It is a well-known fact that if you try to teach your child something before they have shown any interest, they will not want to know. But if you get them in a group with others then they are much more likely to embrace the new experience.
Today I signed my children up to a bird watching session at the local park. I have tried to get them interested in bird watching before at home, but without success. My son did his normal thing of refusing to leave the house on the grounds of being tired, which I was able to counter with the truth that we had no food in and if we did not leave the house we would all starve. My daughter was fine with going out, until we arrived at the park and she realised we weren’t going shopping.
Things got worse once we joined our group. Not only were we 10 minutes late, but my daughter chose that moment to have a huge strop. Whilst the other children were busy identifying the different birds on the lake, my daughter was loudly proclaiming “Bird watching is stupid. Why would anyone want to watch birds? They are so boring!” Her tirade accompanied the group as we progressed around the lake. In the end the only thing that shut her up was when one of the rangers gave her a pair of binoculars to look through “I’m not watching the stupid birds” she clarified “I am spying on people and dogs only”.
Luckily my son was much more amenable. He really got into the spirit of looking through the book to tick off the birds we saw. He visibly improved at naming the species we saw on our walk. He stopped and asked the ranger questions about the plants and birds around him. He didn’t get bored when we stopped at a hid and actually pointed out birds the other children had missed. And best of all, at the end of the walk he thanked the ranger, declared that bird hatching was fun and asked to do it again.
Well one out of two isn’t bad. Is it?