Education Simulation Exercises For Children

The following education simulation exercises for children foster understanding for what is expected for handling money, independent living as well as marriage and child care.

Simulation exercises enact situations and problems that are much like those expected in the real world. The advantage of these exercises is that they allow for controlled conditions which will allow children to see what difficulties might arise. In addition, the exercises allow the child to explore their ideas without harm being a part of what would be a natural consequence in real life. In this manner, children can explore ways to develop a constructive relationship with money and other abstract concepts as well as how to set boundaries on goals they would like to achieve before embarking on such milestones as marriage and child care.

Similarly, this article attempts to illustrate to parents, teachers and counselors how to set up a controlled setting that is real enough to encourage a degree of struggle, yet provide room for the child to rework his/her decision if failure or loss is imminent. Parents and others are encouraged to create their own exercises if the ones listed below stimulate ideas of other lessons a child needs to learn.

A warning should be issued. Any exercise should be stoppped if the child appears overwhelmed or hurt by a loss or failure. This possibility tends to occur in children who appear perfectionistic.

In addition, the other advantage to using simulation exercises is that the entire family, friends, students, teachers can participate as well as role play certain expected characters that the child might encounter in adulthood. In essence, the family, class or group of playmates is able to bond in a way that will facilitate enjoyment for everyone. Members should be encouraged to photograph and record the exercises, in order to promote reminiscences years later.

The following are exercises to stimulate learning that will help the child anticipate road blocks in adulthood, so that they can prepare for them early:

1) Money is often a difficult subject for adults to discuss. The family's value system is encased in the relationship to money. Many parents remark in fruastration that the saving instincts that are present in one child's personality make-up are sorely lacking in another. However, when parents attempt to discuss the issue with their children, the one who saves, as a natural consequence, is bored and the other appears to be hypnotically entranced in his own world. This exercise should help everyone, and its fun at the same time!

This exercise necessitates a length of time that will enable the designated child to experience the timeliness of bills requiring payment. It can be accomplished in one afternoon or over the course of several time blocks in order to allow for full impact.

Initially, the child is told that he has accomplished the educational as well as age requirements of whomever he/she desires to become. Let us for hypothetical purposes say that this particular child wishes to become a Licensed Psychothepist. He/she will be asked to assume an earning of $40,000.00 per year. In other words, the family needs to have the child choose an occupation that he/she wants to become, so that enthusiasm is present at the onset of the exercise.

Chances are great that the child will think that $40,000.00 per year is more than enough to cover expenses and even to put some in a savings. However, it will be the family's role to show what road blocks and obligations the child is most likely to experience. One family member can represent the child's car in which the child must take the vehicle to a garage for repair. Family members can literally designate rooms in the household that representy the garage, movie theatre, office stting, physician's office, etc.

In essence, the family is encouraged to illustrate bill collectors requiring electricity , phone, heat, and rent payment due dates that require the child 'to pay up.' A child can be given play money at the beginning to encourage the distribution lessons that the child will have to learn. Moreover, family members can become even more creative by encouraging role playing. Family members can portray clients calling for appointments on some weeks, while other clients cancel at the last minute. In essence, this unsureness in scheduling may be what a licensed therapist encounters in a private practice. Encourage the role players to 'get into' the roles to foster enthusiasm.

Parents and children are encouraged to record thoughts and feelings re their own roles. Children can can discuss with parents how they use savings to buffer problems that might arise in 'real life.' Explain to the child that although there may have been unwise decisions that the child made that he/she is at least seeing how life can bring unexpected surprises to those who have obligations. Ask for input for how much savings should be put aside for emergencies, long-term goals and for vacations, etc.

In essence, the goal of this exercise is to stimulate the appreciation for when a child should be encouraged to spend and when a child should be encouraged to hold on to or save money. Ask the child what can be done now with allowances to help the child build confidence with money. This is a good exercise to repeat periodically to ensure learning.

2) Another exercise that is beneficial for children is one that would model the requirements that he/she must have in order to achieve independent living. Parents, counselors and teachers could provide a child with checklists for job applications, check book writing, savings account acquisition and job interview skills. Parents could help the child role play how to interview for a job as well as how to think along the lines of the interviewer. Encouraging the child to think of questions an employer might want to know is a great opportunity for a child to learn how to interview. Helping the child to break down the tasks of job acquisition or education seeking will enable the child to see that difficult goals require that a series of steps must be taken. Surprisingly, many adolescents do not know how to complete a job application nor do they know how to shop for a car. These kind of exercises can empower children to understand what questions and answers can mean the difference between achievement of the goal versus stagnation.

3) A third exercise is for the child that appears to want marriage and children and whom a parent worries may not have a full grasp of the responsibilities that are a part of sharing goals and sacrificing personal wants for the good of another. Parents could obtain a doll that cries and wets and simulate 2:00 a.m.'s feeding. Moreover, parents could help a child who has a beaux to join in an exercise that simulates marriage. With the other parent's permission, the parents can provide mock events that are likely to arise in marriage. For instance a couple could have a specified amount of play money to start. Quickly, crises could arise would require that the couple choose which crisis to sacrifice or how to compromise the limited funds. The couple could also be asked to look at chore assignment and role assignment.

In conclusion, simulation exercises afford the creativity of all. Remember that the approach should move the child toward success and not foster a lowered self-esteem in the child. No one should laugh at the child when he/she is struggling. Everyone can learn from the exercises how to envision goal setting and how to empower each other toward their desires.

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