From the Infant stage we can teach children to debate and present their opinions, develop skills so that they can express themselves and express ideas, thoughts, complaints ...
It is about teaching children to argue, dialogue, listen to others, respect and understand different opinions and points of view, defend their own ideas or speak in public. Skills and abilities that do not develop on their own, but must be learned and practiced. A) Yes we can teach children to defend their ideas in a civilized way.
Adults often fall into the error of speaking for children, or what is worse, downplaying their arguments because we consider that they are not "well founded" simply because they are children, with which we sometimes "clip our wings" when debate, express their ideas or opinions, contrast their ideas, listen to the other ...
Debating is exposing and defending your point of view with arguments, or with a more technical definition: "Discussing two or more people on one or more topics exposing their ideas and defending their opinions and interests".
Children continually argue among themselves about whether Batman is better than Spiderman, or which football team is better, or which playground is more fun, etc. However, many times, they end up angry (momentarily) and the children defend their ideas but they do not do it civilly, but of course, they are children, they lack tools and skills.
If children learn to debate, they learn to respect, to listen, they learn to trust themselves and the value of their ideas, feelings and thoughts, so it would be interesting if from the school and the family these learnings will be encouraged and facilitated.
From the childhood stage we can practice with children, adapting to their level of development and their social, language and cognitive abilities and skills. The important thing is not that they debate as adults at the age of 5, but that they learn and develop skills that they will perfect with age and practice.
Something that adults must learn in order to teach children to defend their ideas is to listen to children. One of the important points in the debate is listening to the arguments of the other, so it is essential that we serve as an example, and listen to what the children have to say, without judging their arguments, and without diminishing their importance.
An important part is learning to speak in public, so we can promote activities at home so that from a young age they lose the fear of speaking in front of people.
- Therefore it is important not to speak for them. Many times when we ask the children a question, do you want to go to Fulanito's house for a picnic? Did you like the movie? If children don't know how to answer or don't do it immediately, we tend to answer for them, taking away the opportunity to do it themselves. Let's give them time to talk and above all let's not speak for them, we have to encourage them to do it, with patience and affection.
- It is also important to let them express their ideas, without diminishing their importance due to the fact that they are children, so phrases like "you are a child and you don't know what you say" should be changed to "respect what you think but at this moment it cannot be what you say for. .... "
- Suggest activities and games in which they have to tell a story or interpreting a character helps them "take away the fear" to speak and express ideas in front of people.
It is also important to teach them that certain basic rules must be followed when debating, such as:
- Only one person speaks at a time.
- No personal points of view are imposed.
- No teasing or being rude
- You have to listen carefully to what the other has to say.
Therefore and in short, to teach children to defend their ideas in a civilized way it is essential that they be listened to, that they lose their fear of speaking in public and expressing their ideas, that we teach them to respect the points of view and ideas of others and that we set an example for adults, as learning by imitation is very important.
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