This is what we often tell parents: “When you can engage the heart of your child, you can engage their mind.”
Think about it: throughout your own education journey, didn’t you do well in a subject due to some emotional links – it could have been your favourite teacher taking the subject, something about the subject that matches your interest or even your friends in your class.
The most important aspect of parenting is the ‘Education of the Heart’. The heart is controlling one’s abilities. In order to cultivate the child’s heart, convey your love to your child. That is the basic. Place the highest priority on building the mutually trusting relationship between you and your child before caring about what your child can do or not do, or considering discipline.
Every child’s heart is satisfied when the parents show their excitement from the bottom of their heart to what the child does, and raise him/her by accepting, loving and praising. By doing so, the child will come to place complete trust on you, control him/herself, and start accepting your thoughts without objecting.
Tips on how you can learn and bond with your child
- When attending any activity with your child, participate together with your child.
Don’t just watch them! Join in the fun! Be it at a play-centre, attending a music class or like a Shichida class where you are working as a team with your child. When you are there, immersed in the activity with your child, it definitely makes the activity a lot more fun!
- While we all have tasks and chores, where possible involve your child:
- Go shopping with your child – while it may take you 5 secs to get 6 oranges yourself, spend 10 minutes to work on counting with your child. Have your child help put each orange into the bag as he/she counts. There is fantastic quality time spent while your child is working out that six is not just the number ‘6’ but it equates to a quantity of six.
- While preparing dinner, have your child on a high-chair or toddler table near you to ‘prepare’ a meal too. Use toy food or play-doh (if older). Talk about colours that they see and what you have to match with your food and theirs. For the preschoolers, they can help collect the number of sets of cutlery and help to setup the table.
- Read with your child.
Even when they can read by themselves, they will always love to snuggle up with you. Make up stories or invent a different ending of the story with your child. Encourage their imagination.
- When you visit the playground, spend the time playing with them.
Go on the slide with them, push them on the swing, attempt the monkey bars with them etc. Use those opportunities to give them words, vocabulary and information of things around.
Spending time with you is much more special than you think. When a child learns through time spent with you, it is not seen as a task or chore to learn. It is a special parent-child bonding time that will always be part of their childhood memory. Best part of it all, they would not even realise that they were learning then!