Thursday, August 4, 2011

Teaching through Communication

Sneak Peek Friday

I am honored to have worked on the Academy of Coaching Parents International's HeartWise book called Parenting Responsively for Connection.  Along with 10 other ACPI Certified Parent and Family Coaches; I wrote the book to help parents answer some difficult parenting issues.  Every Friday this summer YOUR Parenting Question Blog will share a short excerpt from this book.  We hope that you find them information and helpful.  If you like what you read and you would like to order the E-book you may do so here at Strong Roots Family Coaching
Teaching through Communication
            Not only are we able to learn about each other’s days and become closer through sharing and listening at the family dinner table, but also as parents we can take advantage of being together with our children and creating natural, teachable moments.  

            Family dinners provide golden opportunities for our children to learn a variety of skills and to gain knowledge that will help them to achieve and succeed as they navigate in the real world.  The development of social skills, language and literacy skills, and even current event awareness- are all ingredients that contribute to success. It is amazing to think that all of this development can begin over a rich and savory plate of spaghetti while gathered around the table with family. 

            Modeling is a key factor in ensuring that our children’s young minds soak up the information and wisdom that we so desperately want to impart on them.  We must act the way we want our children to act and say things we want our children to say.  The development of social skills, for example, is influenced greatly through observing and interacting with others.  We often expect, however, certain behaviors of our children that we don’t always expect of ourselves. This serves as a critical reminder that our children are watching and listening to us 24/7.   Modeling appropriate table manners, for instance, is much more effective than constantly reminding and nagging our children into behaving. 

            We are our children’s teachers. Our children learn naturally by being around us (the apple does not fall far from the tree), yet there are some behaviors that need a little more nudging than others.  So how can we teach our children without losing our cool and sentencing them to their rooms for the 100th time?  By following the proverbial saying, “Practice makes perfect.”  Yes, as funny as it may seem, we can practice the behaviors that we want our children to master.  Doing so provides for a fun and non-stressful way of teaching.  If we want our kids to chew with their mouth closed, for example, we can have our children pretend play with us when not at the dinner table.  This is less stressful for everyone and will help our children to model desirable behavior at dinnertime.  Remember though, if we really want our kids to keep their elbows off the table and to wait patiently for their turn to talk, then we better make sure our own elbows are off the table and that we are not interrupting our children.  I can recount more times than I would like to remember when I have asked my children to do (or not to do) something just to have my children tell me I am guilty of the same behavior! 

Sharon Egan M.S. CPC
ACPI Certified Parenting Coach
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