Recently, I ran into a former teammate who happens to be half my age. We had a nice chat, and he mentioned that just a week earlier he and his wife became parents for the first time. His excitement was apparent.
When I asked if I could offer some advice, he agreed. Suddenly, in my mind, I was back in the classroom.
He acknowledged that it was important to read to and with his child. We hear that a lot. What we don’t hear a lot of is the need to demonstrate thinking for our children. As parents, grandparents, teachers and babysitters we can, and should, play an active role in the development of thinking. While talking to infants we should share our thoughts and describe how we are solving problems. We need to think out loud.
I gave my friend some examples of how we can do this:
“What should we have for supper? We ate hot dogs last night, so perhaps we will have fish tonight.”
“According to the forecast it probably won’t rain for another week. I wonder how the farmers feel about that?”
I have a package to mail, we need to pick up an ice cream cake and we want to visit Nan. I know what we’ll do; we’ll go to the post office first then visit Nan. If we pick up the ice cram cake last, it will have less time to melt in the car.”
“Let’s see if I can estimate how long it will take us to get the groceries. We only have 10 things to pick up. If there is no line-up at the checkout, I predict we can be in and out within 15 minutes.”
Whenever our children hear us think out loud, and every time we encourage them to think for themselves, we are investing in their future. We need to model good thinking. Doing so will help them to question, to explore and to discover the world.
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