We have likely all heard the adage: “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” The sentiment still rings true that doing something for someone else isn’t as helpful and effective as teaching them to do it for themselves. This is especially true with our children. We have created a “do for them” culture that has often neglected teaching them to learn to do things on their own. If they are ever to succeed in this great big world of ours, there many things that they will need to learn to do on their own. We need purpose to teach our kids how to fish.
Short Term Versus Long Term
It is usually a lot easier to just answer a question or put their shoes and jacket away for them, but in opting for the easier option, we are actually doing our children a disservice. It may take your two year old five minutes to put away her shoes when it would have taken you two seconds, but it teaches them a timeless lesson – to be self-sufficient, independent, and responsible. And while answering your children’s questions instead of encouraging them to find the answer themselves, you likewise rob them of the opportunity to develop self-reliance, analytical skills, and problem solving skills.
If you need a way to bridge the gap between practical hands-on chores and the technologically programmed minds of your children, here are some tech-savvy approaches to teaching your kids the basics.
Foster Their Interests
Teaching your child to do their own laundry, do the dishes, sew a button back on their shirt, or how to put air in the tires of their bikes are all good and necessary, but you should also try to observe their interests and passions and foster them in order to help your child progress in this area. Of course this isn’t true of every interest, but many major interests as a child can end up turning into a career. Helping them discover and develop these interests can also go a long way to setting them up for future success.
You may not be all that knowledgeable in their area of interest, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t able to help foster this. For example, if your child likes to play Minecraft, ask him or her to explain the game and design process to you. Teaching information to others actually makes things more clear in the mind of the one teaching, and can further instill a sense of confidence that your child knows what he or she is doing.
You can even foster this internet and computer interest further with being involved in a website project with your child. You don’t have to know anything beyond the basics – like using a good website template platform and looking through the domain portfolio to find an available name and purchasing it with help from this tool. As long as the registration part of it is set up by you, then your child is free to play around with the design part of it on their own and see what comes out of it. They will also be able to see what it looks like live as they make changes. This is a good way to let their creativity and imaginations run free while also helping them to develop useful skills for their future.
With Self-Reliance Comes Self-Confidence
Aside from helping children gain some necessary know-how, the other advantage of teaching your children to do things for themselves is that it actually builds up their self-confidence and independence. Whether it is having the confidence to go into a store and buy an ice cream cone, being able to return clothing at a store, being able to pick up the phone and order a pizza, or being able to map out a bus route to get to a desired destination and back home again. This type of confidence helps your child to become independent and self-sufficient so that they are able to do things on their own without your help.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Jenn and Tony Bot.