How children learn
Illustration by Andrea Elovson, from The Kindergarten Survival Handbook     Parents, and the people children spend most of their time with, are the people children learn the most from, whether they're trying to teach children or not.

    Children are natural learners. They're always learning from whatever is happening around them.

    So when you and your child are together, anywhere, you can teach them everything they need to know from just the ordinary things that happen all the time, using everyday things around the house.

    Any parent can do it. You don't need any special equipment, any special training, or even extra time.

When children make mistakes, and we scold them, we shift their attention away from what they were learning to feeling bad about themselves.

Even if it's true, try not to say things like

"No, that's all wrong", or "Why don't you remember that? I just told you yesterday."

Children can't say why they don't remember something.

Neither can we: try it yourself sometime!
Illustration by Andrea Elovson, from The Kindergarten Survival Handbook Scolding changes trying to learn something from being fun to being something that makes children unhappy, and something to avoid.

It's better for them if you say things like,

"That was a good try," or
"That's almost right" or
"Good, only this part needs to be changed."

This tells them that what they did wasn't perfect, but it encourages them to keep trying. And that's the most important thing of all.
When they're right, and we say "You're so great!" or "You're such a good boy (or girl) for getting that right" children may be afraid we'll think they're bad or that they let us down when they get something wrong.

That makes them afraid to try things they don't already know.

So, it's better to praise
the work, or their effort,
rather than praise the child.
They'll feel good, anyway.

It's better to say things like

"You did a really good job with that!", or
"It must feel good to know
how to do that!", or
"It's so great that you kept at that
'til you got it"
Illustration by Andrea Elovson, from The Kindergarten Survival Handbook
This tells them that it's fun to know things, and that hard work is admired.
[ Some pages from The Kindergarten Survival Handbook ]

Copyright © Parent Education Resources from The Kindergarten Survival Handbook
Part 2, "A Guide for Parents"