, regardless of your choice in educating your children, as parents we have so many opportunites to expand our children's interest in the world around them, just by taking the time to answer their questions.