How to help children engage in learning:
Given what our children have been through the last two years, we want to do everything we can to help them access positive learning outcomes. Here are some valuable evidence based tips for children of all ages.
One of the biggest factors in educational outcomes for children is sleep. None of us can operate at an optimal level when we are fatigued. This is especially true for our children. I know what a battle getting children into bed can be. But remember, children don’t choose bedtimes, parents do. Don’t wait for your child to say they are tired or want to go to bed. This will never happen. Good sleep routines are very important for learning and processing information.
Focus on the process, not the outcome:
Much of our world today is data and results-driven. As such it can be very easy to attend to the end product, not what it took to get to that point. When supporting children’s learning it is so important that we value more than the final results. Praise the amount of time they spent on a task or their independence in getting started. Recognise how they kept trying when something was difficult. Try providing feedback like “ I love the colours you used in that picture” or “what an interesting idea for a story”
Value homework & reading
Let’s be honest, after a busy day, the last thing we often want to be dealing with is homework issues and listening to reading. Having good homework and reading routines are essential to reduce stress, for them and you. Set up a space for your child to work in, and ask them what would work for them. Try to have consistency around the after school homework and reading routines. Before dinner is ideal. Listening to your child read at bedtime is exhausting for them and you.
Remember reading is not something “done”, it works best when it’s a shared experience. Promoting shared book reading should be a central component of any parenting approach. Other fun learning activities, such as playing letters and numbers games like UNO, Hangman or Wordle are also linked to improved outcomes.
Recognise that your child’s learning style may be different
There are differences in the way in which individuals respond, process and recall information. Understanding your child’s learning style, or noticing patterns in their learning preferences can you give you great insight into what will work for them. You can provide better support as a parent and at times you can pass this information on to their teachers. For example, visual learners can better encode facts on knowledge when it is presented in graphs or diagrams. Verbal learners may prefer to learn difficult topics using their primary communication skills.
Communicate with your child’s school or teacher.
The two most influential roles in a child’s educational journey are parents and teachers. When communication is consistent and the child’s learning both at home and school is better supported. Set up a convenient time to meet or talk on the phone. Identify what your concerns are or what you support you require. Be prepared to talk honestly about your child. Teachers’ awareness of your child’s struggles will mean they can better understand and respond to their needs.
Author: Deirdre @ MALVERN CLINIC