It’s natural to want your child to do well in life, to find something that makes them happy and to go for it. In order to give your child the best start in life and to make sure that doors remain open to them, it is important that they develop a love of learning and a belief that with hard work and determination, they can become anything they want to be. There are numerous ways to help support your child, from reading to them at home to helping them to put their studies into practice in real-life everyday situations, for example, when at the grocery store. It’s also important to remember that each child is an individual with their own likes and dislikes, and their own learning styles. Some respond well to listening and reading about concepts and others learn best by doing, but all children enjoy learning through play. Make learning fun, and you will be helping to encourage your child’s interests as well as developing their social skills. Below are some top tips for supporting your child’s learning and helping them to reach their potential and their dreams.
Read to them
Children’s literature is a world of wonder waiting to be discovered. From pirates to fairies, princesses to space adventures, the stories stacking the shelves at the local public library are bound to excite your child. Not only are children’s books an amazing way to fire your child’s imagination and to teach them about other ways of living, but they are also a good way to help them to learn to read. Reading with your children is one of the most important things a parent can do. There are many benefits to children, beyond the joy of hearing a story aloud. These include raising their empathy, helping them to understand the world around them, helping them to bond with parents or caregivers, and helping them to learn to talk. Evidence suggests that reading with your children when they are young has a very positive impact on them later in life too, with those who were regularly read to as a child having a higher standard of language, literacy, and numeracy in tests as they leave high school. You don’t need to invest in loads of books to begin reading to your child, take a trip to the local public library or borrow books from your child’s school library and discover the wonderful worlds that await.
Make learning fun
Learning doesn’t have to be dry and boring. Make learning at home fun to keep their motivation high and ensure they stay engaged. Incorporating hands-on activities is always a winner, so use things like Lego blocks to help your children understand building structures, or how a bridge works. Although they are learning engineering and math skills, they will be far more focused on the fun element. You could watch a movie together and then ask them to write a review for it or just discuss the plot and characters in more detail, finding out what they liked and didn’t like about the story and why. Or ask them to count the chocolate chips in a cookie (and let them eat it afterward as a tasty reward!).
Let your child take control
Some children get turned off from studying as they feel a loss of control within the school education system. It is important to help your child to feel that they are in control of their learning, that they share responsibilities for it as this will hopefully have a positive impact on their desire to learn. Let them lead the learning by following their interests. If they are passionate about nature, then take them to the zoo and learn more about animals and their habitats. If they love computer games, then encourage them to learn more about coding, as these are skills which could well increase their employability following graduation.
Access online resources
There are a wealth of online resources available to support your child’s learning journey. Using fun interactive online games, apps and websites your child will learn more about anything from facts about space to multiplication to learning a foreign language. There are online resources available for any subject, so invest some time into checking out which ones will most suit your child and their level and interests.
Take the classroom outside
Try to include learning in your everyday activities together, as this way your child can see how certain lessons which may have seemed abstract in the classroom can be applied to everyday life. Ask them to do the maths when you go grocery shopping, or to count the change. Before you go shopping ask your child to write the list of what is needed. You could go for a walk and pick different leaves from a variety of trees and plants and look them up once you get home to identify them. Discover why leaves change color and how plants get their food and nutrients together. When you’re out driving play I spy to develop their spelling or get creative by telling each other stories featuring the stores or people you are passing by. If you’re having a pizza night, then ask your child how to divide the pizza into halves, quarters, eighths, etc. to incorporate maths in a fun way.
Should your child need a little extra push towards studying, then introducing a reward or sticker chart could help with motivation, especially if they find a particular subject hard. You could use a printable chart or make your own version, and give stickers for each homework assignment completed on time. Once your child collects a certain number of stickers, they get a treat of their choosing, such as a meal out at their favorite diner, a movie and popcorn evening or to stay up extra late one night.
Perhaps most importantly, enjoy learning together with your child. If you look upon it as a chore, it is likely that your child will pick up on those feelings, but if instead, you look forward to your time together your child will feel it is something special too.