I am part of a lot of mom groups. A few of them are of course focused on early education or future academic. And the most common thing I notice is how worried parents are. Every parent tries every possible avenue they think can be used, to give their child the extra edge to succeed in the world.
This worry is inherent in us as parents and something I personally face daily. But how much of it is a valid concern? Are we worrying about the right aspect of our child’s development?
According to my son’s teacher from first grade last year, ‘parents really do not need to be so anxious (namely me 🙂 ). She told me how the extra classes kids take these days are not even necessary and actually hampered her teaching at school and the child’s over all development. What was more important was kids to play freely and learn essential life skills before entering school system. The outdoors in fact is a better learning atmosphere at an early age.’
This led to the below conversation, when I called my mother in law to wish her Happy Teachers Day today. Geeta Singh, a prolific educator who has been teaching since January of 1985, for over 34 years and has been a principal of two schools for over 7+ years. A truly inspiring influence on the many lives she has touched during her teaching career and much loved by every student she comes across.
She spoke about how the education system today has taken much of the power away from the teachers. In the 80s and 90s, teachers had much more influence over students since they could provide appropriate consequences. But with changing time and the evolution of the education system, now it a LOT more the parents who have to support the teachers in the right way to help shape their kids growth.
Yet, not in the way parents think. Society today is very misconstrued about what every child truly needs in their early years and even in the later years.
Here are the 7 universal things she knows first hand as an educator, all teachers wish parents knew.
Take Time to Understand Your Child
Children are all born a certain way. There is a nature that your child is born with, which needs to be accepted. Your dreams and hopes do no define your child. What needs to actually happen is for you to take the time to actually observe your child and take in who they are before molding them into what you think they should become. This is where play time, long walks and conversations with your children come in. Spend time with your child without purpose to better get a sense of who they are.
This is a great tool which will show you where your child is meant to excel in. Do not blame teachers or even your child for not doing well in a certain subject. They just may not be inclined towards it naturally. It’s not that your child is not intelligent enough. They just are interested in other subjects and will perform in those.
Learn to Question Your Child’s Motive
We as parents tend to trust our children blindly. Often children say things that aren’t really true. The source of this lies in many factors. Not to say that the child is bad but maybe they are experiencing feelings they cannot verbalize in the right way.
When your child says something about teachers at school or peers even, take the time to analyse what they are saying. Ask probing questions and calmly try to understand what your own child’s version might be in relaying said conversation to you. School is a different environment where a child experiences varied emotions and thus they tend to be a version of themselves parents do not often see. Before taking any rash decision based on your child’s words, understand what might have happened.
And in case of conflict, converse with the teacher, not accuse her.
Make a Habit of Looking At Your Child’s Bag
When kids come to school, they begin to think of their school bag as their private space. Since the beginning of school years, make it a habit to be the one to take out your child’s homework so you always know what is inside your child’s bag. As the kids get older and bolder, their bag becomes the place which they can use to hide things they do not want parents to see.
Teach Your Kids About Hygiene & Presentation Early
It is unfortunate when kids are not taught the importance of presentation early. Outer appearance is a reflection of the person inside. Do not teach your kids to be flashy. But educate them about basic cleanliness concepts and how to dress for any given occasion. This is something many parents fail to teach their kids. Respecting and taking care of your bag, shoes, clothes, accessories and self is something that should be imparted early.
Encourage Your Child Towards Extra Curricular Activities
Specially in their later years. In life, how one utilizes leisure time is very important. Kids need to know that they can work on their passion projects. Many adults today spend their time watching TV/ browsing phones since they do not know how to creatively spend their free time. Be an example for your child in this matter.
Sports and art are a very important part of every child’s growth into adulthood. It is unfortunate that over time, specially as kids get older parents stop supporting extra curricular activities, even monetarily at school. This is detrimental not only to every child’s growth but specially to those kids who excel in a certain art form. Help your child encourage their preferred art work in any way possible.
Your Child’s Grade is NOT Everything.
Your child has varied interests. Not every child is going to excel academically. Or in every subject. And that needs to be okay too. This is NOT failure in any form. When parents put kids early into extra classes and apply pressure for academics, it makes the child peak and burn out soon. This hampers their future in a way many parents do not foresee. Let your child grow in the way they are meant to. No one cares what your child’s second grade position is.
What is in fact needed is the teaching of all round growth.
What a screw is and it’s use once taught is understanding. But the actual applications of screw at home and making use of it in day to day life is skill development. How to apply knowledge what is more important. Instead of sending kids for academic classes after school show them the ways in which what they have learnt gets applied in their day to day life. Mark sheets are no guide to real life.
Nurture Your Child’s Moral Growth
This is something parents need to focus on more at home and teach ways in which kids can be kind to their peers and teachers at school. Helping others gives everyone a better sense of self worth, that is severely lacking in today’s child driven society. Parents are so way focused on academics that they lose sight of teaching kids how to go that extra mile for another human being. And that is a major reason for negative experiences by students at school.
In addition to this, it is very important it is for everyone to honor teachers in every form. Not just the ones at school, but their parents who are the first teachers of every child, family members and friends who help teach us many of life’s important lessons.
Are you a teacher reading this?
What would you add to this prolific teacher’s list of things parents should be aware of?