The COVID-19 pandemic suspended schools and preschools in many parts of the world, disrupting young children’s learning experiences. What has transpired of this inactivity is a loss of interest in studies among children.
This article talks about how you, as a parent, can help your preschooler cope with their studies by motivating them and keeping them interested all through as the world slowly returns to normalcy.
These are the ways in which we can incorporate a more conducive environment in a time of COVID-19:
1. Create the Perfect Reading Atmosphere
Reading helps build vocabulary and speed up the brain process to understand new concepts better. One of the many benefits of reading is that your child can gain more skills that can help propel their ability in subjects taught in school, such as mathematics and science.
Given its importance, developing your child’s reading skills becomes imperative. Start by providing an environment that encourages reading. To do this, you can have books around for your child to read. Keep books that your child likes to read in places like the living room, their bedroom, and their play area.
Next, make your child’s reading area more inviting with good lighting. You can do this by finding the more optimum colour temperatures and brightness of light bulbs that aren’t too bright nor too dull.
Children love variety, so you need to keep this in mind when choosing your child’s reading materials. Alphabet books, rhyming books, poetry, picture books, and non-fiction books are among your child’s early childhood education essentials. These materials ignite curiosity; for example, your child can look at illustrations on picture books and ask questions.
Finally, you need to ensure that your child’s reading area is free from noise or any other distractions. According to a report, children aged three years old can focus on a task for a maximum of 9 minutes. This means that setting up your child’s reading area next to your living room or in places with frequent movements will hinder your child’s learning process.
2. Let Your Child Take Control
Your child is probably not coping with their studies because all they experience in school is control, control, and control. You need to change this mentality when you are at home with your child. Let them take charge of their learning experience.
Asking your child for their input in learning activities, such as reading and writing, helps boost their confidence and motivation to learn. For example, ask your child to choose whether they want to write letters or numbers.
From this, you will be able to monitor your child’s preference, which in turn gives you a better idea of what works for your child.
According to natural child.org, deciding nearly everything for your child is tantamount to limiting their freedom of thought, causing unnecessary overwhelming stress for your child.
However, to ensure the success of this approach, you must first encourage your child to express their ideas by asking them questions. Over time, your child will know that they do have the freedom to contribute, express and control of their learning.
3. Try Out Different Learning Styles
Every child has a preferred learning style and so does your child. However, you need to note that there isn’t any right or wrong learning methodology. The best you can do is give your child the freedom to discover the best learning style to unveil their full potential.
There are four different learning styles: Visual learners, auditory learners, reading and writing learners, and kinesthetic learners. It is, therefore, important that you know what type of learner your child is.
Visual learners are children who learn better when information is presented to them in graphic forms. They can vividly remember different things, such as people, names, and places. Some other signs that your child is a visual learner include having an interest in art, a good understanding of maps, and a keen interest in observing things around them.
Auditory learners refer to children who thrive best when information is presented to them vocally. Auditory learners also have an interest in musical instruments and are good listeners. Your child is an auditory learner if they have a music aptitude, love to talk and engage in discussions or have the ability to listen.
Reading or writing learners are children who can learn better by reading and writing. They love to read every word they come across and always want to write it down. While your child may not write properly, an early sign that they are reading or writing learners is when they love scribbling words on every piece of paper they come across.
Finally, kinesthetic learners refer to children who must take part in the learning process to understand a concept and achieve the best results. Most children who are kinesthetic learners love sports and dancing. They also love to fidget when they sit down, which means sitting for long hours with them learning may not work.
In a nutshell, children are gifted differently, so find out what works best for your child. Trying out different things and monitoring how your child responds to them is one way to understand your child’s learning style.
4. Adopt Game-Based Learning
Game-based learning is one of the best learning concepts proven to work for many children. It motivates children to want to learn, enhances deeper learning, and promotes non-cognitive skills in your child.
Before you adopt game-based learning for your child, you should define the purpose of adopting it in the first place. If your child can’t understand core materials, then adopting game-based learning for them is a good idea. Knowing how you’ll implement a game into your child’s learning process will help you choose the right game.
When adopting game-based learning for your child, you need to test the game and see if it aligns with the learning goals you have in mind. Adjust the settings to control the content your child will view. For example, some video games will allow you to match questions with class content.
You also need to ensure that the game you are using for your child’s learning is easy. If the game is complicated, do illustrate to your child how the game is played so that they can follow along. Games that are too complicated will quickly make your child lose interest, thus wasting all of your efforts to help them learn.
Find educational games that you can both enjoy and help your child learn through them. However, ensure you are not changing the games too often. Instead, allow some time for your child to adapt.
This way, it’s easier to track what games work well for your child and those that don’t. This allows for various ways for your child to cope with studies, by understanding what suits them.
Educational games can enhance a child’s learning process, improve efficiency, and increase a child’s motivation to learn. Also, game-based learning can help boost your child’s confidence by 20 percent. This is because your child feels some sense of accomplishment each time they move to the next level.
Signs and Causes of Stress in Toddlers
Signs of stress in toddlers vary. According to Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution, “Every child is unique and will display their signs of stress.”
This is why you need to watch out for your child if they show any unusual behaviours or signs that they might be undergoing stress. Below are some signs of stress in toddlers:
- Your child finds it hard completing school work
- Frequent habit reliance, such as thumb-sucking
- A shift in your child’s eating or sleeping habit
- Your child feels tired, anxious, and depressed quite often
- Your child is not interested to participate in learning activities
But what are some of the reasons for stress in toddlers? Below are possible reasons that cause stress in toddlers:
- Separation anxiety
- Significant family changes
- Changing schools
- Overwhelming schedules
- Unexpected world events
So how can you deal with your child’s stress?
- Stick to your child’s learning schedule
- Ensure to plan and allow your child to process
- Be mindful of what TV shows your child engages with
- Increase hugs and kisses you give to your child
- Create breaks in between home-based learning/ activities
Your child should never lag with their studies. These recommendations aim to share with you the ways in how children cope with studies.
To find the best approach for your child is to experiment and learn what works best. For example, understanding the different learning types and allowing your child to take control to require patience. But, all of this will give you greater depth in understanding your child in the long run.