5 Easy-To-Implement Tips to Help Your Young Kids Learn At Home.
Looking for quick and easy ways to improve learning & attention span with your kids at home? We have gone to the experts – teachers - and asked them for the tops 5 tips they have for parents to improve home schooling and early childhood learning. Here's what they had to say...
Routine, Routine, Routine
Children thrive when they have routine. They do best when routines are regular, predictable and consistent. Kids love to know what is expected of them and what they can expect from their day. Try these tips out. Make sure you ‘prep’ the night before- this will save you time in the morning. Create a positive wake-up routine and make sure your child eats breakfast –it is SO important for learning. Perform morning routine together or if they are capable, the can do their routine by themselves. Get dressed, brush teeth, wash face and get ready to learn for the day!
Distraction-free learning area
We have heard so many children tell us they do their homework with the TV on in the background. This is extremely distracting for kids- reducing concentration and attention span (but that’s another blog entirely!) Turn off the TV, put phones on vibrate (or even better- silent) and find a space in your home where you can set up a quiet learning area. Beware! Kids are masters at finding excuses to delay starting an activity, so make sure you always deal with hunger and bathroom breaks first. Allow them to take frequent breaks (according to their attention span) and keep the area organized and tidy. Limit the distractions and do your best to motivate your child to focus on the task at hand. Try L4S Reward stickers- there are loads of themes and languages to choose from, they do wonders to encourage positive learning!
Age Appropriate Learning
The fastest way to crashing and burning when home schooling your child is asking them to do something that they are not emotionally or mentally ready for. Teach your child based on what is appropriate for their stage of development. It is helpful to understand how our children think.
Young children tend to be concrete thinkers- they need to touch, feel and participate in learning. At first, they struggle with abstract concepts like numbers and symbols. Find things around the house to healp engage your child. Children like to actively participate when they are learning. They also see the world from their own perspective (as I am sure you are very aware!). Another insight is that young children have 'centered thinking'- they process 1 variable at a time. They tend to see an object by its colour or its shape, not both. A good rule of thumb is “one thing at a time”, so for example instead of introducing shapes and colours- rather just focus on colours first, then shapes- separately.
Age vs. Attention Span
I’m sure you have heard about this generations diminishing attention span caused by over-exposure to technology. With access to information and entertainment being almost instantaneous, it has been suggested that our kids’ brains are being rewired to obtain information in short bursts, reducing their attention span. We can, of course, limit their technology breaks and work on improving our children’s attention span based on what is appropriate for their age. Younger children have a shorter attention span than older children. Try this. Cut their day up into bite-sized chunks that is manageable for yourself and your kids. Break up activities with brain breaks or movement breaks. There are loads of fun kids Youtube videos out there as resources.
Movement breaks are a super fun way for kids to take a break. Activities like stretching hands, touching toes, jumping jacks, hopping on 1 leg, balancing and other stretches make a 'boring' day of learning fun for the kids. Set a timer for the average attention span of your child and do one movement activity per break.
Everyone knows that confidence is key when it comes to learning! Tackling a difficult task successfully often starts with a positive attitude and confidence. Here are some tips to build your child’s confidence. Firstly, stop comparing your child to others- whether it’s an outgoing friend or overachieving sibling. Instead, focus on what makes your child different and let them know what is special about them. Consider your compliments and how you word them. “Good job” can be repetitive and doesn’t guide learning. Praise them for sitting nicely in their chair, praise them for holding their pencil correct or for concentrating for a whole 10 minutes! Acknowledge them when they do something right, anything right! You’ll start seeing your kids being proud of themselves or siblings trying to also get some positive praise by sitting nicely too! Let them know your love is unconditional and set aside time for undivided individual attention.
We know home-schooling moms are very busy so we have put together some additional resources for you to go through when you have time if you would like to know more. We would like to thank the teachers involved in the blog and of course all the teachers who are going back to school to get our kids classrooms ready for their return! Moms, you are amazing, be patient with yourselves and keep an eye out for our next blog.
Sources and additional resources:
Distraction Free Learninghttp://teacherhabits.com/how-to-create-a-distraction-free-learning-zone-at-
Age Appropriate Learninghttps://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/play-learning/learning-ideas/learning-baby-to-preschool
Attention Span by Agehttps://blog.brainbalancecenters.com/normal-attention-span-expectations-by-age
Movement & Brain BreaksYoutube videos to get them up and moving -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=388Q44ReOWE
TheLearningStation - Kids Songs and Nursery Rhymes