Bobby’s mantra is ‘I believe I WILL learn.’ We must give the message to our children that any skill is attainable to them if they have this attitude. It is vital that we don’t shut them down before they even start by saying things like “Well I was never good at maths. You either get it or you don’t!” By doing this, you are giving them permission to switch off! The first and most important step towards success is the feeling that we can succeed in the first place.
It is important to concentrate on the process of learning than on the product. For example, if your child is drawing a picture or making a model, ask them questions about what they have chosen to draw or make. This is more meaningful than just telling them it is a great picture. It is better to be interested in their choices – their process. This encourages them to feel passionate about what they are doing and talk about it with you.
Praise Effort and Enthusiasm!
We all love to praise our children for what they do. But avoid telling them how ‘clever’ or ‘brilliant’ they are even though you feel proud of them! This can put a child on a high pedestal where they feel they have to be clever at all times otherwise they will fail. It is much better to praise a child’s effort and enthusiasm in a task or the thoughtfulness they have put into something. Again this makes it about the process – not the product.
Also, we like to give our children rewards when they succeed – but this comes with a health warning. We do not want children to learn because they want or expect a reward at the end of it. The Cape Ability approach is about intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation/reward – the gift IS the success and sense of achievement they feel in the process of learning.
Look for the fun!
As Mary Poppins sings, ‘A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down! Remember how much fun those children in the film had tidying their bedroom? Encourage your child to find the joy in as many things as possible and model this yourself. Easier said than done I know!