Our parent 'teaching moments'...

During childhood we, as parents or caregivers, teach our children what games to play and how to play them.  We may not even purposefully set out 'to teach', but almost every interaction we have with our child is a teaching moment.

When we do something that we consider routine (wake up in the morning and go straight to the bathroom to brush teeth) or ritual (saying goodnight in a certain way) we are cementing certain social positions and 'ways of being' in our family.  What this means is we reinforce how our family does things, why our family does things a certain way or when we do things.  This leads to our child (ren) understanding how our family unit functions.  These skills then get reinforced over the years by the way we react and interact with our children as they grow and develop.

As our child grows, his knowledge of and skill in these procedures, rituals and routines will help to determine what opportunities he will have available to him both in our family and beyond. His attitude towards these activities will determine what he will/will not make of these opportunities and what the outcomes will be.  So even when he is a 5-year-old battling to get dressed, he is learning how to achieve an outcome, what attitude is acceptable/unacceptable during this activity and how others respond to him.

We, parents or caregivers, often make choices (schools, holiday activities, opportunities for teaching) that reinforce our own routines, rituals or activities.  We look to expose our child to more situations that will reinforce our own teachings.  This is the way we build trust, cohesion and unity in our family unit - but remember that it is also your responsibility to teach your child about the larger social world he needs to navigate.  So model inclusion, tolerance, respect and diversity so that your child learns to be accepting of all, whilst feeling safe and secure in your own family unit.

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