Getting to know your child


January 02, 2000|By Jerdine Nolen

Editor's note: Jerdine Nolen writes today about ways to encourage successful child-parent communications. Her column appears biweekly.

The relationship between our children and ourselves is vital to our children's success in school, in social relationships and in the wide world.

Setting up this talking and listening exchange can be one of the most important things we do to mold and shape their becoming well-informed, educated people. We have numerous opportunities to key in on getting them to respond positively to learning within the classroom.

Here are some suggestions:

* Enhance your child's life by incorporating beauty into it.

* Marvel at the things in nature.

* Show them the beauty in nature.

* Watch the sunset together.

* Show them the night sky.

* Explore the inner workings of a flower.

* Track the growth of seeds.

* Sit and watch the grass grow.

* Practice silence together.

* Show delight in your child's enthusiasm for learning and knowing.

* Create safe opportunities for new learning.

* Earn their trust by guiding them, but not going too far.

* Support them through learning risky new things.

* Show them things.

* Let them lead sometimes.

* Have them plan a family day or part of the day.

* Share your real-life stories and books with your child.

* Talk to your child.

* Engage them in conversation about their lives.

* Listen to your child.

* Learn what kind of thinker they are.

* Find out what they think of the world.

* Share what you think of the world.

* Be open to their ideas.

* Tell them the story of their birth again and again and again.

* Share the stories of their "first time you ..."

* Read the newspaper, books, magazines together.

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education, and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

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