Thursday, February 21, 2008
Helping Your Child to Become More Perceptive...
We've been talking about children in general and highly perceptive children in particular. No matter where a child starts life in this regard, we can help them develop and channel perceptive abilities. Here are some practical ideas. (I'm assuming that you're already reading to and with your children and that you are showing an interest in their outside schoolwork or teaching them at home.)
1) Teach your children scriptural precepts.
2) Talk with them about spiritual things throughout the day, not in a self-righteous or preachy way, but in connection with events that arise.
3) Notice with them the bigger picture of how beautiful nature is, as well as the many intricate details found in nature.
5) Direct their attention to the details in something beautiful and man made, such as a quilt or a homemade chair or a piece of art in a museum.
6) Play any of the variety of games called "Concentration", which help train memory and observation. One easy version is placing several pairs of matching cards face down, in random order. One person starts and turns over one card. Then he turns over another. If he picks a matched pair, he gets to keep that pair. If the pair is not a match, he turns them both face down again. As the game progresses and more cards have been exposed, observant players will remember which cards are where. So, if a player flips over one card, he may remember exactly where it's match is. The person who collects the most pairs wins. There are lots and lots of simple and inexpensive games that develop observation and memory, so try new ones from time to time.
7) Place well-thought out limits with regard to TV, computer use, computer games, etc. These things can be good, provided the subject matter is wholesome. In fact, wholesome computer games (there are a few) can train eye and hand coordination as well as teach other material. But, over-reliance on them teaches a child to be entertained rather than to entertain himself. Too much use can dull concentration and diminish a child's perception of the real world.
8) For very young children: Find or draw a chart with lots of stick figure faces with different kinds of expressions. Ask the child to decide if the face looks happy, sad, angry, etc. Ask him how he knows. Ask him what the happy person might be thinking, etc. As he gets older, watch to see if he absorbs social skills naturally or if he needs help recognizing social cues. Teach him basic manners, which are based on being perceptive of how to be considerate to others.
9) Consider whether your child understands how to organize time, space, and materials according to what is appropriate for his or her age level. If he struggles with this, consider what the problem might be. For example, a nine-year-old can be pretty good at cleaning his or her room. But, if you send the child in there to clean the room and he or she doesn't get the job done, ask yourself why. Is he getting distracted with other things? Is he overwhelmed with the task? Is there some laziness there? Is he a big-picture kind of person, and is it hard for him to notice details, such as an item that's out of place? Deal with the child according to what you think the problem is. Ask the child, "What steps do you need to take to clean your room?" On an index card, write out the various steps you both come up with. "Look for toys on the floor and put them away." "Make bed". "Straighten my desk." "Dust furniture", etc. Set a reasonable time for the task to be completed and ask the child to check off the steps as he works through them. When a child struggles with managing time, space, and materials, chances are that laziness and a lack of discipline are involved in there somewhere, and those must be dealt with. All children have to learn at some point to finish tasks in a timely and efficient manner and to choose responsibility over goofing off. (Some of us adults have to work on this, as well). But, don't just write off that as being the whole story with your child. He or she probably does need your help to develop his powers of perception in this area. With armed with the proper skills, he or she will probably find more satisfaction in a job well done.
10) Involve children in helping others. As is appropriate for their age, take them along with you when you help others. A very young child may not be ready to handle some serious situations. But, he or she can go with you when you deliver food to someone who is temporarily ill or the mother of a brand new baby. Or, he can help you make a card for the new person in the neighborhood, etc. Involve your children in preparing for birthday celebrations, parties, etc. All of this trains them to be perceptive of other people's needs.