I love the idea of organic food. I know that, in many ways, it’s the ideal. But with five children, we couldn’t afford too many organic items on the grocery list or in the grocery cart! Thankfully, there was one area where my children got lots of organics—in their thinking. You see, when my children were small, there were no smart phones, iPads, or ear buds. When we went on a walk, or shopping, there was them and me. I was the entertainment!
Because they had no electronics to prompt thoughts or capture their attention, their minds came up with thoughts of their own—organic thinking. Or I would introduce concepts and ideas to inspire organic thoughts.
“Look, Megan,” I would say when we were driving to kindergarten, “Did you see that beautiful tree with the pink flowers? And look at that cute black and white doggie. Do you want a doggie too?”
Organic thoughts are born out of interaction with the world and with people. They’re created when little minds have the freedom and space unencumbered by electronic devices.
So make sure your children are getting the organics that really matter. Here are 5 ways to encourage organic thinking in your children.
1. Let Them Speak Their Mind
Allow your children to dialogue with you. Think about the children in the movie, The Sound of Music. At the start of the film, the children are basically expected to do what they’re told to do without any discussion. While this is necessary in some parts of parenting, the rule should be to let your children respectfully discuss their opinions and wishes with you. You can also use our TALK Conversation Starters to ignite discussions.
2. Expose Them to New Things and Ideas
Make life an exploration. Visit art exhibits, go see live music performances, and share interesting things you’ve read with them.
3. Ask Questions
When you’re reading to them or with them, ask questions such as, “So why do you think that boy acted that way?” (Try one of the books on our Book List!) As they encounter current events, ask their opinion. For more questions, download our Q & U app.
4. Let Them Figure It Out
Don’t jump in to help them or instruct them at every turn. Let them figure out that it’s easier to put on your pants before your shoes. Let them learn from experience. (If you need help in stepping back, look at our 10 Ways to Teach Your Children to Be Problem Solvers.)
5. Go Tech-Free
This might be more difficult for you than it is for them. Sure, they might be the ones crying for your phone or their iPad, but you’ll have to listen to it! Trust on this, the best way to help your kids think organically is to remove the electronic element. Let them look out of the car window when you’re out. Talk about the colors of the food packaging at the grocery store. Pull out blocks or LEGOs instead of turning on Baby Einstein. Even “brain building” games on a device fall far short of brain building achieved by interacting with life, instead of a screen.
Could your kids go a day without electronics?