I was recently reminded of the power of incidental teaching with children, when I attended a parenting workshop. As parents we tend to look for ways and techniques on how to pass on information to children or how to explain a particular behaviour, rule or moral. Most time we get it right but in cases we do not, it becomes an issue and parent become suck on how to teach a particular behaviour to their child.
My 7 year old son suddenly got interested in mobile phones and started asking when he will be getting one. I thought to myself, 7? And you are already asking for a mobile phone. This is where the incidental teaching came into place, so I seized the moment. I explained to him to show he is responsible enough to get a phone. You may ask, how his he going to understand that? I explained to him that being responsible is about tidying up the room, putting school uniform and lunch bag in the right place when back from school, not losing books that are important for school, doing homework and school work at the right time.
What am I trying to say, incidental teaching is a way of getting children to carry out task that needs to be done, not by forcing but by trade by barter. Incidental teaching is child lead. The child comes to the parent/carer for something and the parent uses the opportunity to teach some behaviour to the child. Take the above example, how do you teach a child to be responsible? Using child related action and language is one of the way, which is why incidental teaching can be used as an opportunity to teach difficult behaviour that may be hard to explain to children. Incidental teaching can be used to teach children cleaning skills, toilet training, teeth brushing, numeracy and much more simple skills.
How can you make Incidental Teaching work?
•Ensure it is child lead.
•Make the learning process easy to understand by using examples the child will understand & can relate to.
•Let it be a discussion between parent & child. This will help the child fell his/her contribution is important.
•Remind the child of their part of the deal & stick to your part of the deal.
•it is short lived and a process that the child keep’s coming back to.
•Encourage the teaching process every time the child present the opportunity.
- Helping Children Resolve Conflicts (education.com)