“Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions“ -Oliver Wendell Holmes
We as adults have to be very careful of what we are exposing our little ones to. Instead of just applauding or reprimanding our kids for an act, we should make an extra effort of going beneath the superficial layer to find out the reasons. Why did they do whatever they did is the key to develop understanding. Besides one should never ignore the questions child asks. Even if you don’t know the answers you can assure her that you’ll find it out and let her know. If she doesn’t question, you need to sow the seed of curiosity in her. There is a famous African proverb that “Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors”. Therefore, to open up the minds of our little sailors we need to expose them to situations to create waves in their minds. Here are a few simple measures to achieve this:-
1.Observe the child and don’t intervene immediately
By simply not intervening you are giving the child opportunity to manage and handle situations on her own, this will also increase her self-confidence. But if you think her handling was not correct, that is the time you need to sit and have a conversation with her as an equal(remember)and impress upon her the logic behind it to alter her behaviour.
2.Asking the child open-ended questions
This will not only develop her critical thinking but also her imagination and creativity. So poke her to play with her thoughts and ideas. And sharing them would also develop her expression and language skills over a period of time.Till then you have to patiently try and understand her meanings beyond words.
3.Help the child to develop hypotheses
Before giving him answers or coming to a conclusion push the child towards thinking about possible results. During this process constantly engaging the child with your gentle nudging such as “that’s interesting” or “how do you think we might get more information on it” etc is vital. After which eventually direct her towards logical conclusion without actually giving the answers.
4.Encourage thinking in new and different ways
This will help to hone the child’s problem-solving skill as well. The challenge here is more for the parent to be receptive and appreciative of child’s ideas. It is only then that child would be motivated to think differently freely without being corrected every now and then.
We have to constantly remind ourselves that it is these little differences, judged as imperfections at times in each child, is what makes the children special in their own way. And this is where beauty lies.l
By Neha D Sharma
( Disclaimer: Views expressed by the author are personal & not subject to reproduction.)