Tips for “Tiger” moms (and dads) to engage with their kids
For anxious parents, letting their children venture off into a world of knowledge, without keeping close tabs on them, can sometimes be nerve-racking. This happens not least when children go off to school, or when they attend play sessions that are out-of-bounds to parents.
The Esplanade’s popular children’s theatre production, Child’s Play, adopts the same approach of encouraging children to learn independently, and in the company of their peers. So, unlike other productions for children where parents accompany their young ones, adults must sit out this performance, which caters to children aged six to 11.
Although parents cannot attend Child’s Play, they don’t have to miss out on the fun. In fact, they have an important role to play – reinforcing their children’s experiences in the show and helping them to see learning as fun.
We ask veteran theatre director Danny Yeo for tips on how parents can engage their children to facilitate learning, while keeping it lively and enjoyable. Read on for our suggestions.
Parents can engage their children meaningfully through simple steps such as asking probing questions and listening patiently to replies.
- Ask probing questions
Ask “what, who, where, why, how”. In the same way that the theatre production invites young audiences to peel back the layers on scenarios in the play, parents can pose the same questions to children about everyday experiences and bring the theatre experience into family settings and life itself, to create meaningful conversations.
- Listen patiently
Parents should listen to their children recount and interpret their experiences. This allows them a peek into their children’s minds, and it also allows children a chance to reinforce their learning.
- Show interest and participate
Children model after their parents’ behaviours and attitudes; if parents show an interest in a subject, or an arts event, their children are likely to be curious, and possibly follow suit. The young ones are also more likely to perceive conversations around the topic as a part of life, rather than instructional learning.
A version of this article was first published on 12 Feb.