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Helping Children Grow

April 19, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Blog, General

Cherry Tree Blooming I love Spring in the Northwest. After months of gray skies, torrential rain, hail, freezing winds, and snow, cherry trees start blooming. Its hard to capture the beauty of the blooming trees. You are driving along, surrounded by evergreens and trees bare of leaves and then you are astounded by a vibrant tree covered in showy, bright pink flowers. Its almost as if a cosmic artist reaches down from the sky one morning with pink, fuchsia, and purple brushes and says, “Today, this tree will burst with color.”

Children are like that. Some bloom vibrant and showy. We know exactly where they are in their life journey. They always tell us what they want, need and desire. They usually love and are good at reading, math, sports, or music. Other children take much longer to bloom. As parents, we might get discouraged. We’re not sure how to help them bloom. They may not be crazy about reading, math, sports or music. All school work is a chore. Getting them to sit still to read one book is practically impossible. They seem to jump from one thing to another.

As parents, one of the most important things we can do is empower our children to discover what they love and are good at. We also need to help them recognize and deal with the inevitable frustrations and plateau times that come when they learn a new skill that does not come easily.

TIPS FOR HELPING CHILDREN BLOOM

1) Show them different gardens

Children see the world we show them until they are old enough to move around for themselves. Give your children the gift of seeing how wide and different the world is. Take them to the zoo, the science museum, the candy factory, the ocean, the river, the forest, the history museum, the desert, the library, the art museum, the symphony, the flea market, the fish market, the local bakery. Walk different neighborhoods in your city. Talk about the different nationalities of people that live there. Take them to different grocery stores and let them experience how a Japanese grocery store is not the same as a Walmart. These are all different gardens in our world. Some of them your child will love. Others will only require a short visit before you realize your child is not interested. Take pictures of your adventures to help your child remember what they liked and what they didn’t like.

Helping Kids Learn About Themselves2) Show them different gardeners

Introducing our children to the fact that individuals have an infinite number of differences is an incredible gift. Allowing them to experience people outside of their immediate family who are gregarious or shy, athletic or artistic, competitive or easy-going, technical or mechanical, verbose or taciturn, gives them different pictures of how people can be. While interacting with a variety of personalities, temperaments and intelligences, children realize everyone has a place of importance. In discovering this, they become more confident in their own skin.

Children at Science Museum
3) Allow them to experience different ways of learning

As parents, we are our child’s first teacher. Parents are also our child’s most enduring teacher. We will be with our child through millions of moments of learning throughout their lives. As parents we can empower our children by helping them experience different ways of learning and to identify their particular learning style. Some children learn best verbally. Others learn visually by seeing something. Still others learn best by using their bodies to learn new skills. How can you discover your child’s learning style? When helping them learn to read, pay attention to whether they like singing songs and rhymes, or picking out words and letters in their surroundings. Have them make letter shapes with their body, or shape them out of playdoh. Do they prefer telling you a story, drawing a picture of it, or acting it out? Encourage them to try all of these ways of telling a story and see which ones they are most comfortable with. Check out our special spring offer for Michelle’s book and CD, “What Children Need to Learn to Read” for more ideas on reading activities that use different learning styles. When helping them learn to count, try using blocks for counting, or having them jump a certain number of times, or draw you a picture of a certain number of things. Try different board games to expose them to spatial, logic, sequencing and counting activities. For ideas, check out some of my favorites at Learnerslane.com

The miracle of children is that they are so open to learning. Some children might be shy and tentative. However, their love of learning something new and mastering a new skill will overcome any uncertainty, if they are given a garden of openness, encouragement and patience. They will rise to any opportunity we give them to explore new gardens in life if we give them the tools to bloom in their unique way. Start discovering new gardens today!

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