Tips from Teachers: How to Improve Your Parenting Skills
Break It Down
Large multi-step tasks or projects can be daunting for anyone, particularly a child. Nicole Stadler, a fifth grade teacher at the Town School in New York City states, “When children are faced with a large project with many different parts, they can often shut down because they don’t know how to approach it. The best thing you can do is teach them how to look at the big picture, break it down, and start with one small step. Then they don’t feel so overwhelmed.”
Set your child up for success by breaking large tasks down into easy, more manageable ones. Together, brainstorm a good approach to completing projects—whether it be tying shoes, potty training, homework, or an at-home project. Collaboratively come up with a checklist and a timeline so that the project can be completed thoroughly and on schedule. While your child may really rely on you to help break down the task, be sure you approach the project by getting her input and ideas from the start. Begin by asking questions such as, “What materials do we need to complete the project? What is the first thing we should do? How long should this step take?” and so on. Determine which steps your child can do on her own and on which steps she may need some help from you.
Not only does this model an organized and focused approach, it shows your child how important it is to work collaboratively to achieve a desired end. Eventually, through modeling and practice, your child will have an excellent example of how best to meet the challenge of a large project.
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