As a parent or primary caregiver, you play a critical role in supporting your child's early learning and development. There are many simple things you can do at home to help your child get a head start on their education. The ways in which you create learning experiences and help foster important skills will have profound impacts on your child’s life. If you're looking for ways to support your child's early learning, you're in the right place! In this blog post, we'll share five ways that you can help your kiddo learn and grow at home. Whether it's reading together or playing simple games, these tips will make a big difference in your child's development. So let's get started!
When Does Learning Begin?
A child’s learning journey commences long before they begin their formal schooling. You might be surprised to know that learning actually starts at birth. From the moment they are born, babies are learning about the world around them. They learn through their senses and by exploring their environment. During their first five years of life, kids learn at an unbelievable speed, with 85% of their brains developing during this time!
You Are Your Child's First Teacher
Helping Your Child Learn
You don’t need a teaching degree to help your child learn and grow at home. However, your direct and indirect involvement in your child’s early education is significant. Researchers have found that parents that take an active part in their child’s learning often raise children who:
- Achieve more, regardless of education level, racial or ethnic background, or socioeconomic status
- Get better grades
- Score higher on standardized tests
- Have fewer behavior problems
- Show high motivation and more positive attitudes toward school
- Have enhanced social skills
- Have better self-esteem and self-discipline
By providing your kids with a supportive home learning environment, you can help them foster early learning skills that will have a profound impact on their education.
What Can You Do to Support Your Child’s Early Learning?
You as a caregiver play a vital role in your child’s early learning and development. Here are five ways you can support your child's learning at home:
1. Make Time for Reading
Reading is one of the most important things you can do to support your child’s learning. When you read with your child, you are helping them build essential literacy skills. Reading also helps kids develop their vocabulary, learn about the world around them, and improve their listening skills. Make sure to set aside time every day for reading. You can visit your local library, bookstore, or even websites to find e-books that your child will enjoy.
2. Encourage Your Child to Be Curious and Ask Questions
One of the most successful strategies to assist your youngster in learning is to encourage their curiosity. It is important to encourage your child to ask questions. Asking questions is an essential part of learning. When kids ask questions, they are actively engaged in learning. They are also more likely to retain information and understand concepts. When you engage in conversations with your kids and answer their questions, you are helping them make connections and develop critical thinking skills. Asking questions helps children learn how to find answers and solve problems.
As a parent or caregiver, you can encourage your child to ask questions by modeling curiosity yourself. For example, as you read stories together, pause to "think aloud" and ask yourself "I wonder why?" questions about the characters or plot. You can also visit learning websites or apps that allow kids to ask questions and receive feedback.
3. Provide Opportunities for Hands-On Learning
Hands-on learning is a great way to help kids learn about the world around them. When children have the opportunity to explore and experiment, they can develop important scientific skills. There are many ways you can provide opportunities for hands-on learning. You can plant a garden, cook together, build towers out of blocks, or go on nature walks. You can also visit museums, zoos, or aquariums. These places provide great opportunities for learning through experience.
4. Create a Learning-Rich Environment
You can support your child’s learning by creating a learning-rich environment at home. This means providing your child with access to books, games, art supplies, and learning tools that will help them learn and explore. When kids have access to materials and resources, they can explore, experiment, and learn in many different ways. Make sure to also take advantage of everyday opportunities to teach your child new things. For example, you can point out shapes and colors when you are cooking or grocery shopping. You can also teach your child numbers and practice counting when you are doing laundry or folding clothes!
5. Model Positive Learning Behaviors
When you speak positively about learning and model positive learning behaviors, it can help your child develop positive attitudes toward learning. When your kids see you reading, writing, and working on puzzles or other activities, they are more likely to want to do those things themselves. So set the example for your child and let them see you learning, too!
It is important to also be patient, enthusiastic, and engaged when you are helping your child learn. When a learning environment is positive, or supportive, it can help kids feel comfortable, safe, and motivated to learn. Be sure to celebrate your child's progress and make sure to encourage their effort, rather than perfection. By modeling positive learning behaviors and speaking positively about the learning process, you can show your child that learning is important and enjoyable.
What You Do at Home Matters
Primary caregivers are the first and most influential teachers in the life of a child. Often times, you’re all your kids got for a large chunk of their crucial formative years. When you participate in your child’s early learning, you can help to ensure that they have a positive start to their education. And by creating a supportive home learning environment, you can help your child build a strong foundation from within the walls of your home. Just remember, have fun! Playing and learning go hand-in-hand for young children. When learning is fun, it becomes less of a chore and more of an adventure. So, take the time to have fun and explore together!
Need to Improve Your Home Learning Environment?
If you're looking for educational products to support your child's learning at home, check out our Launch Collection that features our We Are Family - Memory Matching Game, our Alphabet Matching Puzzles, and our Black History Flashcards.
They are great resources to add to your home to create a learning-rich environment and support your child in developing essential learning skills through play!