Getting children to learn can be tricky, but the lessons they can pick up outside of a nursery or early years provider are also vital in preparing them for life when they get to school. Many schools set homework as soon as children begin primary school (with reading and other basic tasks beginning in reception) so, while your little one won’t be having to write essays late into the night just, it’s important to remove any barriers to home learning at the earliest opportunity.
It’s good to try to provide a stimulating, creative and educational home environment that can reinforce and supplement the early educational foundations of early years – but we understand that that can sound easier said than done. With that in mind, here are four things to consider to help you and your child.
Stock up on essentials
A few key items will ensure you’re able to provide everything your child needs to learn. Pens, pencils, paper and crayons are an absolute must – for educational sessions and for bursts of inspiration when they just want to creative. After all, these are good for honing fine motors skills.
But don’t let your ink cartridge run out either. There are loads of great online resources and worksheets for parents to print off and use as the basis and focus of a short burst of educational time.
You can also load up your device of choice with age-appropriate apps that have an element of learning to them.
Sit with them
Sitting down with your child to do something educational can also be some really rewarding time for the two of you to spend together.
It’s important that you don’t start using your phone or laptop during this time, be there for them and help them along if they get stuck. That way you send the message that its work time for both of you and not just them. They’re also unlikely to have the ability to sit and work independently just yet, so you have a crucial role to play.
Little ‘firsts’ that you see along the way will be magical moments that you’ll remember forever, even if they don’t.
Create a schedule
As well as sowing the seeds for future learning, you’re also helping to get your child into good habits, with a routine that includes a bit of learning as a matter of course.
Routines give children a sense of familiarity and comfort and can be used effectively to help their development. If your activity is known to them as a regular occurrence – maths mornings, story time or art afternoons, for example - they will be far more likely to accept it.
Give support and acknowledgement
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool when it comes to motivation. If your child does sit down and work for half an hour and exclaims “I did it!”, be sure to grab this opportunity and congratulate them on their success. This shows that their efforts have been considered and recognised.
This pat on the back will also stick in their memory and help persuade them to get on with learning next time they are required to do so. It’s a very small but effective technique which could prove to make all the difference.