Intentional Parenting

Intentional Parenting


At our company-wide in-service training last Friday we had a session on Intentional Teaching. As I listened to Sharon Bergen present, I thought about the many parallels with parenting. Here are some of the notes I took that might transfer to your role as parents: 

  • Use what you know to inform what you do. Think about what your child is doing now and then determine what the next steps are in his/her development. It’s important to know where you are starting and where you are going. If your child is able to say two words together, make it your goal to help him string three words together. For instance, if he can say “Man walking” respond to him, with “Yes, the man is walking fast.” Soon you will hear him saying “Man walking fast.” It will take awhile for him to speak in complete sentences with proper sentence structure. But stringing three, then four words together, is a huge accomplishment which enables the child to express his thoughts to you.
  • Vocabulary is everything. Children should have a vocabulary of 10,000 words by kindergarten. Vocabulary impacts every area of learning – reading, math, science, social studies, etc. Reading to children and talking with children are keys to vocabulary building. Ask your child questions that challenge her to stretch. Talk with your child– not at her. Introduce new vocabulary whenever you can. When your child says, “The giraffe is big,” you can continue the conversation by saying “Yes, the giraffe is enormous. What else is enormous?”
  • Remember like a toddler. Toddlers learn to love you afresh every day. When you are with children, every day is a surprise. Hate that, or learn to live in the joy of it. Each day you have an opportunity to build a great connection with your child.
  • Be engaging – do new, interesting things with your child. Slow down, stay in the moment. Tune in to what interests your child and allow for time to promote those activities. Expand on your child’s skills whenever possible. If your child knows his basic colors, teach him some new color words instead of only talking with him about the colors he has already mastered. Children love new challenges and it is in that new learning that self-confidence is fostered.

Parenting – intentional or otherwise – is no easy task, and we will likely never achieve all of these goals each day. But if we are able to use them as a springboard to guide us, just think how fortunate our children will be.