In our 5th post in the Parent Skillz Series we address the concept of Edutainment. It is well known that when we learn something we best understand it and concretize it in our knowledge when we play with it. Men will play with their work shop tools, women will play with a new hair style, and of course children will play with their toys to discover all of the facets of that toy through imaginative and creative interaction.
Be the parent your child needs you to be. They need you to be in their world. That means interacting and playing with them on their level to prompt them through the tasks and chores they don’t want to do. Mary Poppins sang, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…” Here are some tips and examples on using effectively using edutainment with your child.
1. Practice Healthy Competition
The child brain loves novelty. That is why healthy competition and games get them excited. You can help your child accomplish the daily tasks they do not necessarily want to do by adding a fun edutainment component.
Edutainment in daily tasks may include incorporating a game or competition into their nighttime routine to prompt them to get ready for bed, pick up their toys, or brush their teeth long enough.
For instance, when it’s time for bed, create a healthy, fun competition that gets them excited. You might tell them, “Okay! It’s time to get ready for bed! Let’s see who can race to the bathroom the fastest!” Once this task is completed, follow up with “Who can get their toothbrush out and put the toothpaste on the fastest?” or “Who can brush their teeth the longest?” For tooth brushing, when you know the two minutes is up, you can finish first, allowing them to win the competition of brushing for at least two minutes. Then, follow up with how surprised or excited that you are that they won.
Do your children walk through clothes on the floor to get to their bed? Put up a basketball hoop and place the clothes hamper underneath it and play basketball using clothes as the ball.
2. Be Playful with Your Child
Your child is not going to behave all the time. They are not perfect. When your child throws a temper tantrum, is upset or is insistent on something, add something playful to the mix that takes their mind off it.
If my son throws a temper tantrum, sometimes I pretend in a silly way that I am falling and hurt my foot and he laughs. Or, if he sits in a chair that I specifically told him that I am going to sit in, I playfully act like I am going to sit on him. He likes the silliness, and it detracts and redirects him away from his original temper tantrum or negative behavior.
Playfulness and silliness work, but other times creative solutions help your child accomplish their tasks and chores. Homework is one thing that your child may not enjoy. Think outside the box to what excites them and incorporate that into their homework time.
Younger children love tents, so building a tent or fort in the living room together where they can go to do their homework is an exciting way to mask the doldrums of homework. For teens, coffee shops are common favorite hangouts, so going to one where they can have their favorite coffee drink and do their homework is a treat that they will look forward to. Both scenarios change your child’s negative outlook on homework to something positive.
How edutaining are you as a parent? Whatever your level, you can better implement healthy competition, fun, and creative approaches to motivate your child. A child’s way of interpreting things is rarely ever black and white, usually because they are not eager to learn. When you edutain, you help them learn in a behavior that they embrace.