One of the most important elements of parenting is preparing your child for life in the outside world. In fact, many parents see this as the goal, and that – heartbreaking though it may be – their child grow into a self-sufficient adult is the ultimate sign of excellent parenting.
However, despite the general agreement as to the importance of preparing your child for the life as an adult, there is substantial disagreement on how this should be done. The decisions regarding what your child should learn and when they should learn it are incredibly personal, so below, we have focused on an approach to teaching your children about the world – and it can be neatly summed up as “practical over theoretical”.
What is the difference between practical and theoretical teaching?
In the context of this post, we’re using the term to describe the methodology you employ when teaching your children skills they will need for later life. Here are a few examples:
- Theoretical teaching comprises of you telling a child how to save the money to buy something they want. You tell them what you are doing, why this is important, and even provide information on the products and services you are using to achieve this.
- Practical teaching is the exact opposite; you would explain to your child the basics of how to save money for something they want, but they would then put these ideas into practice for themselves.
For example, think of learning to drive a vehicle for the first time. You could be theoretically walked through every step in great detail, but if you then tried to drive, you wouldn’t be able to apply that theoretical knowledge to the practical task.
Why is showing children how to do things important?
Theoretical learning can be incredibly difficult to grasp. Children are usually more suited to active learning, which they participate indirectly. For example, the quickest way to deliver information to a classroom of children would be for the teacher to stand up in front of the class and deliver a 30-minute speech while the class takes notes.
However, modern schooling acknowledges that true learning requires immersion in a subject rather than just being informed of the theory. Children learn through a variety of interactive processes; making posters, acting in plays, creating artwork – all of these utilize theoretical knowledge for practical benefits, which is far easier for children to understand.
How does this apply to preparing children for later in life?
Educating your child with vital life skills should be immersive, involved, and practical. This could mean standing with them in the kitchen while they learn to cook a healthy meal, allowing them to be involved in the management of their child savings account rather than just being aware the account exists or having them join you for a household cleaning session.
Of course, you can still teach the theory behind why your children should do things in a certain way, but then ensure that you reinforce this with a practical explanation. Take, for example, a kitchen sponge. You can explain the importance of a clean sponge to your child then allow them to clean a sponge themselves. This is the best of both worlds; a sound theory, backed by a practical experience.
By using theoretical knowledge and practical experience to prepare your children for life in the adult world, you can be confident that they will be able to absorb the information in the most effective way possible. Good luck!