Let’s Work Together

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that goes like this:

Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I understand.

This proverb provides a wonderful window into how we learn and delivers a fabulous clue into how to teach things to our children in a way that they won’t forget.

Whether it’s setting the table – with forks on the left and knives and spoons on the right; breaking a new word into syllables and sounding it out together; putting clothes into the washing machine, adding detergent and pushing the right buttons; or pitching a tent for a campout in the yard, the hands-on, doing-it-together approach to learning is highly effective.

Your friendly presence, patient demonstration and thoughtful guidance coupled with active participation from them, allows the lesson to sink in deep. Why? Because it provides a rich sensory experience — they watch, listen, touch, and do — all in the presence of their favorite audience (you!). Kids love to have the attention of their parents and thrive on showing you how competent they are. When you take this approach to teaching, every bit of your child’s mind and imagination is involved and the experience gets stored as a strong and lasting memory.

Bottom line: nothing beats doing it together!

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Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.

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