Children have a general tendency to learn. They are born curious and are always exploring, finding out new things, discovering, detecting and learning. However, while children are very open to learning new things, there are some who are very resistant to learn anything new. Learning new things is often perceived as coming out of the comfort zone, doing the unfamiliar and unpredictable task.
Listed below are some methods to empower young learners to learn:
Be patient: Understand that every child is different and will learn at their own pace. Go with their pace. Don’t compare them to other kids.
Understand their learning styles: Understand how your child learns. Some children are very expressive, they talk a lot, express a lot. Some like to do things by themselves. They will make things, build models or draw. Some others may like to think deep. They will probably find it easier to sit in one place, read and write. Find out how your child learns and plan their learning around these styles. If there like to make things, give them little projects that they can do on their own, if they like to read, get them books to read.
Motivate them: General tendency of children is to be curious and to learn newer things. Don’t push your children to learn. Let them get curious about things. You can help by asking interesting questions or share interesting stories.
Be enthusiastic: Display it to children that learning new things can be fun and interesting. Show it in action. Encourage them to join you.
Provide opportunities: Give children an environment where they can learn and explore. Let children have hands-on experiences and real-time examples to which they can relate as per their age.
Help them imagine: Encourage children to imagine things. Let them ask questions even if they are not sensible.
Autonomy: Give an opportunity to children to do things on their own.
Build Self-confidence: Let children do small task on their own and get a sense of accomplishment that they can do it. This builds in confidence to perform bigger task and step in to learn more.
Develop a sense of security: If children find themselves secure, they will try to acquire newer skills and will not be fearful. Let the children know they are taken care of and parents are available to safeguard them. Let children talk about their fears.
Develop a sense of resilience: Let children know it is ok to be wrong or fail. Trying is more important that winning or losing. Explain to them that everything can’t go right always. Once they are open to failure and success equally they will be ready to learn anything new.
Make learning fun: Employ various methods like games, story-telling, plays to make learning fun and enjoyable. A new learning will happen easily if children are involved and do it happily. They will not even realize that they are trying something new and will end up learning in the process. Music is also very instrumental for learning. Adopt it.
Variety: The attention span of children is very less and increases as they grow. So, expose them to new topics and newer experiences so that they are not bored. Children do not like monotony.
Provide for an enriching environment: Leave lots of books and related material around the house for children to build a natural curiosity to know more.
Give choice: Let children decide what they like and what they don’t. Respect their decision.
Focus on learning: Appreciate what the children are learning. Don’t judge their performance.
Remove distractions: TV or play station can easily distract a child from his or her task. So, remove them from learning atmosphere and enrich it with study tables, book shelves etc.
Don’t push: Don’t push the child to learn at your pace. Every child is different and has his or her own interests. Nobody can master everything but everybody will possess some strengths and weakness. Accept it.
Reward/ Punish: The carrots and sticks principle doesn’t work always. Motivation must come from within. Equipping the child to learn newer things is more important than reward or punishment.
It is not an easy task to raise a child or empower them but every parent and teacher needs to do their part in making sure that children are empowered to the best of their abilities. It is an everyday exercise for every parent to run the race along with their children. Hard efforts of parents do get paid off
Good luck and happy parenting!