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How to help and encourage children to learn

Instilling a passion for learning is one of the best gifts you can give a child, but how do you encourage children to learn?

So how do we help and encourage children to learn? By teaching children to love learning, you teach them to be flexible, open-minded, adaptable and problem solvers. This will help and encourage a child to learn. Preparing children for anything—by not preparing them for specifics—enables children to deal with the challenges of an unpredictable, ever-changing world.

Praise children for attempting to learn. Encourage them to employ effective study strategies. For example, when studying for a mathematics test, stress that actively comes when solving math problems works better than simply glancing at notes. The focus on effort and strategies places your child on the path towards competence.

When faced with a grade, whether high or low

The best question a parent or tutor can ask a child is, ‘How are you going to use this experience improve your grades?’ The technique of examining how to use the experience (rather than focusing on the grade) works particularly well for anxious children and those who are perfectionists. Such children can become stuck. They concentrate on the negative feedback and obsess solely on numbers and grades. Help them shift their focus back to the process. This can ease anxiety, particularly when we help them prioritise the aspects of learning they can control.

How to help and encourage children to learn?

A character seeking help. How to help children love reading by HNL Tutors ltd.

Tell them of your own failures and how you overcame them

Adults take it for granted that success requires hard work and overcoming obstacles. However, this is not always obvious to children. Take the time to explain your own experience of a learning curve. This helps children to understand the connection between hard work and rewards. They will also see that they are not experiencing their learning curve alone; they are not the first to have gone through the struggle. These techniques encourage your child to study independently.

‘My son has lost interest in his studies.’

Praise the effort more than talent and this will encourage him to learn.

Stanford University’s Carol Dweck PhD., a pioneering researcher in the study of motivation, and author of the immensely enlightening book Mindsetreveals that praising children for effort rather than their natural abilities makes them more willing to take on challenges. So, praise your child for attempting to learn, no matter how small the effort. Encouraging them to employ effective study strategies is another tried and trusted technique. For example, when studying for a mathematics test, stress that actively solving maths problems is more beneficial than simply reading the theory. Focusing on effort and easy-to-follow strategies places your child on a path toward competence and will help and encourage children to learn.

A young boy working independently with glasses and looking very intelligent. HNL Tutors Ltd.

Final words on encouraging children to learn

If a child has lost confidence in learning, there are several strategies you can employ to put them back on the right path. Teach them to love learning. Always praise them for trying, focus on the practical, and share your own experiences. Most of all, a lack of interest now doesn’t have to lead to poor grades in the future. By examining why, a child has lost confidence, a parent or tutor can understand what needs to be done to regain it, and from there rebuild an interest in learning through positive reinforcement. These techniques encourage children to study independently.

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