Whilst children are now able to return to school, supporting their learning in positive ways from home is still highly beneficial, especially given the current uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. It is proven that children respond better to school learning when it is positively enforced in the home environment, and academia is only half of the story. Your child needs to learn creatively, imaginatively, and explore the world around them. They need to learn manners, positivity and kindness, and the number one resource for them is you.
Psychologically speaking, as their primary caregiver, you are their number one behavioural and social influence and the relationship they form with you is imperative in their development. The first few years of a child’s life are known as the ‘critical period’ for their learning and development and it is in these first years that they learn fundamental behaviours that they will take with them into adult life. This is why it is so important to positively impact your child’s learning processes and maintain a stable and positive relationship with them.
To give you a head start, we have collected ten steps you can take to support your child’s learning from home.
1. Create a routine
- Children respond well to structure, use a timetable or whiteboard to allow them to create a schedule for themselves. This allows them to take some control and have some independence.
- Make sure you both get up and go to bed at the same times each morning and night and enforce this, don’t let them stay up later because there’s a monster under the bed.
2. Listen to their interests
- Create projects for them that adhere to their interests! Schools just set out what children should learn with no regards to their individual interests, so this is where you step in.
- If they love painting or show particular artistic flare, set up a mini studio for them to get messy and creative! If they want to be a doctor, take them to your next appointment and get them to ask the doctor questions! The opportunities are endless!
3. Speak to their teachers
- To gain a better understanding of how you can most effectively support your child’s learning, speak to the experts!
- Ask how your child is settling in and see what they are learning about. This will enable you to put together some sort of structure and routine in helping your child with extra learning and homework from home.
- This enables you to understand where they are struggling and where they are excelling, so you can find the best ways to help them.
4. Encourage independence
- Children need to learn independence and this only comes from allowing them to branch out from you, their primary caregiver.
- As much as we hate to admit it, they won’t be babies forever and you need to ensure they are able to take care of themselves.
- As they grow, children naturally venture further from the comfort of their parents, but the bond you have created with them ensures they will always return to you, as if an elastic band is around you both. No matter how far their independence takes them, you will always be their parent and you will always be their safety bubble.
- Independence can be easily initialised by teaching them small tasks such as; how to do their own hair in the morning, making them set the table for dinner, and encouraging them to do chores such as helping with the washing up and tidying their room.
- This allows your child to learn that they can do things on their own, without your help.
5. Be Patient
- Patience is so important here. You must allow them to do things at their own pace and not force them or make them feel bad for not being able to do something.
- Trust us, we know how tough this can be, especially on a school morning when you’re in a rush, but allowing them an extra 2 minutes breather to do up their shoe laces properly on their own will positively encourage them that they are doing a great job.
6. Be positive about learning
- Positivity is the KEY to all learning for your child, in all aspects.
- You should have a positive outlook towards learning yourself, encouraging it at home. Your child will then respond to their own learning more positively, as they look up to you and learn through you!
- Teach with positive reinforcement. This involves praising them and giving them ‘treats’, like allowing them an extra cookie or taking them to their favourite place, when they do something well. This causes them to associate the positive outcomes with learning and school, meaning they will likely perform better and enjoy learning more.
- However, we are not saying never criticise, because yes, there are times when your child needs to understand they need to do better. But don’t start with the criticism because your child will just put their hands over their ears and shout lalalalala. Start with a positive statement, then deliver them constructive criticism, show them how to improve, then end on a positive note!
- Reading books to your child every evening is a great way to introduce reading into their lives.
- Allowing expression and character into your voice and encouraging them to join in with funny voices for different characters, will allow them to understand the expression and imagination in the writing and therefore understand the words more readily.
- Books are perfect for imagination growth as they allow escape into an entirely new world through words.
- Teaching your child to read for themselves will also help them with spelling, grammar, and reading abilities, which are crucial for school learning and later life.
- It is important to bring the things that your children learn in school home with them and positively encourage their learning. A great way to do this is through writing practice.
- They will learn how to read and write at school, but encouraging them to do their homework and practice more at home, whilst positively reinforcing this behaviour through praise, will cause them to see writing as positive and want to continue doing well.
- It’s the same principle with numbers, but maths is a bit more Marmite.
- Some children take to maths really quickly with ease, but many others struggle to understand the numbers as easily.
- Giving any child, no matter their abilities, extra encouragement to practice what they’ve learnt in school and giving them praise when they do things well is a great way to support your child’s learning and help them if they are struggling.
10. Active Learning
- Make every day a teachable moment. How many times during the day do you see things relating to learning? Whether it’s physics, maths, or reading, you will encounter countless things throughout the day that your child can learn from.
- Make them aware of these things and teach them. Encourage them to be curious about things and ask questions such as ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ and then feed that curiosity by answering them. This will encourage them to seek learning opportunities and enjoy learning.
Learn from them in return!
We can learn a lot from children. They are hives of excitement and imagination with their emotions all out in the open, and there’s so many great things to be learnt from this! So, to conclude, we’ll leave you with 5 things you can learn from your little rascals.
- Find happiness in the smallest of things. Appreciate the little things and take time to embrace the beauty of yourself and the world we live in.
- Let your imagination run wild! Don’t just imagine the things you could do, DO THEM!
- Don’t be afraid of new things, embrace them! It’s better to regret something you’ve tried out than something you haven’t.
- Express yourself! Get excited over things, get sad, ask for help when you need it. It’s ok to laugh, it’s ok to cry, don’t bottle it up!
- Have fun! Embrace life to the fullest and continuously do things you LOVE.