What are “teachable moments” and why are they so important? (Part 2)

The primary focus of my blog is to demonstrate how to embrace teachable moments in our everyday lives. In Part 1, I discussed the background of teachable moments and shared the “A-HA moments” that led me to fully realize the benefits of using teachable moments as a professional and a parent.

Here in Part 2, I want to highlight some of the benefits of utilizing teachable moments.

5 Benefits of Embracing Everyday Teachable Moments

  1. Helps children build and practice a variety of skills in natural, unintimidating settings. My husband started this routine with the girls after bath time. When he’s drying their hair with the towel, they practice counting…first in English and then in Spanish. I was amazed the other day when I overheard them get to 30 in both languages. He still has to help them with some of the numbers, but they love it and are so proud of themselves!
  1. Builds a relaxed learning environment where children feel comfortable asking questions and pondering answers. One day in the van, the girls were listening to a Disney Princess Sing-A-Long DVD. Delaney stopped in the middle of the song from “Sleeping Beauty,” and asked me if I thought Aurora had ugly eyes. I was taken aback, and asked, “What?!?!” She then told me that they said it in the song. I told her that I didn’t think that’s what they said, and we would look it up when we got home. The actual lyrics say, “I know you, that gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam.” I’m not quite sure what she heard, but I know that I’ve misunderstood lyrics before.
  1. Allows an opportunity to peer into the way a child sees the world. A current source of confusion for Delaney (my 4 year old) is related to the concept of time. For example, she has learned the names of the days of the week, but “weekdays/school days” vs. “weekend/no school” continues to baffle her. It’s one of the first things she asks in the morning when she wakes up (“What day is today? Do I go to school or sleep?”) and one of the last questions before she goes to bed (“What is tomorrow? Do I go to school or stay home?). We’ve also figured out that an added part of the mystery is that of “napping” vs. “sleeping at night.” For example, she thinks that if she naps on Saturday afternoon, it will be Sunday when she wakes up.
  1. Establishes a background knowledge base on which a child can add future information. The last time we vacationed in Florida, we visited an aquarium in Sarasota. One of the big exhibits they had was on manatees, and we were able to see a few of them swimming around and eating. Fast-forward to last night when Delaney picked a National Geographic Kids book about the oceans. One of the first pictures in the book was of a manatee. When she saw it, her face lit up. I asked her what it was, but she couldn’t remember the name. I gave her a few hints to see if she could figure it out, and then I told her it was called a manatee. She immediately started telling me about some of the things she remembered from our trip to the aquarium.
D with manatee

Delaney hugging a manatee statue at an aquarium in Sarasota

  1. Provides daily opportunities to practice skills. What kinds of skills? It could be just about anything…math, manners, opposites, science, vocabulary, reading, etc. *This is the purpose of my blog…to help you see and utilize these 😉

I hope that I have been able to shed some light on what teachable moments are and why they are so important. My goal is to continue to share my experiences and insights to help other parents and professionals learn how to incorporate this learning approach into their everyday lives.

I’d love to answer any additional questions that you might have or read about any teachable moments that you’d like to share. Please feel free to ask or comment below.

Thanks for reading!

Melissa 🙂