Something clicked “Something’s clicked!” were my sister’s words to me when we were discussing her six year old daughter’s progress on the tennis court.
“I don’t know what’s happened but it’s starting to come together,” she added. It reminded me of my boys when they first started off in the game (as with any other sport). To begin with, their shots were almost mechanical in their execution – they were paying attention to every aspect of the shot, overemphasising each movement, making it look awkward.
And then at some point in time all those details came together in one flowing motion, which not only looked good but it worked. When children learn anything – whether it be crawling, walking, speaking, reading, writing or a sport – they need to learn the basics, the constituent parts and then learn to put them together, in the correct sequence.
This is the perceptual skill of analysis and synthesis and it takes planning.
Some of the keys to effective learning at all ages are repetition, persistence and perseverance – whether mastering a movement, deciphering a words or grooving a shot. I am so grateful that my sons’ tennis coach warned me early on to bear with her because not only would it take a while for their shots to look like something, but most importantly, it was essential to get the basics of each stroke absolutely correct from the beginning.
I have to admit there have been times when, like my sister, I have wondered when exactly it would all come together. And then, suddenly, something clicks and they go from functional to stylish and competent, almost overnight. But, of course, it has been weeks, months or years in the making. As our children’s cheerleaders, our gifts are patience, time and encouragement, for Rome wasn’t built in a day.
We need to step back every now and again, and sit and watch with wonder and amazement at the miracle that is our child, marvelling at the power of the brain- body connection. Life takes practice and time. We must support the journey.
NIKKI'S PARENTING TIPS
- They must learn the basics first before mastery.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your child.
- Honour the journey of ‘getting there’
- Marvel at the brain-body connection.
- Life takes time.
This is an extract from Nikki Bush's ebook Parenting Matters. Creative parenting expert, inspirational speaker and co-author of Tech-Savvy Parenting (Bookstorm, 2014), Future-proof Your Child (Penguin, 2008), and Easy Answers to Awkward Questions (Metz Press, 2009) firstname.lastname@example.org www.nikkibush.com