Proverbs are interesting because they are sound advice that are summed up in short sentences. Think of one that comes to your mind with regards to healthy eating?
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’
‘You are what you eat’
‘Eat to live, not live to eat’
Did any of the above pop up in your head?
The benefits of reading widely from young are similar to using proverbs when talking to children. It helps in their speech and language development.
No, I do not mean getting them to learn a new proverb every month or introducing proverbs like ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease’ or ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. And NO, we are not going to make them repeat the proverb word for word or get them to write it down.
Repetition (on our part) is the key here. There are many situations where the same proverb can be thrown in to highlight a situation, especially one that generates positivity. Proverbs are learnt on a subconscious level through exposure. Once the children have them imprinted on their minds, they will be able to use it in appropriate situations to express themselves, and eventually in their writing.
1. Practice makes perfect
This is one of the very first few proverbs we unwittingly introduce to our children. The proverb is a motivating piece of simple sound advice that can be said and explained in situations when we see the children in the midst of honing their motor skills, language or pre-writing skills.
Example: During a baking session with your child, you share that although you are not very good at it, you will get better with practice – because practice makes perfect.
2. Great minds think alike!
One of my frequently used proverbs - it is like a mental ‘Hi-5!’ we give to kids when we thought of the same idea or solution together. Say it with good energy!!
3. Tomorrow is another day
We have to accept that there are days that simply do not seem to go right for us. This proverb reminds us that there is hope in the future and it brings about new opportunities for ourselves. As our children grow up, we hope that the seed of optimism is planted in their character from young to build self-efficacy.
Example: You see that a child is going through one of those days where nothing seems to go right for him or her. You share the proverb and highlight that tomorrow is another day that promises a fresh start.
4. There is a time and place for everything
This is one proverb that appeals to me as we can put our point across respectfully when we disagree to how a child is behaving because it is not suitable for the situation they are in. We use it to remind children that certain behaviour may not be appropriate in a situation.
Example: ‘I don’t think it is a good idea to run about in a restaurant. Piping hot food and drinks are being served most of the time and it would be dreadful if it spills on someone. There is a time and place for everything yah? So please, sit down nicely.’
5. There is no place like home
Home; where we build our family. A home is where our children can come back to, and feel the warmth of a family. What better way than to say ‘’ to your children, especially at the end of a day.
Remember, it is not about how many proverbs they know at this age, but how much they understand a proverb – and ability to use it at the right place, at the right time.