How to Teach Your Kids in the Most Unlikely Moments

As parents, sometimes it’s easier to give our kids a hug when they are feeling an intense emotion. What if I told you that you could help your child work through his or her emotions and learn through the situation? I like to guide my son through his emotions by using teachable moments.

Teachable Moment: an event or experience that presents a good opportunity for learning something about a particular aspect of life.

Teachable moments are how I have helped my son work towards becoming a more independent thinker. This is something you can do even when your kids are little.  You might not think they understand, but why not give them the opportunity to try! I have been speaking into my son’s life through teachable moments since he was in diapers.

The phrase, teachable moment, is often used in the teaching world. It is basically an opportunity that presents itself where you are able to teach something that the child needs in that moment. You might not have otherwise taught it because it didn’t fall in line with the curriculum, but at that moment you noticed a need. teachable moment


Tonight while I was helping my son brush his teeth, I looked at him in the mirror and noticed how grown up he looked with his hair cut. (I had cut it the night before)

I smiled at him and touched his head playfully and asked, “Hey did, your teacher notice your haircut today? You look so grown up!”

He said, “no” and then looked back at me through the glass and said, “Emma did, she said it looked silly.” His eyes looked a little glassy as he met mine in the mirror.

“Oh, honey.” I said, “that wasn’t very nice.”

In this moment, I could have cuddled him up in my arms and told him how mean that little girl was for making him feel bad about his haircut, but I didn’t. 

I recognized how he was feeling: upset and maybe embarrassed.  Moments where your child is feeling a strong emotion is a great moment to teach. I want my son to grow through the pain and learn from it.

I said, “that probably didn’t make you feel very good, did it?” He kind of looked down and said, “no, it didn’t.” 

I said, “so what do you think you should do the next time you think someone looks kind of silly?”

He said, “not tell them.

I said, “Ya, because you don’t want them to feel like you did.”

We naturally want to protect our little ones and it’s hard to see them hurt, but I think we can use these moments to help them grow. Moments that can be used to teach something to your child aren’t always going to be happy moments. Remember, you can teach your child something, even in the most unlikely of circumstances. teachable moment

How to teach your child from an unlikely moment:

  1. Recognize: Notice the emotion(s) your child is experiencing
  2. Teach: Decide what you want to teach your child
  3. Remind: Have your child think about how they felt and help them grow from it

When you’re done, give ’em a big hug and love on ’em, because being little is hard work!


This verse plays in my head often,“Teach a child about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6


What have you done in a teachable moment?


12 Replies to “How to Teach Your Kids in the Most Unlikely Moments”

  1. Oh, this is good. My first instinct would definitely have been to hug and kiss and comfort, but what a good time to teach that truth. I need to pray for wisdom in discerning those teachable moments as my daughter gets older 🙂

    1. I agree, our first instinct is to love and protect our little ones. Praying for wisdom in those moments is definitely a must! God’s leading is always better than my own.

  2. What a strong lesson! It’s hard to push those feelings away because it’s easy to just cuddle and hug everything away. This was perfect!

    1. Yes, it is so hard not to just snuggle those sad feelings away. Teaching our kids through these moments helps them to build understanding and empathy for others.

  3. What a great teachable moment! My 4yo son knocked out his front tooth a few weeks ago and he told me his friend said he looked like a pirate. We decided that pirates were cool and that she was trying to give him a compliment.

    1. Oh! Poor guy! I knocked out my front tooth when I was little too! I love how you made the situation positive. That is how we raise resilient kids. We can’t control what others will say to them, but we can help them work through their feelings and help them to see things differently! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. You are so right. There are so many teachable moments in our every day lives. This is a great one!

    1. Sometimes stopping and recognizing what our kids are feeling can be difficult, because we want to make their pain go away. We don’t think very deeply about what is going on. It’s true, there are moments like this every day, we just have to be mindful of them!

  5. This was such a good read. I wanted to give him a hug! Good for you for taking that moment and making it a teachable one!

    1. It was hard not to snuggle him up right away, but I did give him a BIG long hug after our quick little chat!

  6. Completely agree and very well written. At times like these my first instinct is to hug and try to take away the pain. But you have shown another important perspective. Will try to keep it in mind next time..

    1. Thank you Neha! I would love to hear about your experience when you try it!

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