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.
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.
How to teach your child from an unlikely moment:
- Recognize: Notice the emotion(s) your child is experiencing
- Teach: Decide what you want to teach your child
- 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?