How To Improve Your Kid's Ability To Learn
Every parent wants their child to succeed in life. We try to help them learn and grow so they can thrive in school and, someday, in the workplace.
Each child is different, and parents may notice their child excels in one area but struggles in another.
We try all kinds of techniques to help our children improve, yet the area we forget about the most is learning how to learn.
By experimenting with different learning strategies with your children, you will discover which learning style helps them excel and can apply that to the subjects where they struggle the most.
How you structure the learning sessions is as important as choosing a learning technique, so let’s start with a great structuring method that’s great for learning and work too!
The Pomodoro Technique
Invented by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, the Pomodoro method is a time management solution that involves alternating periods of work and breaks.
● Each set of work plus a break is called a Pomodoro.
● The work part is 25 minutes long, the break is 5 minutes long.
● After completing four pomodoros, you take a longer break - 20 to 30 minutes.
This is an excellent technique for helping children complete their homework.
It can also work with younger children when adjusted to fit their attention span.
Adjusting Pomodoro for Kids
Try shortening the length of each work period to the amount of time that is easiest for your child to pay attention.
You can also shorten the number of pomodoros that your child completes before taking a long break or lengthen the time of the short breaks.
Other ways to benefit from the Pomodoro Technique include:
● Purchase a fun timer or download an app for your child to use to track their time. The inventor of the technique named it after the Italian word for tomato. It’s based on the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used.
● Start with short time periods and gradually build up to longer periods of concentration as appropriate for your child’s age and personality.
● Develop a reward system to encourage your child to successfully complete a desired number of pomodoros during the day.
● List the steps that your child needs to do to complete a task in order of priority. This will help them know where to focus their energy.
● Remove any distractions from the environment such as cell phones and computers. Turn off TVs and shut windows to block out outside noises.
Ask family members to respect the child's study space and not interrupt them while working.
Finding the Right Learning Technique for your Child
Pomodoro helps you manage time, but you still need to find a learning technique that will work for your child. Every child is different so not every technique will work well.
When helping children learn, it’s important to understand different techniques shown to improve learning and memory.
Some children will take to certain techniques better than others. By trying different ideas and seeing which help your child learn fastest, you can accelerate their learning while keeping them engaged.
A child's most effective way of learning may change depending on the subject and how difficult it is for them.
Test out some of these popular learning techniques to find which are most interesting and effective for your children.
Make learning fun by using gamification to keep kids engaged and help them learn faster.
Gamification is the process of using games to teach children new skills or turning an activity into a game.
Games can range from physical puzzles and activities to mobile apps and video games.
Gamification has proven to have many benefits for learning, including:
● It makes learning interactive and more memorable.
● Keeps children’s attention focused on learning.
● Motivates children to keep learning with in-game rewards.
● Offers feedback in real-time.
How to Gamify the Learning Process
Physical games like cards and board games can turn learning into fun activities. Parents and children can even make up their own games to help with learning difficult subjects.
There is a wide market of mobile apps for children to learn at home or on-the-go.
Skill levels range from toddlers to school-age children and cover everything from developing motor skills to learning to read.
Anything can be made into a game, even if one doesn't already exist.
Key features of gamification are:
● Earning points or experience (XP)
● Mastering Levels
● Competing with others
● Leveling up
● Earning loot/rewards
Basically, you take the main components of a game that provide gratification. This way, children will start correlating positive emotions with learning.
Break a subject into smaller chunks ranging from easy to more difficult.
Create challenges for kids to complete and award them points to "level up" their character as they complete tasks.
When they reach a high enough level, you might want to prepare a “boss fight” - a quiz for example - and offer a super rare reward for taking the boss down.
To reinforce what your child is learning, ask them to explain it to you as though you are a student and they are the teacher.
This helps them review what they’ve learned and help commit it to long-term memory. Use gamification to make this even more fun, and maybe a few props too.
Children enjoy playing games where they are the leader, so acting as a teacher turns a boring review session into an exciting game.
Instead of simply reading books, have your child take notes or highlight important sections of what they’re reading.
This process, known as active reading, helps with understanding and memorization of the material.
Have them review their notes periodically to refresh their memory on key points of the lessons.
Use a Multi-Sensory Approach
Employing multiple senses during the learning process forms stronger memories because the information is stored in multiple parts of the brain.
Sound, smell, taste, and touch can be employed in different ways to help children grasp concepts more quickly.
● Young children learning about animals will remember them better when they can see or touch the actual animal, such as at a petting zoo, versus simply seeing a picture in a book.
● Older children can conduct experiments, watch videos, or listen to audio recordings to help master school subjects.
Learning is a lifelong skill that your child can start honing at an early age.
By giving kids the tools to learn faster and more efficiently, you can help them not only master crucial basic skills but also prepare them for higher education and more difficult subjects.
Are you using tech tools to help your kids learn, or do you prefer to stick to tech free ways?
About the Author
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.