A child of mine worry’s about most things; about it being sunny when it’s meant to be dark or why the weather forecast indicates it should rain and it did not. When you observe any sad face or signs of worries on your child below are 5 statements/questions that can help:
- ‘Turn your frown upside down’.
- What are you thinking of?
- What will happen if what you are thinking does happen?
- Who told you it would happen?
- Why do you think it will then happen?
It should be said that children have different ways of processing, and some can do a better job at it than others. These steps may not be applicable or help all children that worry. The age and mental maturity of the child should also play a part in identifying how much support the child needs. As indicated, these are simple steps that can help with the everyday worrying child. The aim is for the child to learn how to talk, describe and analyse his/her feelings. For children with feelings and thoughts that need more structured support, it is essential to get the required professional assistance.
A text came from a parent at a point when I was questioning the support I gave to parents, whether solicited or not, was the right choice. I was reflective and having an inner battle within myself if parents found information shared useful. When conversations or discussion take place between parent and me, there is the nod of the head agreeing to what was discussed and a thank you here and there. However, this message was so different, why you ask?; because of the timing and the effort taken to write it out. Teachers, lecturers, councillors and educators tend not to request a display of appreciation. However, if parents feel the need to show appreciation to those that support or care for their child, it should be encouraged because that act might be what is needed to add that layer of confidence to the individual.
Appreciation is not just about praise and reward but also about acknowledging the contribution a person made to solve a problem. The act of appreciation is needed in every professional field both from management to member of staff, parents to teachers and vice versa. Yes, those in education should appreciate parents that make an effort to ensure children follow the rules, regulations, policies and procedures set out by the establishment. Because in today’s world parenting is a skill that requires creativity and patience to get the right result for individual children.
“Hey Renny, I just wanted to say thank you. Every time I have seen you recently we’ve had a good chat about children and you’ve always made me feel good. We’ve been through tough times with our child with what happened with the friend and finally feel like we are coming out the other side from a toxic friendship for both of us. Whenever I chat with you, I always feel like you understand and have the same views on parenting as me. Just want you to know I appreciate that.”
To the parent that inspired this, thank you for giving permission to share.
It’s exam revision season, and I ask my child to revise 30 minutes on an e-learning platform, encouraging to write principal points along the way of the revision. The child decides to be smarty pants about it and says ‘my learning style is visual so don’t need to write down.’ Thank God for the knowledge of teaching, my response was ‘I am aware of the different learning styles and happy you are aware of your’s, but you still need to write down what you see in your words for better understanding’. I went on to say “you can use a mind map to draw out and map out your points.” All these were said in my best possible sarcastic mum voice.
However, I was very proud that the child identifies with an appropriate learning style. This got me thinking, how many parents can determine their child’s learning style? Having had the opportunities to teach, lecture and be an educator for several years, learners struggle to revise appropriately for exams because they have not identified their learning style. It should be said, learning style is not age restricted, and it can change over the years. A child can move from one style of learning at any stage of development and can also identify better ways of revising for exams. The critical point is, at any particular stage of the development of a child, a parent can ensure to recognise their child’s learning style and encourage it as a technique for learning.
There are several types of learning styles but the three main ones I will focus on are: listening, touching and seeing.
- Listen: this is also identified as auditory. Children that fall into this learning style need to pay attention to what is being said. They hear and listening to the information and can retain it. When it comes to revision, these children can benefit from listening to podcast of the topic of their choice. Listening to music, of their choice, while revising can also be beneficial to these children. This is why some children can carry out verbal instructions and task better than other children because their strength lie in audio learning style.
- Touch: customarily identified as kinesthetic or physical learning style. Children that fall into this bracket revise better with activities that are practical and hands on. Such activities can include tabletop games, problem-solving activities and task that require real or life experience. Children can either be descriptive or use a bullet point technique when taking down revision notes for an exam. Flash cards, puzzles and quizzes may come handy during revision. Tactile objectives are also beneficial.
- See: children that fall within visual/sight learning style are observant of details. Descriptive writing and creative writing is at play here as they will write down, in details, what was observed. Children will enjoy revision with picture books, documentary. Reading can be a vital part of these children as they can use their creative eye to visualise the outcome. Mind maps and visual boards are also excellent exam revision techniques.
Children learn differently and have own mechanism that they use to revise for an exam. However, all learning styles can be used intermediately and across the board. Applying a set rule is not suggested because a child may learn better using the visual learning style on a particular subject but when another topic is introduced the listening technique works better.
NOTE: Parents should note that many technological resources can be used to make learning fun and engaging for their child. This should be taken advantage to the fullest.
Maintaining ethical standards is an essential part of the education profession which is referred to in several codes of conduct. The codes refer to an educator holding the highest integrity standard and maintaining trust in the profession. By so doing, conducts are up helped, and the proper administration of fairness is carried out. However significant educators are, they are part of the flawed system of society that promotes unequal opportunities but at the same time putting the learner first, which can be a challenge.
When it comes to standards, the profession will have to question itself based on a code of conduct of being an officer of education. Several questions have been raised by scholars on how an educator can stand to have fairness, not lose the trust of the learners, uphold the law and administration of fairness and at the same time be an officer of education. Contradictions, bias and prejudices are sure to happen. The educator’s decision on making the profession look good and maintaining trust can be seen as a double edge sword.
The ethical standard is questioned when learners are indicated to have been failed by the education institution. However, an educator must promote fearlessly and take advantage of legal points in the learner’s interests. As Paulo Freire puts it “the educator has the duty of not being neutral”. What an ethical perplexity for an educator.
The word ‘intentional’ has been on my mind for several weeks. It means being deliberate, calculated or conscious. In the time, space and environment we presently live in, I believe as parents we have to be intentional towards our children; otherwise, several mundane things will take up our time. As I stroll through the different social media platforms, I see how easy it is to be distracted and allow what is visual govern the mind. You must make up your mind to:
- Be intentional about speaking with your child.
- Be intentional about listening to your child.
- Be intentional about engaging with your child.
- Be intentional about playing with your child.
- Be intentional about being firm with your child.
- Be intentional about showing love to your child.
- Be intentional about the wellbeing of your child.
- Be intentional about helping your child to learn.
- Be intentional about being consistent with your child.
- Be intentional about taking a family break with your child.
There are many distractions in society today, and this does not exempt the family. Severally, I have been approached to take on more demanding professional position. However, I weigh it against my work-life balance because I am intentional as a parent not to have the scale tip over. It is understandable that not everyone may be in a position to pick and chose when to make income; however, the ability to be intentional ensures we as parents give it a second thought before going ahead with a decision. Being a parent does not always come easy, but, the act of being intentional helps develop the culture of family principles and ethos that the children can later appreciate.