What Scaffolding Parenting Is And Why You Should Do It

What is Scaffolding Parenting?

happy parents laughing together with daughter (1)

Scaffolding parenting is a technique used to help children learn new ideas beyond what they already know. The term was coined by Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and is based on the concept of scaffolding in construction. Just as scaffolding provides support to a building during construction, scaffolding parenting provides support, structure, and encouragement to children as they learn and grow.

Support them with empathy, validation, and intervention.

One of the key aspects of scaffolding parenting is providing support. This can take many forms, from offering emotional support during difficult times to lending a helping hand with homework. It is important for parents to be there for their children, both when they are struggling and when they are celebrating successes.

Structure routines and schedules to give a child a sense of security.

Another important element of scaffolding parenting is providing structure. This includes setting clear expectations and boundaries and providing consistent routines. Children thrive when they know what is expected of them, and a well-structured home environment can help them to feel safe and secure.

Encourage kids.

Finally, scaffolding parenting involves encouraging. This means praising effort and achievement and offering words of encouragement when children face challenges. By supporting, nurturing, and encouraging their children, parents can help them to reach their full potential.

The Benefits of Scaffolding Parenting

When done effectively, scaffolding parenting can have several benefits for children:

  1. It can help children feel safe and secure, which is essential for their development.
  2. It can help children learn basic skills and social skills that will be beneficial to them throughout their lives.
  3. It can help children develop a positive self-image and a healthy sense of self-esteem.
  4. Scaffolding parenting can help children develop into happy, successful adults.

Tips for Implementing Scaffolding Parenting in Your Own Home?

The key to scaffold parenting is to provide your child with the encouragement, structure, and guidance they need to succeed. They should always know that they can come to you with issues, but they should also know that they can try things independently without you rushing in to save the day. They should feel empowered but still feel like you have their back. By teaching them basic skills and helping them to develop critical thinking skills, you will give them the tools they need to thrive in the world. But most importantly, by being there for them when they need you, you will show them that they are never alone.

Scaffold Parenting for Younger Children

One of the key things to remember when scaffolding parenting for younger children is to avoid helicopter parenting and instead let them learn through trial and error. It can be tempting to step in and fix things when your child makes a mess, but it’s important to resist the urge and instead give them suggestions or show them different ways to do things. This way, they can learn on their own with your support. It’s all part of the learning process! And by allowing your child to learn independently, you’re helping them develop essential life skills that they’ll use for years to come.

Scaffold Parenting for Older Children

Parenting an older child can be tricky. They are old enough to know better but are still learning and need our support. The key to scaffolding parenting for older children is to provide a bit of support without being overwhelming. This might include gentle reminders about turning in assignments or sending them articles on the risks of STDs. When it comes to financial matters, ask how they are going along with rent and other living expenses. Give advice when they ask for it, but don’t dole out money. By taking this approach, we can help our children navigate this learning process while still respecting their independence.

How to Scaffold Your Child’s Learning?

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A love of learning is one of the best gifts a parent can give their child. By scaffolding their learning at home, you can help them build the skills they need to be successful in school and beyond. Scaffolding involves supporting a child as they learn new concepts or skills. It can take many forms, from reading together to providing encouragement and praise. As children grow, they will naturally start to want more independence. It’s important to strike a balance between challenge and support, giving them the chance to try new things while still being there to catch them if they stumble. Every child is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to scaffolding.

  • Observe.

By observing what children are doing, you can get a sense of their current level of understanding and interest. You can also observe what skills children already know, such as how to use sticky tape, a stapler, or glue. This will help you see their functioning skills and areas that need development. In addition, by scaffolding your child’s learning, you will be able to provide them with the support they need to grow and develop as a learner.

  • Ask them questions.

Asking questions is a great way to scaffold your child’s learning at home. It can help you gauge their understanding level and identify areas where they may need further support. When asking questions, be sure to choose ones that are appropriate for your child’s age and development level. For young children, open-ended questions are often more successful than closed ones. This is because they encourage creative thinking and problem-solving skills. For older children, closed-ended questions can be used to check for understanding or provide practice opportunities. By scaffolding your child’s learning in this way, you can encourage their continued development and success.

  • Show them the ropes.

One of the best ways to scaffold your child’s learning at home is to demonstrate how to apply new knowledge to daily routines. This can help children become more independent and confident in their abilities. For example, if you introduce a new vocabulary word, show your child how to use it in a sentence. Or, if you introduce a new concept, tool, or skill, help them practice using it in a hands-on way. By taking the time to scaffold your child’s learning at home, you can give them the independence they need to thrive.

  • Watch them fly.

In order to scaffold your child’s learning at home, you need to take a step back and let them explore independently. This doesn’t mean that you should be completely hands-off, but rather that you should allow them to apply what they’ve learned in their way. Of course, they might not always want to use the new skill or concept, but that’s okay. It’s important to allow children to make their own decisions and take ownership of their learning. By taking a step back, you’re giving them the chance to learn in a more meaningful way.

  • Repeat.

Be ready to catch them when they falter. More often than not, they will fail. Kids experience frustration, get angry, and may give up. But that is why you are there to provide support and encouragement. Let’s go back to step one and begin the constructive process again.

When the child succeeds, we still go back to step one because you may have already observed other aspects they need to work on. But don’t rush; they may have other plans with the new skills they learned from you. Again, observe, support, and encourage.

In a Nutshell

So, what is scaffolding parenting? It’s a way of supporting kids with empathy, validation, and intervention to learn and grow in a safe environment. Structure routines and schedules to give them a sense of security, encourage them when they try new things (even if they don’t succeed), avoid helicopter parenting, and let them learn through trial and error; but provide a bit of support without being overwhelming. Observe their behavior, ask them questions about it, show them the ropes – then step back and watch them fly. Repeat as necessary! If you have any tips or stories to share on your journey into scaffolding parenting, please comment below or share this article with fellow parents.



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

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