by Kevin Stuckey, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
There are certain qualities that teachers and parents should
possess that prove beneficial when working with and motivating
young children. These simple teaching tools are instrumental in
achieving the shared joy and success of children.
Enthusiasm for Children
One of the most important characteristics for teachers and
parents to exhibit is an enthusiasm and passion for children.
This means not only enjoying being around children but also
wanting to make a difference in the life of each child. Teachers and parents should strive
to unlock every child’s door to learning while modeling and teaching ways to overcome
any obstacle a child may have.
Patience and Humor
Working with young children takes huge measures of patience. At times, it can
be frustrating; therefore, teachers and parents must be able to respond calmly to
overwhelming and difficult situations. The nature of their age makes young children
rambunctious, with short attention spans and little self-control. Understanding that every
child is different makes teaching even more challenging. After a long, tiring day, teachers
and parents of young children wake up and meet the same and new challenges the next
day. A patient nature, combined with a sense of humor, helps teachers and parents take
the ups and downs of each day in stride.
When working with young children, teachers, parents, and all others who share an
interest in the child’s development should practice effective skills of communication
on the child’s level. Teachers and parents must also be observant of behavior and
understand the varying emotional needs of young children.
Respect of Differences
Every child has a unique personality and learning style. To reach
and teach each child effectively, teachers and parents must respect
these differences and work with each child’s learning style, rather
than forcing the child to adapt to another. In our global society,
teachers and parents must also prepare young children to live in a
multicultural society represented by many ethnicities, cultures, and
traditions. An environment where these differences are not merely
tolerated, but welcomed and embraced, creates an open and exciting
Creativity and Flexibility
Planning activities for young children that engage and educate at the same time takes
creativity. Adapting lessons and life experiences to individual learning styles requires
flexibility. Regardless of how organized a teacher or parent is, and how well she plans
for the day, she must be prepared to handle all the glitches that can throw everything
off schedule. This typically requires revising plans and ideas throughout the day. Working
with children is also physically taxing; therefore, teachers and parents must have a lot of