Who knew my son could be such a good teacher? I sure didn’t. I spend so much time instructing him that I never let him do the teaching. So when he hung up his new miniature indoor basketball net last week, I asked him for a tip or two. “Here, Mom,” he said in a patient tone. “Why don’t you try pulling your arm back like this and spin the ball underhanded?” It worked! I complimented him on his teaching and made a note to let him take that role more often.
Of course, I know that parents are the main teachers in a family, but it’s good to let our children hone their teaching skills too. They’ll need them one day at work, in friendships, and even in their own parenting days. So add these phrases to your conversations with your kids: “How do you do that? What’s the best way…?” and “What are your ideas for getting this done?”
So as you spend time with your child, look for opportunities to encourage and allow him to teach you. Use these phrases as you do. Oh, and try not to correct your child or give advice after you’ve let him take the lead–unless it’s necessary for safety. Let him experience the joy of teaching.
- How do you think we should do this?
- How did you figure that out?
- Hmm, what do you think we should do next?
- I can’t get the hang of this–how do you do it so well?
- What’s another way we could try this?
- What are the steps we should take?
- How have you seen other people do this?
- Can you show me what you learned in _______ class today?
- When I was in school we did it like this. How do you do it?
- I’d love to learn how you ________. Will you show me?
- You are a great teacher!
- The way you explained that to me really helped.
- Can you explain that again, please?
- Will you please show your brother/sister how to do that?
- Good teachers make good leaders–that’s you!