Stealthy Teachers teach more, but work less. It’s all about sneaking in the learning while you’re doing other things, or with the stuff you find around you. Projects and games are great, but they’re not always practical. Sometimes you just need something quick to talk about or a way to kill some time, and I say, why not make sure those times are educational too?!
Here’s how you can start being a Stealthy Teacher TODAY:
1. Pick out 1 or 2 Target Skills for your kiddo to work on.
It might sound scary, but it’s not. Trust me, just start small. Maybe your child hasn’t learned their colors yet. Or perhaps they’re not counting yet. Your target skills may be colors and counting.
Don’t go crazy here and pick out 15 areas of study for your 2 year old. You will both be very sad and very frustrated. Keep it small, especially when you are just getting the hang of this.
Not sure what skills your child needs or where to start? Check out the important skills page!
2. Go into Stealth Mode, and start looking around!
The very greatest thing about Stealthy Teaching is that you don’t have to do any prep work! The world around you is FULL of teaching opportunities just waiting for you to notice them.
So how do you know what you’re looking for? I know what you’re thinking. It might be easy for professional teachers to find and exploit learning opportunities, but you’re and engineer/ writer/ chef with your first kid and don’t have the foggiest idea of what to teach!
Well my friend, that’s why you picked out those target skills. Every time you start to feel overwhelmed, just remind yourself, we’re working on colors, and counting. Colors and counting.
Now comes the fun!
See a color, say it. See it, say it.
“Let’s put on your blue shirt. Do you want the green ball? We’re having orange carrots and green peas for lunch.”
You get the idea. Easy, right? You can do it!
The counting? Same deal. Find some things count them. Count hops, claps, pretzels, cookies, kisses. Just keep it small to begin with (as with all Stealthy Teaching!) Focus just on counting 1-3 until your child is really comfortable with it. Then try 1-5.
3. Keep your exposure high, and your expectations low!
Children, especially young children, learn through repetition (Don’t we all, really?) The more exposure you give your child to their target skill, the faster they will learn! Just keep it up, every time you see an opportunity. After a few days it will become second nature to you, and you’ll even notice your child pointing things out!
Low expectations are also a key to this method. Picture a slow drip from a leaky faucet. The drops might be small, but they will fill your bucket eventually. Every time you point out those colors you are putting another drop in the bucket. It may take quite a while to see that your child has mastered everything, but don’t despair! Pretty soon your bucket will be full, your child will know their colors, and you’ll hardly even notice you worked on it!
Of course you could turn that water on full blast and fill it quickly, but then the water will splash and over flow, and it tends to be more mess and more trouble. You can always sit your child down and play color games and do drill and practice, but it tends to be a less natural approach that is harder on kids and parents. It also often leads to fatigue and burn out for everyone involved.
Another benefit of this “slow and steady” method is you can start working on skills with much younger children than if you were using direct instruction. You can start pointing out colors with very young infants, and they may be able to identify most colors by around 14 months. However, if you waited until they were “ready” to sit down and play games, you might not be able to start until 18 months or more.
Now take action!
Give it a try, what do you have to lose? There is not much worse than the “Mommy Guilt” that comes with feeling like you’re not doing as much as you should for your child. With these three easy steps, you can help your child learn and grown simply and naturally without the stress of planning or prepping materials. You can do it, and I’m here to help!
As always, if you have any questions or need help sneaking more learning into your day, leave a comment or send a message!