Mom Is Also The #1 Teacher!
Mother’s Day is coming up and the Meemli team would like to take this opportunity to salute moms for being such amazing teachers! They’re there from the beginning of life and stay constant all through it. Think that ‘teaching’ only happens in the classroom with ‘real’ teachers? Think again. Here’s a brief list to help you recognize the teacher inside every mother. (To be fair, many fathers do much of these too – their turn will come next month!)
Mother’s lap is a child’s first classroom. The first five years of life impacts how well babies learn and grow throughout their lifetimes. This is probably when you as a Mom do your most intensive teaching to a child who’s doing a fantastic job imitating a sponge and soaking up every bit of knowledge.
The survival stuff.
Learning to eat, drink, climb stairs, crossing streets safely, identifying a dangerous pet from a friendly one. The basics for living.
Survival is not sufficient. With every hug and cuddle you teach your child about love, trust, friendship and all those intangibles that make life worth living.
Even if you may not call them ‘academics’ (though many do, even for toddlers), you give your child the building blocks for learning: language, math, science, arts. It may be mommy-and-me play for you, but you are teaching and your little one is learning a lot (maybe that why kiddos need those naps!).
Your kid is off to a ‘real’ school, with ‘real’ teachers (yes, they do play a big part in your child’s life) for most of the day and you’re no longer the primary source of their learning. But you’re still teaching, though some of what you teach is now influenced by external factors and there are new areas to explore.
At this stage, you’re primarily focused on helping your child learn to handle the requirements of school, the ‘schoolwork’ and ‘homework’, not to mention the tests, the projects, and the to-do lists that the teacher sends home. Learning how to cope with school is important and a trusted, loving source like mom makes a huge difference.
Even though your child is being ‘taught’ at school, you may find yourself helping (‘teaching’) him how to do math or interpret the guidelines for a book report while teaching study skills and habits (turn off the TV while doing homework!). This is the time when you also encourage your child to try other activities like sports and music, so she can learn new skills and get a taste of the many wonderful things she may enjoy learning and doing.
For sure this is happening during the early years too and will continue through adolescence, but now you and your child can name the traits (honesty, kindness), identify their presence or absence in role models and discuss why they’re important. You’ll be finding teaching moments everywhere from shopping trips to soccer fields!
The pre-teen and teen years are a significant transition, and you may be shifting to a more supportive role in your teaching. Most of all, what you’re doing now is helping your child prepare for adulthood and all that it entails. You’re getting your child ready to take on the world!
Maybe you can’t help your child with math anymore, but you try to find someone else who can or encourage him to go talk to his teachers. Maybe you can’t critique an essay, but you help your child brainstorm what she should write about for a personal statement. And you teach your child how to plan and juggle various commitments and deadlines – after all, you do plenty of that yourself!
It’s about dealing with their peers (Friends! Boyfriends! Girlfriends!), as well as about speaking up at school, asking for summer jobs or help from people they know. And you’re there to teach them how to recognize, accept and handle their feelings and manage their interactions (and give a hug and box of tissues when needed).
Your kids are learning about the world and their role in it. They may become aware of the major problems (environment, inequality etc.) and you may be part of many long (and heated) discussions on the future of their world. You may be learning something yourself while offering guidance in understanding these complex issues.
There’s a long list of ‘simple’ things that you get your child to do like managing money, doing laundry, cooking meals. All the things they need to know to be able to head out into the world on their own.
Let’s face it, once your kids have discovered the Internet, it is easy to believe that they can learn ‘how’ to do just about anything from a YouTube video. But usually not the ‘why?’. And Moms have been answering that question from the time when humans first learned to call out for ‘Mom!’.
What do you think? Is ‘teaching’ a big part of being a mom for you?