Oh boy! Sometimes we think common sense is something we either have or don’t have. Thankfully, as parents, we still have a significant influence on our children in this regard. Now, adults that we know who lack common sense – they may be harder to influence. Our kids, however, have some hope to become critical thinkers and adults with common sense.
We can help our children practice common sense at home and prepare them for the world they are to face in the future – and even now.
I was on a visit to a small island and bumped into a gentleman I knew from previous contract work. It was cool to see him, but I heard it from the grapevine that he had since been fired from two jobs.
He offered to give me a ride to the airport ( I knew his family could use the money from the long taxi ride to the airport). However, he said he would drop his family off home first. I told him no, that they should come too. He insisted he drop them off home first; so, I immediately told him I couldn’t go with just him to the airport.
Besides that it would be weird, my husband would have killed me… if the man wouldn’t have killed me (LOL). I just automatically knew it was a bad idea. Common sense told me that I shouldn’t be in a car with a guy I don’t really know, even as an adult.
I ultimately took a taxi, which turned out to be a great taxi ride where I was able to share the gospel with the taxi driver; it was awesome.
However, that quick thinking we get, that discernment – it all derives from good teaching of common sense. In the Bible it is called “prudence” or “discretion.”
Proverbs 3:13–14 says, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.”
The kick is that we don’t have to let our kids learn from their own mistakes all of the time. We can start helping them to practice common sense while they are young. It all starts with allowing and encouraging our children to ask questions. Asking questions is such an amazing tool for many things in life, including the realization of common sense.
Jesus used the method of asking questions so that people will be able to see their own sin (i.e., the tax collector, the rich man, and the woman at the well).
We can also use questions to determine whether decisions are the best for us or not. This is where the teaching and practice of common sense can be used with our children.
When you are ready to intentionally tackle the concept of common sense in your homeschool or for your child, then here are some resources that can help you.
Help your child practice common sense at home with a few of these tips:
Start as early as you can.
Babies to toddlers: Start reading and talking to your kids early on, let them explore, tell your kids “no” to establish boundaries. Parents who don’t say “no” to their kids leave them thinking everything is permissible. It’s hard to come back from this.
Teach your kids about safety in situations like not talking to strangers, fire drills, traffic lights, and calling 911. They should know their name, address, and phone number.
Let them experience consequences.
Teach your children to do their chores. Let them know there are consequences for not doing them; like sitting down for a few minutes, or not going outside to play for some time, etc. Teach your child ethics by turning in work on time or through work hard.
I read in Gotquestions.org that, “The desire for instant gratification is the enemy of common sense.” Teaching our children self-control and discipline will also develop common sense in our little ones.
Encourage decision making.
Ask your kids their opinions or to decide between one thing or the other. For instance, they can ride their bike or play with toys. Explore what the results are like if it’s hot outside while riding their bike, or how playing with toys means they have to clean up afterwards.
Teach your kids to be aware of their surroundings.
If your kids are at a young age, play “I Spy.” When your kids are older, try to visit new places. After you leave, ask what they observed that maybe no one else did, you can also take note of the environment then ask them if they even noticed things like the color of a curtain.
Read through the Bible about what God says about us.
Speak to your children about their worth according to God’s Word and as a part of the family. Building your child’s confidence without giving them an overinflated sense of self can be done. Teach them that their worth comes in the Lord.
Psalm 16: 5-6 says, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
Parent your children using Proverbs.
We love using Proverbs People in our homeschool. They are simple workbook companions to the Bible. It’s open and go and gets kids digging into God’s Word.
Help them make choices that depict cause and effect.
Teaching kids cause and effect is an excellent way for kids to think about their decisions and develop common sense.
If you need some help to teach your kids common sense, these cause and effect resources can help.
FREE Cause and Effect Passages & Printables | Brenda Tejada
FREE Cause and Effect Match | Super Teacher Worksheets
12 FREE Easy Cause and Effect Activities and Worksheets | Teach Junkie
FREE Chain Reaction/Cause-and-Effect Graphic Organizer for Grades 4+ | We Are Teachers
FREE Cause & Effect Graphic Organizers | Classroom Freebies
All of these practices help teach kids to think on their feet and to have a knowledge base to know when something is off. Asking your kids questions so they can think about answers and grab information from memory, really is a great start to have a child that displays common sense in life.
Practicing common sense is something we can do to help prevent our kids from being easily manipulated, from making bad decisions, and from doing things they might regret later. You don’t think of common sense as something that needs to be taught, but it is something that we need to work on even from a young age.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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