6 Ways To Improve Your Child’s Observation Skills
- Jun 1, 2022
Isn't it cute when your child copies your mannerisms? They notice and practice what they see in their surroundings – monkey see, monkey do. Bandura's social cognitive learning theory underlines how observation influences behaviour. Strong observation skills can lead to better performance in various aspects of life. For example, if your child observes you solving a math problem, they might mimic your steps and reach a solution faster while solving a similar problem.
But, what is observation? Typically, observers assess what they see and understand the finer details. For children, learning to read facial cues and understanding the underlying meaning of hand movements are essential observation skills, as it unlocks their intuition. Here are six methods you can use to teach your children how to observe more effectively:
1. Observe, Not "Look"
Observation polishes visual literacy – the ability to understand and communicate through pictures or symbols. Children have mirror neurons, which fire not only when they do something, but also when they see someone else doing it. This explains why children seem to get the hang of using technology a lot faster than adults – they observe people using technology and vicariously live through them.
To improve visual literacy and observation skills, you can encourage your children to engage in activities like movie analysis, picking the odd one out and spotting the differences. This will teach them to pay attention to small details in their surroundings, instead of a cursory glance.
2. Close To Nature
Children generally have packed schedules – they spend the majority of their day at school, and the rest of the day finishing homework and going out to play. Encourage them to take some time out to pause and connect with nature. The sounds of rustling trees and singing birds are naturally relaxing.
Running through wet grass and touching plants, trees, and soil helps children explore their senses and grow curious about their surroundings, thus improving their observation skills. What’s interesting about spending time in nature is that it is proven to have restorative effects. Therefore, hiking and stargazing can put children in a better mood and help them stay alert.
3. 5 Senses & 6th Sense
Learning to recognize sensory information and developing appropriate responses is essential for survival. The Hidden Angel Foundation affirms there are several benefits to having a multi-sensory environment, including heightened awareness and improved concentration. Activities such as fruit picking, memory games and treasure hunts are some of the best ways to stimulate a child’s five senses.
4. What? Why? How? When?
If your child keeps pestering you with questions, then congratulations, you are raising an observer! A key aspect of successful observation is being inquisitive. There is no book you can read to develop observational skills. It comes with practice and a whole lot of curiosity.
Promote active questioning to stimulate observation, improve information retention and facilitate learning. Activities such as debates and story time are perfect for this.
5. Express With Words Or Pictures
Writing and documenting are considered some of the best ways to break the monotony of the day and connect with the senses. Ask your child to engage in activities like story writing, painting, journaling and drawing in order to express themselves creatively. As they get better at expressing themselves, they will tend to capture more details in their daily lives.
6. Bye-Bye Phones
40% of children spend at least 30 hours a week on their smartphones. Therefore, taking time off social media or digital platforms is vital to actually observe what’s happening in the real world. Limit screen time and encourage your children to pick up activities like cooking, baking or anything else that engages them offline.
We hope these six tips hep you improve your child's observational skills!
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