Children’s learning is no longer confined to the classroom – in fact, parents are “children’s first and most enduring educators”. So, how can parents support and improve their child’s learning during everyday life? And more importantly, how do you balance the two? Here are some tips from the Labels4Kids team:
Turning everyday experiences into learning opportunities
Play an active role in your kid’s daily life; chat to them about what they’ve been learning at school and try to incorporate this into an everyday activity. For example, if your kid’s studying maths, teach them how to measure while you cook or bake. Learning about weather patterns? Look out for different clouds on the walk to school. You can also use past experiences as teaching aids. A really important aspect of this though is to really listen to your child – it’s easy to get carried away and want to pour your wealth of knowledge into them but sometimes they need to learn by expressing their own thoughts and ideas.
Teaching them to take responsibility for their learning
Micro-managing is not always the way forward, or very effective for that matter, tempting though it may be! “We want to keep children in charge of their learning and become responsible for it,” says Dalton Miller-Jones. Taking full responsibility, even for small things such as packing their school bag for the next day, can be a great for teaching kids responsibility. Not only that, it can help them to develop crucial life skills such as organisation and time-management.
Playing on their interests
If your kids have interests and hobbies, play on what they love! Interests outside of school can be great learning opportunities and show kids that learning isn’t all boring! Being supportive of your child as they try new things and hopefully find something they love can also be a great way to build trust and really bond.
Using technology to your advantage
Technology’s role in education is expanding dramatically. Thanks to the use of tablets and apps, young people have a whole world of knowledge and learning at their fingertips. They can learn a new language, new skills, research topics that interest them, watch video tutorials; there are apps for learning maths, history, geography… the list goes on. At age 5, kids are capable of learning a new language simply by watching videos on YouTube. We would, however, advise using Parental Controls or sitting with your child when using online platforms such as YouTube.
While technology vastly broadens the learning opportunities for kids, it is also important to ensure that they are also spending time outside, reading, playing board games and interacting with other people as the social skills they will gain from these activities cannot (currently) be taught through technology. Finding a balance between utilising technology to your advantage but ensuring a well-rounded education for your child is key.
*Quote from http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/supporting-your-learner/role-of-parents/ (accessed 08/03/2018)