5 Factors to Understand Your Child’s Perception of Reality

‘Seeing is believing’ – The statement’s credibility depends on one’s perception of reality.
The foundation of this concept lies at the very self-fulfilling prophecy of it- Perception is reality; a statement that changes actions and therefore becomes true. Often the way we perceive reality is coloured by how we want it rather than simply the way it is.

While working as a counsellor, I have come across worried parents and educators, who have expressed their concerns about how their children or students were perceiving reality. Thus, it is extremely important to understand the factors which are shaping your kids’ perception of reality especially during their formative years.

Here are five psychological and physical reasons which might be affecting your child’s perception of reality

1. Our motor abilities impact our perception
Our physical bodies influence how we perceive our surroundings. For example, a short walk to school with a heavy bag may seem more tedious to one than those walking the same distance but empty-handed.
As per an article published in Science Daily.com
This phenomenon is obvious even in young babies. That’s why, in one experiment, crawling babies showed fear when they were lowered onto a platform with a fake cliff (an apparent drop-off that was actually see-through plastic), but babies who couldn’t crawl didn’t show that same fear. They didn’t see it as scary, because, as non-crawlers, they didn’t need to worry about cliffs yet.

So, try to check the quantity of physical weight that your child is carrying to school or to any extra-curricular activity to understand the real reason of the child’s disinterest in going to school or a hobby club.

2. Hunger is the deciding factor
We have often heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s true! Scientists have proven that students who have breakfasts in the morning are able to perform better in schools. A hungry person would perceive a simple task as time-consuming and may tend to wrap up in haste, however, if one is well-fed, tasks could be undertaken with enhanced energy, thus, increased efficiency.

As parents we must make sure that water and breakfasts are the first two things to be served to our children.

3. Easy to read statements are understood better
How many times did you leave an article halfway because your eyes experienced fatigue? Blame it not on your eyes, but the colour of the alphabets. At times our sensory systems operate below conscious awareness, and we can be misled by our perception of reality. Similarly, children tend to lose focus with unaligned content. Content can be easily deemed monotonous or exciting depending on its presentation.
A few of examples of such phenomenon are using one colour and simple fonts for CV writing, having monochrome pictures on Insta to increase traffic, creating office presentation with slides of two colours at maximum for a clear understanding of the agenda.
A common concern amongst educators is maintaining the attention of the students throughout the class. Try using basic colours and simple fonts for reading lessons and see the change!

4. Mass mentality
Peer pressure is a real struggle, but it can also be a boon to some. Mass mentality is a state of mind, where opinion, thoughts, influences get imposed upon one without conscious understanding of the happening.
For instance, didn’t your child demand a new bike because your neighbour’s kid has a fancy, new bike?
On the contrary, imagine the girl next door excelled in her class. Your child is a year junior at the same school, studying the same course and your kid was thoroughly inspired by the topper. A subject that seemed difficult suddenly became manageable to your child.

A big part of our daily life is influenced by our social relationships. Our social relationships alter the way we view our surroundings. Teach your little ones to use it to their advantage instead of the falling in the trap of it.

5. External factors matter
Ever since we were born, our surroundings have framed our habits, believes, and made us who we are as adults. Our political views, our religious faiths, our cultural integrity created, mended, destroyed, and reformed our perception about things. External factors play a vital role when perceptions become emotions.

A common instance would be the students of certain countries, who are not allowed to pursue a particular profession or studies due to traditional societal structure.

Educators and parents must be careful not to transfer one’s own perception onto their students or children, rather encourage unbiased, reflective thinking processes for their learners or children. Learning to separate perceptions from emotions is the ultimate challenge one can face in life.

It is important to be aware of our senses but what is more important is to be conscious of the factors affecting our perception to avoid misjudgments and conflicts with people who perceive differently than you.

(Payel has worked in the education industry in Asia, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and now Australia)