Teachable Moments

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Although most of us have heard the term teachable moment, do we really know what it is or how to take advantage of it? If you observe your child on a regular basis, he’ll provide opportunities for you to have several teachable moments each day, beginning at birth. Teachable moments are usually unplanned, unrehearsed, and often catch parents off guard. In order not to miss teachable moment opportunities, you need to be prepared for them.

The dictionary describes teachable moments as moments of educational opportunity: a time at which a person, especially a child, is likely to be particularly open to learn something or responsive to being taught or made aware of something. These opportunities allow children to advance their general knowledge skills. These moments also offer an opening for parents to communicate with their children.

To take advantage of teachable moments, try the following: - Listen to your child and answer their questions as soon as possible.

  • Explain your answers. Use more than simple yes or no answers.

  • Give your child a little more than she asks. Answering one question may lead you to give information about something else.

  • Use big words. Although your child may not know the meaning of certain words, use them in your explanation and then explain them.

  • Create opportunities for teachable moments. Go for walks with your child. Ask if/then questions. Watch television programs together.

  • Finally, make it a point to have at least three five minute conversations per day with your child. During these conversations, the teachable moments will present themselves.

Participating in teachable moments with your child can expand her vocabulary, life experiences and general knowledge. Academically, she’ll be less apprehensive about asking questions and exploring possible solutions. Teachable moments also provide an opportunity for imagination development and help increase vocabulary skills. Don’t miss these opportunities.

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