In our first blog in this two-part series, we discussed 5 ways to help our children at home become inspired and successful learners. This included ideas on encouraging reading, listening to your child(ren)’s ideas, discussing new things you are learning, and promoting learning in fun ways like games and family activities. As we know, in these days of uncertainty, the importance of learning at home has never been greater. In this blog, we will examine another five tips to assist you in helping your child(ren) become curious and conscientious thinkers and learners. This will boost their academic achievement wherever they are learning.
- Encourage and compliment effort more than native talent or intelligence: Be on the lookout for any special effort your child(ren) puts into achieving their goals. The continual message should be that we learn by trying and practicing. What we want to do is to encourage effort, so that our kids keep trying to achieve. If we only place value on their natural abilities or talents, we run the risk of having our children become discouraged as soon as they feel that they are not “good” at something. It is also important to let them know that their failures are alright too because we learn valuable lessons through mistakes. Celebrate even small achievements. Let them know that the important thing is to keep trying and to be open to new learning.
- Encourage your child(ren) to make choices: If we show enthusiasm for our child(ren)’s interests and encourage them to make choices, we are fostering their natural inclination to improve skills and seek answers. We want to encourage our kids to explore subjects that they find fascinating and discuss their fascinations. Let your kids select books and learning activities that promote their present interests and make them think and wonder. See if you can expand those interests through the introduction of related topics. Let them determine their own extracurricular activities.
- Help your child(ren) organize their time and their assignments: Many kids become discouraged when they see new assignments, especially if they struggle with organizational skills. Help your child(ren) follow routines that foster success. Talk about how to break down assignments into doable parts. Find out what makes them feel that they are on “overload” and discuss methods that are best for dealing with that problem. For example, take breaks between assignments.
- Provide experiences that help children with different learning styles succeed: Some kids learn better by listening, others by watching, and still others by doing. There are seven basic learning styles. They are visual, verbal, auditory, physical, mathematical/logical, social, and solitary. Talk to your child(ren) and encourage them to think about the ways they learn best. If your child is having difficulty learning something, you may be able to find an alternate way to help them understand by doing some online research. It may be easier than you think to find demonstrations, videos, activities, games, etc. that explain various complex concepts.
- Turn daily events into learning opportunities: Encourage your child(ren) to explore and think deeply about the world around them. Ask questions. Encourage them to make observations and make connections.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to limit learning to the classroom. If you want to help your child(ren) become lifelong learners and thinkers, encourage them to learn wherever they are and in whatever they are doing.