Teach Your Older kids to Coach Your Younger Ones


A Different Approach to Learning

As Jean Piaget (9 August 1896 – 16 September 1980) suggests, a fundamental aspect of child development from as young as a newborn, is the child’s environment. One point many parents tend to overlook is the fact that a child-centered environment is most beneficial to a growing child. A child-centered environment could include a number of characteristics, making learning more conducive within your home. From having child-sized furniture, materials/toys that target specific objectives for children and even getting older siblings involved would create a more natural environment for any child.

John B. Watson (January 9, 1878 – September 25, 1958), and American Psychologist, along with many other theorists suggests in an environmentalist theory, that a child’s environment contributes greatly to his/her development and learning. Children’s behavior and development are shaped and affected by the reactions they give towards their surroundings. This is one of many reasons why kindergarten or preschool is one of the most beneficial environments for a child to be in. Maria Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) also suggests that children are natural teachers to themselves and to each other, and when given due freedom to exploit that and with proper guidance, will build fine characters in children as well as quicken the learning process.

Having older children around your younger ones is a brilliant idea since very young children tend to ‘want’ to be like their older sibling. How then would we know if the older child is teaching the right thing?  Speak and explain clearly to your older ones that their younger siblings tend to follow closely by example. This means through both actions depicted and verbal communication – what their eyes see and their ears hear. Give examples of how an action (such as throwing a toy across the room) would cause the younger sibling to mimic it thinking it is right or okay. On the other hand, actions such as sharing a toy or cleaning up a mess will help younger siblings mimic positive behavior.

As adults, we can also portray good behavior to encourage and indirectly send messages to our older kids on how they should react around younger ones. Older children tend to lean towards guiding or mentoring younger siblings just like how parents do. This builds a sense of confidence in them and gives older siblings the opportunity to be just like mom and dad. As a role model to the younger ones, older children will adopt good behavior to set good examples to their little brothers and sisters. A gentle reminder every now and then will also help guide the older kids in this direction. In this instance, actions speak louder than words.

About TOYconomy

TOYconomy is an online toy rental and exchange program that can help you significantly decrease toy clutter and help you save money and resources by being more selective about the toys you choose. Founded and established in 2010 by a mother of three in Richmond, VA, TOYconomy’s mission is to help you keep your kids happy and healthy without having to burn big bucks.

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TOYconomy is available at http://www.TOYconomy.com/.

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