Helping your child learn

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

Each child has their own distinct style of learning. Also, the capability and interests of each child varies. Children do best in those areas in which they have natural interest. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   In others, they have to be pushed to achieve parity with their class.  The chances are that if your child is strong in geography he may need help in science or mathematics. You can optimize the performance of your child once you know your childs interests and grasping power.

Children approach a task in their own inimitable styles. One child may approach the task through the written word, another may visualize the same while a third may do it best when working with a group. The three learning styles are called visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), and haptic (kinesthetic-tactile).

Child psychologists and educationists have evolved methods that can help parents determine the childs learning style. It is not necessary that children may be adept in only one learning style. They can combine more than one learning style to obtain the best results.

Visual learners perform best when the study material is in the form of a graphic like charts, tables, maps, etc. They might falter when given verbal instructions. Parents should give written instructions and use highlighters to brighten up the notes. Illustrated texts and flash cards should be used for teaching such children. This will help them grasp concepts more easily.

Auditory learning is beneficial for those children who can listen for a long period of time without being distracted. They can grasp the concepts faster when they hear them. Parents should encourage their children to tape notes or important concepts so that they can learn it when they play the tapes.  You should also encourage them to create their own rhymes and songs based on text to increase their ability to recall facts faster. Recitation can also be used as an aid for learning.

There are a few children whose learning style can be classified as the haptic type. Mobility is a must for these children. They usually fiddle with things and get distracted easily if they sit idle for long. They need to keep moving to maintain their concentration for effective learning. Urge then to write key words in the air or on the table with their fingers.

Parents should adopt the hands on learning method. Since they cannot sit in one position for long they should be allowed to change positions. They can take breaks for small intervals while studying. They can utilize these breaks for stretching or walking around the house so that they can refocus again. They should also be asked to take notes and rewrite them several times.

Once the parents understand the childs strengths and weaknesses as a learner, they can categorize the problems and develop strategies to tap the childs potential. However, they should be careful not to push their child too much. They should try and make learning fun for their children, and not a tiresome chore.