Imagine an Easier Way

Imagine an Easier Way

Your child is frustrated.

  • Won’t do what you’re asking.
  • Your suggestions feel like insults.
  • You offer to help and are rebuffed.

What do you do?

The temptation is to require cooperation or to abandon the task. Neither are satisfying long-term.

Instead, ask your child to engage his imagination.

Imagine an easier way to do this work. What would that look like?

You can encourage full-on fantasy solutions like “My brain would suddenly know the answers without trying” or “I’d have a magic pencil that would write my words for me.” Even these fanciful wishes are clues—he needs a way to feel smart, she wants a transcriptionist.

Your child might say: “It would be easier if I didn’t have to do it.” Gently rejoin: “That wasn’t the question. I’m curious what your imagination would do to stay with this problem, to solve it.” Then give a little space and time for the child to creatively problem-solve.

Sometimes the answer will come quickly. “I’d use a calculator.” “Ah! Good. Me too. Let’s try that today.” OR, a child may say, “I’d lie on the floor while you quizzed me.” Now you have a plan—a way to move forward. Not all ideas will work, btw. That’s okay too. That’s how your child learns about how he or she learns.

When we engage the imagination, we release

  • optimism,
  • collaboration,
  • and creativity.

We shift the responsibility to the child to find solutions and to be resourceful. Test all ideas. See what happens.

Become a student of your student.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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