Archives: parenting

When Children Question Everything

It is commonly accepted that kids say the darndest things (Bill Cosby’s Show; anyone?). It is also known that

Source: Google

Source: Google

kids ask questions about anything and everything. Some times, those questions are pretty uncomfortable, and sometimes embarrassing. There is often the temptation to brush them off and send them to go play a game or get some work done when they start pushing along certain lines. They are kids, after all.

 But perhaps, we can use the natural inquisitiveness of our children to help them learn to think and analyze. Can it be that we can find a place of balance in which we let kids be kids without stifling their curious and exploring minds?

 Experience hows that kids who question and poke at everything possible tend to develop into adults who can think through situations and concepts better. While it may be scary for some parents, it is also true that children who are much more outgoing, and often pushing the boundaries and crossing lines, tend to grow up into adults who are able to take the bull of life by the horns. They tend to be able to thrive even against the greatest odds. They are used to not conforming and taking no for an answer.

 It is that place of balance where we teach children the place of order and authority, yet let their minds and bodies roam in adventure and exploration that guardians, parents and teachers must find in raising and training children. Some parents lock down the child completely, insisting that a child’s place is absolute submission. Such children often grow up timid and incapable of coping when life’s storms hit. Other parents just let the child have their way a hundred percent. Usually, such kids grow up to become delinquents. Both approaches are fraught with problems. The place of balance is needed.

Do you remember how your parents handled your questioning everything and pushing boundaries? As a parent, how do you cope with this need to strike a balance?

A FAMILY TRIP THIS HOLIDAY IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA

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It is easy to wave off holidays as times to give children a break from learning. However, this can be a grave mistake. While children should be given a break from formal learning and schooling, there are many fun ways of ensuring that they do learn even during long holidays.

A field trip is an excellent idea of a fun way to teach your children and /or wards in a hands-on way during holidays. By definition, a field trip is a trip made by students to learn about something

A field trip can be to places like nature spots e.g. water springs, water falls, rocks and nature trails, zoos, schools, museums, etc. It is fun, exciting, and yet educational. Here are some benefits of a field trip:

  • children have fun traveling and experiencing new places and things
  • children learn in a hands-on manner different from what obtains in a school environment
  • children get more exposure to the variety of peoples and customs that exist in the world
  • children get to know their country better

Holidays – especially to affluent Nigerians – often mean one or more trips to choice cities in Europe, North America, Middle East or the Asia – New York, Paris, London, Atlanta, Singapore, or Dubai. However, Nigeria is a large country, with lots of beautiful locations that all provide learning experiences. Those experiences include: historical, cultural, religious and scientific. Here are a few such places:

  • Olumo Rock, Abeokuta
  • Ikogosi Water Falls, Ikogosi-Ekiti
  • Arinta Water Fall, Iponle Ekiti
  • Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife
  • University Of Ibadan Zoological Garden (and the campus too)
  • Obudu Cattle Ranch, Calabar
  • Kainji Dam and Lake Kainji, Niger State
  • Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

These are just a handful of places to visit. Each of them have a rich history that involves stories based on culture and/or science. Your children will see and hear things for themselves that will reinforce the theoretical classes they have had in school. A lot of things will be clearer to them. And they will have great fun while at it. You should give it a try these holidays.

Don’t forget to pick up one or more of First Veritas books with homegrown content that helps your children learn from the point of view of our local environment.

COMPREHENSION- DICTATES PASS OR FAIL

New PictureComprehension is the ability to understand and interprete what is being read. It is an important skill in the educational process. Why do we say so? Many of the challenges and problems that students are required to solve in life require a good deal of comprehension. If a child is unable to understand a question, how will he or she provide an accurate answer?

Problem solving often requires:

  • understanding the question or what has been stated is the problem
  • being able to connect the question or problem with other knowledge already acquired
  • being able to critically work out the solution

Have you ever made a statement or asked a question, and someone provides a response that does not fit in? In all probability, that individual did not understand the question. There was a problem comprehending your question or statement.

Failure does not always arise from a lack of knowledge or skill in the specific subject, but from poor comprehension skills. Some students fail physics not because they do not understand physics, but because they lack comprehension skills. Same goes for other subjects. Years later, as adults, they will require this same comprehension in whatever field they may embrace as a vocation.

This is why we must not only teach English as a language, but also promote a reading culture. Note that by reading culture, we include the use of dictionaries and other reference material.

Here are a few pointers:

  • we must make our children read and ask questions for the purpose of developing comprehension skills
  • materials to read: good story books and novels (both fiction and non-fiction); newspapers (though some of these have fallen behind in recent times); and magazines
  • a good dictionary should be available to children
  • if internet access is available and the child’s use can be monitored, a Google search for unknown words and phrases yields useful results

Growing up in the seventies and eighties, children had fewer distractions to reading. Today, the distractions are legion, yet we must polish the minds of our young ones by exposing them to well written books and periodicals.

We Celebrate You, Fathers!

Fathers-Day-Super-Dad-450x200Father’s Day is a celebration honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It has long been established that fathers are critical anchors in the society. Studies have shown that a father’s love is just as important to a child’s development as a mother’s, and sometimes more so: “…in some cases, the withdrawal of a father’s love seems to play a bigger role in kids’ problems with personality and psychological adjustment, delinquency, and substance abuse.”

It really is not about who is more important between a mother and a father, but in recognising that the role that fathers play in child development and education is both crucial and unique.

Studies have shown that children with involved fathers:

  • are often better adjusted to socialising,
  • tend to do better academically,
  • tend to do better economically,
  • have better emotional stability,
  • have more meaningful relationships,
  • tend to have less behavioural problems,
  • have a better sense of self respect.

The celebration of Father’s Day was started in the USA in 1910, and has grown worldwide since then. It was Father’s Day just two days ago, and another opportunity to celebrate fatherhood and our fathers. We hope that the fathers among us got some special attention and appreciation on that day.

We celebrate fathers today and always, because we know that your presence in the life of your children makes  difference. We celebrate you because you matter. The time you spend with your children, playing with them, providing care, training them, and helping out with their school work is time well spent. It is an investment that will yield great rewards year after year, and even when you are gone. Many children remember with fondness the precious discussions and exchanges that they had with their fathers.

We hope that you indeed had a happy father’s day! We celebrate you always.

CELEBRATING CHILDHOOD

As we celebrate our children today as part of the annual Children’s Day activities, we need to remember that we owe them a duty to love, provide for them, protect them, educate and train them, and to leave for them legacies that will last towards making their world a better place even long after we are gone.IMG00087-20140527-1319

A good father leaves good legacies. Good teachers do the same. They inspire loyalty and a desire to achieve in the children that they watch over. Long after our children have passed through our schools and gone on to live their own lives as independent adults, they will have memories of the times that they spent in our care.

They will remember those teachers, parents and others who gave them attention, helped them in their rough times, inspired them to be better and made a lasting impression on them. They always remember. Their minds never jettison memories of primary school, secondary school and universities. Those are memories that become a strong part of their adult psyches.

This is why we must take up our duties and responsibilities to them with passion and integrity. We are molding lives. We are always being watched and listened to. We are never off-duty. In truth, every day is children’s day. Once a child is born, the parent never goes on leave till death calls.

Here at First Veritas, we wish all our children happiness, health and years of growing in knowledge, wisdom and understanding. And to you our teachers and parents who still have parents who live, we wish you a happy children’s day, for you are still children to someone. Go back memory lane a bit and enjoy the memories of the wonderful childhood that we hope you had. Whatever your childhood was like, we hope that the memories ginger you to give today’s little children the childhood of your dreams.

Happy children’s day!

WHEN A CHILD QUESTIONS THINGS…..

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A child who does exactly what he is told to do all the time without questioning anything may cut the picture of the ideal, obedient, well-behaved child. However, that child may be missing out on learning skills that will help him excel out in the real world. The ability to question things will serve them well as adults when their parents are no longer there to shield them from the realities of life, and from wolves and snakes that prowl the jungle that is life.

It is a good thing when your child, pupil or student hears your instructions, plays with them in his mind and fires questions back at you. Here are a few questions:

  • “Dad, can we stay up later than usual? We are on holidays after all.”
  • “Aunty, why can I not go to play outside now?”
  • “Mom, why can I not choose what school to attend?”

Sometimes, he asks to get a clearer understanding. At other times, he is merely pushing the boundaries to see how far he can go or how much he can get away with. Whatever the reason behind a child’s questioning, it is a good idea to provide rational answers. Why? By so doing, you will be helping that child to develop critical reasoning skills.

When he becomes an adult, he will come face to face with life and all sorts of limitations, hindrances, and circumstances that tell him that he cannot do this or be that. This ability to test, prod, question, and challenge is exactly what he will need to handle those situations.

It may look like a child is being a rebel when he or she questions your instructions, whether you are a parent or a teacher. The reality, however, is often that he is processing information and trying to understand why he has to do this or that. His information processing may still be flawed, but as you respond with intelligent answers, you help him get better at it.

Your comments are welcomed. Share with us some of the questions your child have asked you 🙂

ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH YOUR CHILDREN ?

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Raising children can be a tough act. Everyone who has taught, raised or cared for a child in any way is sure to have interesting stories to tell. Some of those stories come from very challenging incidents. Why? Because children will always be children.

The average child prefers to play than to read. The average child will prefer to play games on daddy’s iPad than use it for self-development. The average child wants to have fun even at the expense of their health and personal development.

But we must never forget that they are this way because they are children. They do not know better. If we will teach and train them, we must be their friends. Even adults tend to listen to the correction of their friends better than correction from other sources. How much more our tender, impressionable children?

As a parent, create a rapport of friendship with your child/children. They should look forward to coming home, to spending time with you. When you have to go out without them, they should wish you were taking them along. They should come home from school and be able to tell you their experiences.

You can trigger this in a number of ways:

  1.   find time for them to do fun stuff together e.g. dance, play games, sing, draw, go for a walk
  2.   tell them your own stories, especially stories of yourself while you were their age
  3.   when they tell you their experiences, even shocking ones, do not scream or yell at them
  4.   explain actions and consequences to them
  5.   use gentle but firm repetition to drive home correction, but never be nasty with them

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it will go a long way in helping to develop bonds of friendship with your children. Do not forget that once you lose the communication link with your children, a key part of your relationship with them is lost, and your influence with them drops.

IF A CHILD CAN’T LEARN THE WAY WE TEACH…..

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It is a good idea to attempt to understand the learning pattern of a child, and then utilise what we learn in our teaching processes. Why? Not every person is the same. And not every child is certainly the same. A one-size-fits-all approach to teaching will only produce skewed results, leaving some children out in the cold and with poor results. When we attempt to teach in ways that help a child better understand our message, we produce better results.

If a fish and a cat are given the same task of climbing a tree, the fish will end up with horrible results that would make it seem like a useless animal. Yet, that is far from the truth. The fish has its areas of strength, but to maximise those, tasks that are specific to fishes have to be set instead.

Many children, for example, will find pure arithmetic (and mathematics in general) boring. But these subjects can be taught in entertaining and engaging ways. Here are a few examples of how we can pattern our approach to help our wards and pupils learn better:

–        We can teach basic addition and subtraction using objects and images that children love and find interesting.

–        We can use simple stories that appeal to their easily excited and distracted minds.

–        We can use music and video as media to pass across simple concepts and formulas

Pictorial, audio and video materials help keep children’s attention on the subject, for if you cannot hold someone’s attention, you cannot teach them. Beyond holding their attention, the children begin to develop cognitive skills very early in life. These skills form the foundation of a robust life of learning.

Whatever we do in the course of raising and teaching our children, whether in school or at home, we need to present information to them in a way that they understand and can think and process it. Learning to process and apply information, after all, is the core of what education is.