As parents, we all want learning to be easy for our children. In the past, the generally accepted opinion was that children were either born smart or they weren’t, and there wasn’t much parents, teachers, or caregivers to do to make a difference in a child’s intellectual progress. Fortunately for today’s children, we now know better. Research shows that there are many things that adults can do to help children have an easier time learning at every stage of development, from the time a fetus is in utero, all the way through the school years.
Here are some things that you can do to help your daycare-aged child learn easier.
Use Baby Talk
Baby talk is awfully cute, but adults tend to think it’s detrimental to language development if used when speaking with a toddler. Today we know that’s not at all the case. Children need to learn to identify distinct sounds, and parentese, as researchers have dubbed the slow, sing song cadence that us lay people know as baby talk, does exactly that. With elongated vowels and easy to recognize transitions, parentese assists the auditory cortex in recognizing vowel-consonants groupings in children under the age of two.
Read Out Loud
Reading out loud to children really makes a difference. Children pick up language patterns and common word usage when sitting and listening to a book that’s being read. It’s not quite the same as participating in a conversation because when a child is being read to, their attention is totally focused on the words being said, making it an ideal learning opportunity. Reading picture books also increases a child’s vocabulary, exposes them to new idea, helps children associate words with the corresponding pictures, and develops intellectual curiosity, an important base for a future interest in learning.
Take a Step Back
Children have a good idea of where to go in terms of learning. The methodology used in Montessori schools is based on this philosophy, that children have a natural desire to learn and are programed to seek out that learning in the manner most suited to them developmentally. You can take advantage of this with your own children by presenting them with multiple learning opportunities and allowing them to explore uninterrupted. Go for an unhurried walk in nature with your child and allow her to examine everything — the leaves on the trees, the grass and plants growing, all the insects that abound — at her own pace. Answer questions if she asks, but let her take the lead as she figures out the way the world around her works. This self-directed learning will help her in the future to be proactive, curious, and concentrate on learning.
As parents and caregivers, we are able to give children the tools they will need for their future in many ways, and the ability to learn easily is a very important one. Giving children proper exposure to language and new concepts, in a way that is best for them developmentally is something every adult who works with children should do.
This post was provided by Heather Jenkins, an expert in child education. She used Brampton child care services to help her child learn. She strongly recommends Rise-N-Shine Kids for their excellent staff. They are located at 255 Queen Street East #5 Brampton, ON L6W 2B8 (416) 648-4567.