Teaching Metacognition Skills at Home
Ask your child to problem-solve. Ask her to think about what she might do about a problem she is causing. “I notice that whenever I answer the telephone, you find something you have to tell me. This makes it hard for me to carry on a conversation. Can you help me think of ways we can handle this?”
Have your child identify what a finished task looks like. If your daughter’s job is to empty the dishwasher, get her to describe what that means (no more dishes in the dishwasher, everything put away in drawers or cupboards). Write it down and post it prominently to help your child remember.
Give reasons for why you made certain decisions. We’re often tempted to say, “Because I said so!” but that doesn’t help children learn decision-making strategies. State the reason and move on.
Ask your child to notice facial expressions or body language -- to use as cues for how people are reacting to her. Watch a TV sitcom together with the sound turned off, and see if your child can tell what the characters are feeling. Ask what clues she used to make that determination.
Praise your child when you see him using metacognitive skills. You might say, “I like the way you asked your coach why he took you out of the game -- that way, you can learn what to do differently the next time. You used to storm off and fume. I think this works better.”
Tell your child when you’ve handled something badly. This shows that you’ve reflected on your own behavior and can take responsibility for it. Say, “I lost my temper with you, and I shouldn’t have. I was on edge because of something that happened at work, but I shouldn’t have taken it out on you. I’ll try to realize this sooner next time.”