All Articles Make Disciples Understand Your Kids

A Soft Heart is a Teachable Heart

Laura Kuehn, LCSW
Written by Laura Kuehn, LCSW

What is a “teachable moment”? How can I spot them and capitalize on them? Here we will explore how you can know when the ground of your child’s heart is fertile for planting seeds of truth as well as a few examples of what you can do and use during these “teachable moments.”

Teachable moments are those times in a day when your child’s heart is soft and ready to receive instruction.  Teachable moments can be used to share a truth, problem solve, understand triggers, and plan for next time.  Usually, these moments follow a consequence.  Most parents want their child to learn something from the experience – not just suffer the consequence and move on.  Chose your teachable moments wisely and your kids will benefit.  Miss the window of opportunity and they will lose out on a chance to grow in wisdom.  Here we will explore what you can look for in your child’s demeanor, body language and attitude to make the most of a teachable moment.  These descriptors work if your kids are 4, 18 or in between.

Teachable moments are marked by a child who:

  • Seeks you out
  • Doesn’t turn away when you approach
  • Averts their eyes
  • Has slowed breathing
  • Has relaxed hands
  • Has slowed body movements
  • Has arms to the side (not on the hips)
  • Gives a genuine apology

Don’t wait for all of these descriptors to be in place before you provide some training, tools or guidance.  Pride and hurt feelings can erect a barrier.  Simply sitting next to your child in patient silence can make that wall crumble.  However, if you see many of these descriptors missing, give him more time to soften.  Once the wall is down, you can proceed with your “teachable moment.”

Your teachable moment can include:

  • Talking about what lead up to the problem
  • Identifying what “alternate routes” he could have taken along the way that would have changed the outcome
  • Reinforcing a foundational family value or truth
  • Revealing some of your own struggles as a child in the same area and how you learned from it (of course, you will need to use discretion when revealing personal information)
  • Reading the Bible
  • Praying
  • Heart of the Matter Parenting Cards

Seek to go beyond just the consequence toward making a lasting impression.  We plant now to reap a harvest of plenty later.

Image by Westfale from Pixabay
. Please note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional counseling. Read our full disclaimer here.

About Laura

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura is a licensed clinical social worker with a specialization in children and families. CfP is the place she combines some of her very favorite things: writing, parenting and God's word. She loves encouraging parents to build their families upon Jesus, the one true Cornerstone. She is happily married to a wonderfully supportive husband and is the mother of two delightfully inspiring children.


  • Awesome! I love this article! Reaching the heart is what it is all about — I love all the ideas/suggestions you give on how to do so!

    • Melanie,
      You are so right – the heart is so important. Fixing the outside (behavior) but not the inside (heart) is like a “white-washed tomb.”

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      Blessings to you and yours,

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.