As children observe the world around them, they are constantly absorbing new information. Daily life offers an abundance of opportunities for spontaneous learning experiences. Below are a few examples of daily occurrences you can use to teach the children in your life with no need for extra planning.
- In public places, take the opportunity to teach a child about greeting others and using manners.
- If you run into another person you know, you can prepare your child by saying, “My friend Jennifer is walking over to us. When she gets here remember to look her in the eyes and say ‘hello’.”
- At the grocery store, talk about nutrition or budgeting.
- If your child asks for sweets or other unhealthy foods, instead of saying “no,” talk with the child about how snacks like fruits and vegetables keep our bodies strong, but things like candy bars don’t help us grow.
- At the beginning of a shopping trip, if the child is old enough, give him a calculator to subtract the price of each item from your total budget. This will help with developing number sense as well as an understanding of money usage.
- Time at a park can be an opportunity to learn about sharing and patience.
- Explain why taking turns using the swing set or slide is important. This is also a great opportunity to talk about how other children feel if they are left out or not shared with. These types of conversations will cultivate your child’s emotional intelligence and build empathy.
- When you are at home, use the time together to teach about household chores.
- Household chores provide an opportunity to practice teamwork and learn how it makes work go faster and more smoothly. Each person has a part to play that will lead to success. Teaching your child how to fold laundry and pick up around the house are also valuable life skills for your child to learn.
These are just a few common examples of everyday learning experiences. Moments like these happen daily, caregivers need to remain ready to engage. And remember, do not be discouraged if the child does not grasp the concept right away. Children learn through repetition, so keep it up and it will eventually sink in.