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Modeling vs instruction: two ways to teach a child

Modeling vs instruction: two ways to teach a child

Every child learns both directly and indirectly. Teaching Your Child deliberately is, therefore, just one way to shape your child’s behavior. Here are the two main strategies you can use with your children: modeling and instruction. 

Deliberate Modeling
Your child is learning new information on what and how to do things when watching you. Modeling is highly effective because children naturally copy their parents. Plus, it is always easier and more effective to demonstrate than to describe — you can try to describe how to kick a ball, or simply kick one. 

Modeling is, hence, the most effective way to influence your child. And you can model deliberately whenever you want your child to learn a specific skill or behavior. Here are a few things to consider on how to do that:  

Instructions
Instruction is a common form of teaching but often ineffective. It usually works for a specific purpose, such as reminding children of things they already learned from modeling. For children, and in particular young children, modeling always trumps instructions.

The reason modeling is so powerful is that it teaches children what to do and who is doing it. When daddy walks the talk and does something, instead of just talking about it, it leaves a significantly more relevant impression in the child’s mind.

However, there are times we can’t model behavior, so we need to turn to instructions. Here are a few ideas on how and when to use them: 

For a complex task — for example, putting on clothes — you can make a poster for your kid to come back to anytime.

Making the methods work
Whichever strategy you choose, these tips can help you get the desired results:

Whichever way you choose to educate your child, don’t be in a hurry to get results from your endeavor or pressure them to perform.

Some skills take years to master. Walking takes a year, running takes around two, and applying math concepts to the real world (like dividing a recipe into half portions) takes up to ten years. 

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