Teachable moments are just that, moments. These moments come and go away so quickly that they can be easily missed. If you aren’t sure what you are looking for, it is really easy to miss them. We are here today to look at teachable moments in much more detail to make sure that you do not miss out.
Do not worry though: even if you know what you are looking for, these teachable moments still come so quickly that they can easily be missed. That is okay because you are working on how to teach yourself to notice natural occurrences and add learning moments into them. It is important to remember not to panic if you miss them. Life happens! If you are even trying to add these teachable moments into your child’s life, you are doing the right thing. Good job, parent! Pause and give yourself a pat on the back.
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What is a Teachable Moment?
A teachable moment is a moment during you and your child’s day that is unplanned but comes to your attention as an opportunity to teach your child. This can be about something new or, to expand on their current knowledge as they get older. The possibilities are endless for teachable moments.
The best way that you can do this is to engage with your child about what is going on in the world. Sometimes, we try to hold back from sharing everything with our kids because we think it will be “over their head.” However, if you open yourself up to explaining all about the world to your child, you will be amazed by what they hold onto!
A good example is when you are at the grocery store with your children. There are so many teachable moments in grocery stores! You can show them how to weight fruit to teach them about weight, pounds, etc. If you have more than one child, you can explain to older ones about measurements and younger ones about fruit and where and how they grow.
You can expand on a subject with an older child, but make sure if you have more than one kid you are not only speaking to the older one. You may feel like you are speaking over one of your children’s head, or over all of your children’s heads.
However, doing this can do a few things. It can create curiosity. It gives your child a place to ask questions. Also, you are giving your child ways to explore. You can gauge interests by the questions and comments they have. Also, it is much better to shoot higher and have them catch bits and pieces then shoot too low in an explanation and have them understand everything.
How do I Know What Moments are Teachable?
Teachable moments come in many forms. Basically, anytime that you have the opportunity to stop and share new information with them, use it.
Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you identify which moments are teachable:
- Whenever your child asks you a question, any question
- When you drive by certain places and/or landmarks
- Consistent moments of the day- these may seem mundane, but you can find something in every pattern of the day and use it as a teachable moment
- Playtime- playtime gives an open blueprint for teachable moments. You can either go off what your child is playing, or you can direct them through play.
What if I Miss a Teachable Moment?
Here is the good news: if you miss a teachable moment, your child will probably never notice. Your day will keep moving on as it should.
Once you notice you missed a teachable moment, pay close attention for a similar moment to arise and grab that one. Or you can even think back about the day at night together, and insert teachable moments there.
How to Create More Teachable Moments
Slow down. Life is too busy these days. If you slow down and spend time unplugged and with your kids, you will make more time to find teachable moments during your day. Noticing the teachable moments is half of the battle. Even if you just spend a week making your goal to try to notice them, you will start finding them all the time.
Things to Remember
Children are thirsty for knowledge. If your teachable moment happens to be a random fact, that is okay. There is no rule stating that it has to be strictly important information. Have fun with the teachable moments you encounter when possible.
During playtime, it may seem like your child isn’t interested or it may even seem like your child is ignoring you but, that isn’t necessarily the case. They can still take in and retain so much information while they are playing.
I do also want to point out that sometimes teachable moments come hard and fast with serious questions like ‘where do babies come from’. Do your best to not ignore these types of questions as your children are generally curious and this is the best time to provide them with age-appropriate information. Even if it is hard for you, your child is asking because they are truly asking for an answer, and it is usually better for the answer to come from a parent.
Overall, teaching basic concepts is excellent. However, it does not have to be the only type of teaching you do.
There is a fun twist to teachable moments: kids aren’t the only ones who have them. There are many times that my own kids teach me something new. Something that if I would have slowed down sooner, I could have noticed myself. Sometimes, kids will ask the most bizarre things that end up with us searching Google for the answer. Before we know it, we were tricked into our own teachable moments!
Teachable moments are hiding everywhere. From your daily car ride to dinner time. If you take the time to slow down and be present with your kids, they will start to become more obvious for you. Teachable moments can easily become second nature for you if you keep searching for them.