Although most parents are eternally grateful to teachers for the wealth of information and life skills taught to kids, the packed curriculum and limited hours mean that there are many more crucial abilities that children are failing to pick up. Learning involves mathematics, history and science; but ideally, it should also focus on how to be more technologically savvy, practical, environmentally aware, and, in general, happier! In this post, we highlight four ways in which parents can help fill gaps which are sometimes left by schooling.
Using Technology in Daily Life
It is surprising to think that this day and age, when coding and programming are part of the school curriculum in so many parts of the world, some schools have yet to offer computer science as a subject. Parents can enhance children’s interest in technology in many more ways than by just placing a tablet in their hand. There are a plethora of websites, for instance, which parents and kids can use to create their own games and learn a bit or programming while they are at it. Parents can also help children use creative apps (focusing on drawing, or even filmmaking) to work on projects together during school holidays and long summers. Finally, moms and dad can support budding techies by signing them up for a challenging robotics course, where children will enjoy meeting other people their age who are fascinated by programming, coding, and/or design.
The Importance of Nature
Richard Louv, expert in the benefits of nature and author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, greatly laments the blunt way that children in the modern world have been deprived of a relationship with nature. Countless researchers back Louv’s claim that nature has the ability to calm, increase focus, and excite the senses in unique ways. When you children get home from school and finish their homework, why not head into the Great Outdoors for an unstructured play session?
At school, children can miss out on vital practical skills that will come in handy for the rest of their lives. These include cooking, sewing, gardening, and basic mechanics. You can really give your children’s self-confidence a boost by giving them problems to solve at home: a faucet that needs changing, raw chocolate that needs preparation, a garden that has veggies that are their responsibility to grow and tend to. Kids don’t have to be a master of any one skill, but if they can be a ‘jack of all trades’ and work alongside you, all the better!
How to Calm Oneself
Placing children into a ‘quiet corner’, as is often done when kids are in preschool or in the early school years, enables them to collect their thoughts, but we can really help them sharpen their ability to emotionally self-regulate, by teaching them mindfulness-based activities. You might like to start with controlled breathing; there is a wide array of free apps that guide children through short pranayamic breathing activities. Learning how to inhale slowly, and exhale even more slowly, really helps bring the heart rate down and stops the ‘fight or flight’ response in its tracks! Other interesting holistic activities include yoga, kids’ meditation, and Tai Chi.
Although teachers have a wealth of valuable knowledge to pass on to your kids, don’t forget that you, too, can help make them whole, happy adults by teaching them the importance of other abilities, hobbies, and skills. Learning to value nature, developing important practical skills, and cornering the difficult art of emotional self-regulation are just three life lesson you can pass on. What other skills would you love to pass on to your children?