Saturday, November 26, 2016

Anything for a Treat

What this clip and see if you can stop yourself from giggling. 

What makes this baby imitate a dog? It is certainly not because doggy treats smell good.

Infants are continually watching our actions and committing them to memory. This is an amazing thing given the fact their brains are still learning how to create and retrieve long term memories. Infants are even born able to imitate as research on babies less than two days old shows infants imitating facial expressions. 

Research has shown us that infants have four basic ways of learning. They mature and develop skills such as large motor skills. They learn from trial and error. They learn from exploration, and they learn from imitation.

Yup! The same infant who has difficulty getting his fist reliably into his mouth is learning by watching you. They learn these lessons and can repeat these actions even in different settings. The interesting thing found in research is that even when adults make mistakes in demonstrating something, the infants will often imitate the action without the mistake. In fact, one study showed that infants remembered the action better if there was a mistake. Perhaps it required more thinking to watch, interpret, correct and execute what was seen. (Meltzoff, 1999)

This is good news for parents. It means that we do have a strong influence on our children – an even stronger influence than the family dog!

It means that children are learning from us, even when we do not see evidence of that learning.  What children learn in a loving family is what is buried deep in the neural connections of the brain.

Use this learning/teaching gift God has given you. What can you model for your children today?

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I Corinthians 11:1, ESV


Friday, November 11, 2016

Growing your mind

Getting information about school out of your child is a pretty typical parenting challenge. “What did you do in school today?” is often met with a shoulder shrug or a report about a recess game. 
Encouraging children to talk about school is a good thing.  Such discussions encourage meta-cognition, which is a way to evaluate learning. Carol Dweck is a Psychology researcher and she has found that particular questions encourage children to think about effort and personal improvement rather than worrying about comparison. 

Children who think about stretching themselves develop thinking skills that help them to overcome obstacles and solve-problems. Growth mindset thinking not only builds a healthy self-efficacy, but it also reduces anxiety since in focuses on the hope found in learning and improving.

Try some of these questions on your next car ride home:

  • What did you do today that made you think hard? 
  • What mistake did you make that taught you something? 
  • How did you think about your work and improve it today? 
  • What problem did you work on today?

 These questions also work for faith thinking:

  • What happened today that made you think about Jesus?  
  • Did you apologize or forgive someone today?  
  • Did you find someone who needed your kindness today? 
  • What mistake did God help you learn from today?