Parents are always eager to start teaching their children to read and write. Most parents are able to teach their children the basics – such as the letters of the alphabet, some colours and perhaps some numbers without too much of a fuss.
As parents start to get ambitious with their lessons and try to teach more complicated words or phrases – children start to get restless and nerves tend to get frayed.
Ultimately, lesson time at home deteriorates into a shouting match and parents eventually give up trying – only to try again the next day with limited success or similar results.
Some parents sometimes blame themselves for this outcome. Some parents blame their children – or DIY diagnose them with ADHD.
The truth of the matter is, most people do not know how to teach children. And it is a hard skill to learn.
So what can parents do to “up” their skills as parent-teachers ?
In most cases, all parents need to do is read good articles about teaching young learners and then try to put into practice the concepts and ideas they have read about, until they find teaching methods that work with their children.
Although there is a lot of literature out there concerning teaching methods and techniques to teaching young children, the following points would apply in most cases:
- Parents need to manage their child’s energy levels. Lessons cannot be intensive or dull from beginning to end. Parents need to keep activities varied and avoid being monotonous.
- Children need to be challenged to learn new things. Like adults, children will get into a comfort zone with what they already know and if given a choice, will read and re-read the same books or sing the same songs again and again.
- Children learn best in an immersive environment. This means that classroom style lessons will not work as effectively as a family field trip to a new location.
- Parents need to set-up a suitable study area in the house for lessons to take place. This area has to be distraction free and comfortable. The tables and chairs have to be at suitable height for children to use. Parents cannot expect children to sit down for even 5 minutes if they are getting a backache from poor ergonomics!
- Lesson plans will not always go according to plan. The best laid plans may occasionally deteriorate into screaming matches. Parents have to learn to take it in their stride.
- Parents have to increase the duration of lesson-time gradually. Lesson time cannot start with being an hour long. Most adults will have difficulty sitting down in one place to learn something new for an entire hour at a stretch and children are no different. Lesson time should be gradually increased, start with something as short as 10 minutes if you have to!
- Lesson-time should not come at the opportunity cost of play-time. If the child is forced to stay at home and read while his/her friends are all playing outside or waiting for him/her to come out and join them – it can be a tremendous cause of stress for the child.
- Different methods and tools will help to keep lessons engaging, but too much variety is simply distracting. Parents should stick with a few core activities that have proven effective with their children and experiment with about 30% to 40% of lesson time. Changing things up too much and too frequently makes it difficult for the child to get comfortable and learn effectively.
- There are no wrong questions. Let children ask questions and answer every one as best as you can. When children ask questions, they are in fact showing interest in the subject. Parents should encourage this type of behaviour instead of silencing them in order to move on.
- Screaming at children may work in the short term, but in the long run this is not ideal – for obvious reasons. If parents find themselves screaming at their children frequently during lesson-time, they should take a step back and rethink their strategy – screaming louder than before is usually not the best option to follow.
KidsEnglishCollege™ was recently featured on Feedspot’s – “Top 100 Early Childhood Education Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2018” article. Visit them at this link to view the other blogs that made it to this list. There is a lot of information in that collection that can prove very helpful to parents of children.
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