Building Beyond the Holiday Season

As the craziness of the holiday seasons engulfs our reality it is so easy for us to become caught up in the business of it all and in so doing in fact nullify it all. Despite your background or religious preference December has become a time of holiday and celebrating family. We organise our lives around trips to visit long lost family members – be it granny up the road or a cousin in another province – as well as travelling to distant corners of the world. We may not even have to travel far but “getting together” and connecting with each other is what is on all our minds. We race around purchasing gifts, arranging menus, organising food and entertainment. We become so caught up in organising this amazing family get together that we do in fact often miss the family in it all.

This may simply outplay in that as we are finally all gathered that we are in fact all too tired to actually enjoy each other’s company or with all the planning and scheming and imagining, the day doesn’t go quite as we expected so disappointment, hurt and resentment knocks loud at our door – leaving a bitter taste in our lives. These can however be avoided by simply resting well and choosing to keep our minds on the reality that we are all human and that things will therefore not usually play out as we imagined. So keeping expectations real can allow us to experience these family times as something to treasure – even if they are not perfect.

A deeper concern however, is that in the business of this all we totally miss each other – especially our little people. We are rushing in and out to shops, baking cooking, organising outings and playdates and the holidays are bustling and happening all around us. We are all together – in the same house – most of the time, and yet do we really stop and truly see one another.

In his play Our Town, first performed in 1938 Thornton Wilder perfectly captures this in a scene when Emily asks to return from her grave to visit her 12th Birthday. She is then seen observing the day from the future. Her words capture so much that we too often don’t wish to acknowledge:

“Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me….. I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another….. I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed.”

How easily the days and years slip by. How easily it is to provide our children with a beautiful home, amazing food, friends, entertainment and toys beyond their wildest dreams but if we stopped and asked them what they truly desired more than anything else – they would say they would give it all up for your time. All our children – and aunty and granny for that matter – really want from us is our love and attention. They want to know that they are more important than the food being presented just right or the table being laid perfectly. They want to be a part of our lives. They want us to stop running and take the time to push them on the swing or sit on the floor and draw with them. To include them in our shopping and let them help make an imperfect pudding or set the table with us – including the name tags that they have lovingly scrawled out for each guest.

So as we bustle about creating the perfect day don’t forget about the people that are all a part of your reality. People that love you dearly and wish for nothing more than to have you share that love with them. The challenge here is to take a moment in this craziness to spend a quiet moment with each of our special little people. Bake some biscuits with your daughter or make a puzzle together. Single out one of your children to cuddle up on the bed with to watch a movie or take a slow walk around the neighbourhood or simply take the time to stop and listen to what they are trying to say to you – as Sally Clarkson experienced – you may be suitably surprised by what you hear them say.

As much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise it’s not the perfect roast but rather these little intimate moments that our children will remember. And above all its these times that weave into creating relationship with each of them something that will become the fibre who you are as a family. Something they can hold in their hearts as they grow – knowing my mom and dad loved and valued me more and beyond their “to do” list. So let’s be challenged this holiday to not become so caught up in organising family time that we miss the Family in it altogether.

 

 

Home Therapy

Child playingRecently having tea with a friend our conversation automatically turned to our children. On this specific day were where talking about how individually each child develops and how as a society we have begun to mark and check off their milestones as a content billboard to see that all is well. The irony is that they are in-fact who they are regardless of who we want or hope them to be.

We do however all want the best for each and every one of our children and the reality is that to keep up in this fast paced lifestyle we lead we do sometimes have to give them a nudge to help them keep up with the pack. This is something we all see and acknowledge but what happens when the resources – time and finance  – don’t stretch far enough? Is there still hope for our children who are struggling?

I do believe that there is and that you as their Mom or Dad play a vital role in assisting your child in reaching their full potential. Most of the common difficulties young children face at school are those of settling into sitting still and paying attention as well as fine motor difficulties. There are also a number of children who battle with their speech, which in turn hinders their ability to learn to read. Though interestingly I have often found that as a child learns to read this does in fact improve their speech.

However the point here is that if your child is facing these difficulties and you are unable to offer them the support they need there are many things that can be done by you at home to help improve their overall schooling experience.

At shcool IIILet’s look at the child battling to concentrate – again and again I see that children have never been taught the skill of paying attention. We live in such an instant, fast moving world that their thoughts skip and breeze from one topic to the next. As parents we can play a vital role in developing this skill simply by adjusting and tweaking a few of our expectations. Make a rule that you will only speak once and if they don’t listen there will be a consequence such as 10 minutes off any television show for every time you need to repeat yourself. Stop and look at each other in the eyes when you talk to one another. Ask them on the way home from a day out to recall fine details such as what the best joke was that they heard that afternoon or what the name of the ice-cream shop was. Read to them. By this I do not mean Disney books instead read the original Winnie-the-Pooh, Tom Sawyer or Anne of Green Gables. If you don’t have the books download the librivox app onto your phone and you can listen to all books in the public domain for free. This is especially fun if you have other activities such as house hold chores or art work you are wanting the children to do whilst you are all listening. After your stories ask your child to recount their favourite scene or the most surprising part of the story. Expect your children to remember many different things from poetry to reciting your shopping list. Slowly day by day train their mind to slow down, focus on the task at hand and to do it well.

The child suffering from fine motor difficulties is probably one of the easier ones to assist – simply because there are so many ideas online to aid you. This often involves the children needing to work on their finger activities and small hand-eye movements. So daily work together on a project involving their hands. You could play with playdough, knead bread, thread necklaces, do art, write letter to friends and family, sing songs using hand actions and so the endless list continues.

Working on a child’s speech is not always the easiest task to be done at home but it is something that one can attempt. I would suggest meeting with a speech therapist to obtain some idea where the difficulties lie and give you some guidelines on how to begin assisting your child.

So many people are in the same boat today – all desperately wanting to help their children but often not knowing how to possibly afford it. The truth is that your child’s teachers and the therapist are on your child’s side too – so team up. Maybe you can meet once a term to put together a program or plan that is worked on at home. Don’t loose hope, any input is better than nothing and honestly above all they will just love and thrive in that extra time you are going to spend with them.

Let the Children Be

In the great words of William Henry Davies “What is this life full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”

A hundred years ago or should I say as little as 30 years ago no one had a problem with a 7 year old being a 7 year old.  They spent their mornings at school and the occasional afternoon playing an hour of sport. After this they were free. Free from instruction, training and meeting another’s expectations. Free to simply be…. To dream, climb, think, run and simply play. No one thought anything of them spending hours on end in the sand pit or up a tree. A card board box became a car or sailing ship and an old sheet anything from a cape to a tent.

Looking about one today however we must admit that for these little ones we have created a life full of care! A life so stressful that 7 year olds are having panic attacks. One could understand this if they were living in a war raging era, concerned each day for their safety. Instead these panics are taking place in classrooms and homes throughout the country. Based not on a fear of death but rather in a fear of failure! Children simply lack the confidence to be themselves, as frankly presenting themselves for who they naturally are is seen as not being good enough! By simply arriving and just being themselves, we as a society, keep telling them that they not good enough.  They are too loud, too busy or too dreamy, they work too slowly or too fast. Try as they may to get it right, we doctor them with medication and counselling, in their little eyes they are not able to meet our expectations they as a person are a failure!

For parents the race is on.  From conception patents begin fretting about what classical music to play in utero and soon after birth – no matter what the disposition of the child will be in future years – the child is on a waiting list for the best day care, top preschool, most successful primary school and so it goes.  Their days determined, the course plotted and at all costs the child needs to make this thing work. Like a monkey upon a leash dancing before his music box we have these tiny tots dancing to a tune way beyond their years.

We bemoan the fact that children cannot entertain themselves and throw the blame at technology.  However from the day they could walk, or before, we have been entertaining them.  If not with some form of extra mural tutoring then with play dates and television.  These on their own are not a bad idea but a 3 year old spending each afternoon at swimming, music, ballet, karate, gymnastic or maths lessons does leave little time to “stand and stare.”

According to James Hall a survey conducted amongst 1500 children in Sainsbury between 5 and 11 years of age revealed that their favourite summer pass times were not computer games, going on trips or watching movies. Instead they included playing in the park or in the garden making mud pie-making, climbing trees and feeding the ducks.

It was upon a break from his studies, whilst relaxing under a tree in a contemplative mood, thinking on the notion of gravitation that Newton saw an apple fall and hence solidify his thoughts on the workings of gravity. At the age of 16, whilst Einstein was imagining catching a sunbeam that he laid the foundations for his study of special relativity. At the age of only 15, Louis Braille – whilst on school vacation – and fiddling with his father’s awl in his leather shop, he devised the braille system which is still used throughout the world today.

In our pursuit of educational excellence and perfection are we in fact depriving our children of the one pure ingredient that grows thinkers, dreamers, creative and ultimately great men and women of the future?

So I ask yet again, “what is this life full of care if we have no time to stand and stare…?”

Mirrors of Me

Deep in conversation with my 7 year old, my attention was suddenly diverted to my ever busy 2 year old.  She was suddenly unusually quiet and standing dead still.  Oh my how  we laughed.  She was standing between my 7 year old and I with her arms crossed imitating the exact posture of her big sister. What an amazing teaching opportunity arose for me to demonstrate to my older daughter that little people will copy us whether we like it or not.

Recently I have been hearing more and more stories of children displaying behaviour which includes the children using sarcasm or humour but the underlying message results in them becoming really mean to others, not only to their peers but to their parents as well. Yes there are many times when the root of this behavioue is obvious.  The child has been bullied or is working through a difficult period in live such as a divorce or death in the family.  Yet there are times when parents and teachers are left baffled, pondering where this attitude – that often comes across as cute in a 3 year old but as something very unpleasant in a 10 year old – could possibly have arrived from?

I will never forget when as a new mom I was deeply concerned about my 7 month old son.  He had just cut his first two teeth and he kept biting his lip. With these tiny munchers he managed to cut his lip quite badly. The clinic sister adviced what cream to use but we were at a loss how to stop this habit he had formed. A few weeks later, whilst driving to work, I looked into the rearview mirror and what did I see? I was biting my bottom lip!  Oh my, without knowing it the stess of Mommyhood had been kept well under tap and yet it was leaking out in this new habit and our baby boy was copying it!

If we begin dig down into the archives of  our memories and dust off the cobwebs, looking back at the life of a child. You will recall that when only a few weeks old, your baby mimiced a tongue being stuck out. By a few months they would copy sounds that you made. They smile when you smile and clap as you clap. Your child will learn to speak the language you speak, dress how you dress and will usually participate in the religion and social activities such as sport or music that their family values.

Again and again I have heard of a child who is adopted or lives with a step parent  be told how much they look like this parent. The reality is that they often don’t look any thing alike instead, the child so closely mimics the adult’s mannerisms that it actually presents itself as the parent and child looking a like. Humour, vocabulary, a gait, attitude to work and all other behaviours are not born with but instead learnt from those around us. The way we walk and talk was not chosen but rather picked up over years and years of subconsciously immitating those around us.

Looking back at our sweet, little person who is developing this nasty streak that has baffeled parents and teachers alike. Could the cure lie not in psychology or medication but instead a good look at who they are spending time with? It may well be other children – often older than themselves – books they are reading, computer games they are playing or movies they are watching. Or it may even be coming from home.  Most of us consider our homes and especially ourselves as being no threat to our precious little people.  Yet as I learnt with our baby boy, they are watching us all the time. Often we mean no harm and yet a simple expression of our stress, a reaction to a car driving too slowly or the irritation with the morning routine, is infact instilling within our children attitudes and habits for life. They don’t understand or appreciate that we are in a stressful situation or that our sarcasm is simply a form of humour.

So as difficult and as unpleasant as it is, when our children begin displaying distasteful behaviours, attitudes, reactions or mannerisms – before we start pointing fingers let us take the time to look at ourselves and see if infact a few adjustments in our attitudes or habits need to be honed. They see and hear all that we do and as much as I tell my children to do as I say and not as I do, they just keep copying me!

AAAAHHH – My Ears Hurt

A quiet moment snapped between the craziness of life. A moment of pure uninterrupted thought. A moment, a mere spell of seconds or maybe an hour – until Mom is once again on call. Who would have ever thought of the pure blissful joy of meagre silence, of a consecutive string of orderly thought, being a sanctuary of sanity?  Silence – coherent and my mind fully attentive upon the task at hand I can breathe, once again finding a glimpse of myself!

Before becoming Mom, I had known the stress and strain facing a parent. The sleepless nights, homework, paying more to dine out, as well as being responsible for another person. Never however had I realised that my biggest parenting hurdle was going to be the many little voices in my head. The voice needing some milk, the one telling me they need the loo, the voice arguing over a toy, the voice wanting to know where they left their jacket. So often….. aaaahhhhh…. STOP! My ears – they hurt.

Parenting and raising these little people takes us by surprise. The surprise of our greatest difficulties and strains – the least of which we would have considered and the surprise of the joy discovered in learning to tie a shoelace or noticing a flower in the breeze. Or the pure bliss of silence.

A silence that feeds one deep into the spirit, a silence that warms the soul and draws one out, empowers one to look up and see the warm rays once again. The silence that equips one to breath long and deep, long and deep…. raising one back to your former self. Equipping and enabling one to once again rise up and take up the baton of Mom.

The solitude clears the fog, washes clear the perspective. It enables one to once again hear through the clutter of the needs and wants to the pure, undiluted, “I love yous.”

So Mom when all the little voices are briefly silent, for that brief fleeting moment, grasp the silent reprieve – drink deep, breath deep – fill your Being. Then once again the voices bombard but in them you are able to hear. Hear with clarity not only the need and want but the truth. “I need YOU, I want YOU. You are my all. I love you Mom.”

Learning Beside Mama

Toy Train Set 084Despite popular belief that children should spent as much time as possible socialising with their peer group, there are always easy and fun ways to include them into what we, the big people, are doing. It is at these times, when children work side by side with adults, that they learn more than when left alone with a room full of toys. Yes, a pretend tea set or train set allows them to spend time imagining all sorts of games. Through pretend play children develop their concept of who they are and how society and relationships as a whole fits together. Make believe is a fundamental part of childhood. However, toys don’t specifically allow a child to learn life skills that they will need in daily life. A child may be able to cut up play dough to make a dolls dinner, however, cutting a cucumber and adding it to the salad for dinner gives the activity meaning and purpose. Instead of just pretending to be useful and playing a role they are engaging in real life activities that make them feel useful and a part of the family. This gives them a sense of belonging and importance.

From the age of two or three years – under adult supervision – a child can be given a cutting board and a blunt knife, to cut up fruit and vegetables. Start off with soft fruit such as a banana, or paw-paw so that they don’t need much effort or co-ordination. From about three years children have enough co-ordination to start peeling carrots. Children as young as two years can learn to break an egg. Simply place a bowl under a mug and break the egg into the mug and if it misses the egg lands in the bowl. You may need to stick your fingers into the shell with them a few times and scoop out the shell bits. However, by being a part of the family unit in such a meaningful way from the beginning develops children to want to help as they get older. Incorporate your child in all your household chores such as hanging up and folding washing, washing dishes – you do the glass ones and they do the plastic ones. From the time they can walk children can help put dishes away and pick up toys. All these are not only training your child in vital life skills but also building an attitude of service and responsibility. Children love feeling that they are trusted and needed, therefore by giving them the responsibility of feeding a pet or wiping a table builds their self-esteem too. As children are included in the household activity they feel needed and loved.

Sjouwen van melkbusen / Children helping out a...

These times of working together as a team deepen family relationships, build friendships and encourage siblings to make a plan and work together for the good of the family. Children don’t need to be bribed and rewarded for helping keep the home running smoothly instead you may have natural consequences such as if they haven’t fed the dog they may not have their supper. Or the family can’t go out to the park until all the responsibilities are completed.

December is such a wonderful time as Christmas creates so many of these co-working opportunities. It is however also a stressful, busy time. One therefore has to determine before each morning if little people will be playing a big part in our day and if so we need to dress with an extra layer of patience each morning.

Family is such a special and wonderful concept. It is designed to train and teach a child in so many ways and yet we get caught up in babying children, pampering them and rushing to meet their needs. Instead we should see children as a part of the family. By drawing our children into the centre of the home action, we are not only preparing them for life and teaching them many important skills but they grow up secure feeling needed, valued and loved too.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Good Family literacy value helps children find their voice.

So often we hear adults conversing and during a single conversation they will change their viewpoint every few minutes to align themselves with whoever is speaking. Even though, every person has views and opinions many are never voiced, simply because people haven’t been encouraged and inspired to share their standpoint. As parents we can assist our children, in developing the skills to share their voice, from when they are still tiny tots.

Until a child goes to school the home provides the primary influence within their life.  What the child sees and hears happening at home is what they’ll imitate.  Unfortunately the saying “do as I say and not what I do,” has no meaning for little people.  Children are created to imitate, it’s the way they were programmed to learn about the world and how they should respond to it. Have you ever wondered why a child has good or bad manners, or where they learned the vocabulary they use?  How often have they dressed in mom or dads clothes and said, “Look, me Dad.”  The same goes towards their intellectual development and attitudes.

If parents and later teachers value books, learning and excellence a child will value these too.  We often scoff at the “whys” of a two year old and yet he is often truly searching.  As they look around the home they make connections and satisfy their “whys” of daily life. As they get older however their minds desire to stretch and pull out further. This is often beyond the walls of the home and the streets of their town. Their “why” draws them out across field and mountain, shore and sea even right into the heart of the universe. From here they desire to step deeper into understanding life, fear, ecstasy, pride, victory and failure. Many of these stretch beyond his immediate experience so it’s through the reading of great books that they can dive into another place time and meet new people. This in turn will stretch and grow their person. Don’t however stop here, throw before them the histories, arts, music, handcrafts and long nature walks. Then you’ll see that even the young child has deep powers of attention, retention, assimilation and curiosity that will help them draw from these meaning and a deeper understanding about life.  As we feed our children this “mind stuff” they begin to take up their journey into self-education.

By adults making their speech colourful and full of life, using big words when talking to a child, talking slowly and stopping between ideas we are training a child to think carefully before he speaks. To choose his words carefully, to have breaks between topics and clearly construct his thoughts encourages a child to consider what they are saying and to say it well.

Yes this does begin upon the mother’s knee as the young child is read to often during their early years. To know a world lies beyond those silent pages, the child soon begins desiring to acquire the gift of reading for themself.  As they charter and explore these new lands deep rooted personal views and opinions begin to grow. As we mirror good speech patterns, encourage great books and curiosity and we value our children and their opinions from a young age, they are well on their way to developing opinions and a voice that they will uphold and will be clearly heard in life.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Creativity Takes Time

English: Keyskills Centre toy piano model BG01...

Da, dum, dum – Da, dum, dum – Da, dum, dum, dum, dum, Da, Da – dum, dum, Da – aaaah I feel my brain  being  slaughtered by my 9 year old at the piano. Try, try, try – getting it right… error – oops and so we start Waltzing Matilda again and again and again…. Hour after hour, day after day. On occasion I can let it play, other times I walk away, sometimes I encourage “outside time”, and often I declare “silence!” to the furthest corner of the property!

When however I’m in a quieter frame of mind I know that this is all part of the creative and educational process. By choosing the same piece and working it out himself and playing it over and over he’s not only learning to play Waltzing Matilda but he’s  learning about music, sound, the piano itself, composition, endurance and so many other skills but mostly he’s expanding his ability to create. No, he’s not creating his own new piece but he’s looking at a well structured piece of music, breaking it down and, although he doesn’t realise it, he’s learning from this how music works and how to place different sounds together to create beautiful pieces of music.

We teach children to never copy and yet how did all the great masters learn their skill? They were apprentices to other great artist, composers or writers. Unfortunately our children don’t always have direct access to masters but the internet does provide us with a wealth of excellence from which we can work.

I recently watched a You Tube video entitled Deadlines where children were asked to reproduce a creative artwork using a clock face as the centre of the picture. They were only given 10 seconds in which to complete the task. In this time they all managed to draw the clock face only. However, when they were given 10 minutes they produced some great pictures. The concept being that “creativity takes time.” This very simple video had a powerful effect on the way I see human activity. When I see children “wasting time” on “fiddling around” on instruments, drawing endlessly, kicking the ball back and forth, back and forth. This is often not simply messing around but instead brain connections, thought processes and creative understanding are being established through these seemingly pointless and repetitive activities.

First day of school. Little girl with a blue c...

As parents we so often focus on the end product, on excellence from the start and our child progressing forward. However these are times that they need to be able to simply be. To simply make mistakes – some of which are intentional to understand why that doesn’t work or fit together. In order for them to be truly creative we need to allow them the space and time to work things out for themselves. We also need to realise that as humans creativity is often not about the end product but about the process. So as we head into the New Year and our children are tempted to spend every minute after school engaged in a constructive, organised sport or activity we need to step up and say enough. It’s up to us to ensure our children have time to fiddle on the piano, scribble hundreds of cars or to pick flowers and arrange them on the table for dinner.

As I sat and listened to my son play some beautiful Christmas carols, and watched him beam with pride at what he’d figured out, I knew every off note and my head banging moments were so worth it!

Creativity – the Heart of Humanity

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm” by Earl Nightingale

Whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, the heart of humanity is the ability and desire to create. People are born to reproduce and create what is within their hearts. If the heart is filled with joy or pain, fear or anticipation it’s through the ability to create that one is able to express what lies deep within in such a way that the world outside is able to share it with us too.

From the toddler who squishes some play dough into a rough bird’s nest to the next Van Gough every human carries within them the need to be creative. So often as parents we spend our time, money and effort directing our children to their academic studies and sports that we leave little room for them to develop their creative being. Subjects such as art, music, drama and dance are viewed as luxuries, frivolous add-ones. When in fact these are the core of ones being and if a child is able to develop the skill in a creative area they will often be able to focus more on their academic work as they have a way to  pour out what is bottled up within them.

Somewhere along the line we began to rank and rate creativity. It became boxed and structured stating that only certain forms and methods were the correct means of creativity. We do therefore all tend to shun and pull away from creative forms that we are not fully proficient in. “Oh, I can’t sing,” or “don’t ask me to draw,” are comments that we hear more frequently from adults than we do a 5 year old. Why have we become so hampered? We are much more capable than a pre-schooler and yet we are inhibited by an irrational fear of not being able to create well enough. But well enough for who? Unless we are performing to an audience who has paid a great deal to see a master performer, we are all pretty much on the same ground. We are simply creating for the joy of the creation not necessarily to compare the final product with that of an expert.

Without the freedom, the time and confidence to create we are building a nation upon the fallacy that creativity is of no value and that a strong nation is built upon
the mind and physical strength alone.  However it’s not the functional policies and documents or the number of battles won that build a nation, instead it’s the creative, passion within humanity. It’s the poets writing to encourage young men to a battle, the journalist at the scene creating the image of horror or exuberance within the mind of the reader, it’s the cartoonist capturing a pivotal moment, the solo violinist that holds a single note at the perfect moment, the activist’s voice of passion drawing the people together, the protestors placards, the child’s sandcastles upon the beach and granny’s chocolate cookies that build a nation

Throughout history moments in time have been remembered and captured with a pen, a shout, songs, the paintbrush, musical chords, a photograph or legendary tales handed down word of mouth to generation after generation.

There is no doubt about it, creativity pumps within our blood and beats within our hearts. The question does however remain what are we doing to foster this need of creativity within the life of not only our children but within our lives too?

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Art of Storytelling

English: A man in heavy robes animatedly telli...

As far back as we can trace human existence; story telling has formed an integral backbone in all cultures!  Story tellers have not only passed down history mixed with legend but they also brought news, taught valuable lessons through narrative text and shared fundamental pieces of their culture with generation after generation.

 Yet once again in our technological, communicative age we’ve lost the need for good story telling.  Yes, many of us enjoy reading a good book but as the years go by so the standard of the books being produced are generally dwindling.

Without growing up amongst story tellers, or great books, our children now need to be trained to tell a good story. Many pre-schoolers and primary school children battle telling their news about what they did in the holidays or over a weekend. Yet, they can all tell great tales about another’s misdemeanours. When describing another’s disobedience or a dangerous feat, then their faces are alive and their voices animated.  Is this because adults actually look up and pay attention when children bring tall tales but seldom acknowledge their speech when told about finding a tortoise in their garden?

As soon as your child can string sentences together and recall an event, write it down, praise them, show them where you wrote it and then read it to someone else in front of your child.  If your child is not yet a competent writer ask them to verbally tell a story whilst you write it for them.  Too often we expect children to write down their thoughts before they are able to write competently.  This results in them having to concentrate exceptionally hard to form their letters correctly, worry about spelling and capital letters, during which time they lose the story line.  We then expect them to read their scrawled words to try rediscover where they were. We could compare this to expecting a fireman to perform a heart operation, whilst reading the manual on how to do it at the same time. Instead let’s help our children as best as we can. When their faces are beaming and the story is flowing, grab a pen and write it for them.

To help encourage story telling within your daily life allow your child to read their stories onto tape or video themselves.  On holiday recall the day’s events around a camp fire, encourage animation and expression.  At the dinner table talk about your daily experiences.  Let this happen in such a way that your child wants to be involved in the conversation and share their stories too.  Above all listen to your child and show interest in whatever it is they want to tell you.

Reading together, from birth, cannot be over emphasised.  A few generations back only a few people in each community could read.  This meant that story time was an event, everyone would gather around to listen to the story being read.  Through listening to the story teller’s voice and watching their facial animations others would have been able to recount what they had heard.  Too often we think once a child can read they no longer need to be read to.  On the contrary, they are now ready to learn how to read with expression and retell their own stories, which is learned through watching and listening to others read to them.

Story telling is an art that is being lost. Like all other arts it needs to be practiced and honed. Let us let our homes be an encouraging and safe place for our children to develop this fundamental life skill.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...