9 ways to make your child a good learner, according to a Mensa consultant
This consultant works with whiz kids everyday.
If there was ever a year that showed us how important the home is to a child's academic progression, it'd be this past one.
Though parents previously thought kids did most of their learning at school and in accordance with a curriculum, learning has always started with and continued in the home. There are all sorts of things parents do that influences their children's learning.
Lyn Kendall, a gifted child consultant at Mensa – the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world – works with gifted kids every day. She thereby has a strong idea of how they learn, and how parents can help optimise their child's learning.
Lyn has put together a list for the Mirror of nine things parents can do to help give their kids a strong foundation and become good, attentive learners. Here's what she suggests.
Talk to them from a young age
While younger kids might not have the skills to verbally express themselves, their comprehension skills are stronger than you may think. Speaking to them from when they're newborns can help develop their language skills.
Show you listen to them
Showing your child that you're paying attention to them not only makes them feel valued, but sets a good example for how they should behave in the classroom. They need to develop attentive listening skills to actually take in what they're being taught, so showing them the importance of listening and being listened to is a good place to start.
Teach them failure is a lesson
Nobody is born all-knowing – if we were, there wouldn't be a need for school. Teach your child that failing or not doing as well as they'd like is okay too. The important thing is to try their best and if they fall short, it's a lesson for next time.
Don't know? Say so!
In the same way we're teaching our kids it's okay for them not to know everything, we should be teaching them we don't know everything, either.
Show your child it's okay not to know things, but that chasing an answer is a good thing. If they ask you something you don't know the answer to, honestly tell them you don't know, but you'll try to find out.
Answer questions with questions
If you do know the answer to what they're asking, Lyn says to not hand them the information straight, as having someone give you the answer doesn't actually teach you anything. She suggests instead saying things like, "tell what you do know about that," or "how can we find out?"
School curriculums are ever-changing, meaning what you and your child learned in school is likely very different. Swap knowledge and information with each other, showing that both are valid.
Find ways to make learning fun
Children spend a lot of time at school. When it comes to homework or home learning, try to make it as engaging as possible through learning games or rewards.
Show them the importance of moderation
Too much of anything isn't good – schoolwork included. Whether your child would prefer all play and no work, or has a tendency to anxiously throw themselves into study, teach them that a work-play balance is important. They need to give their minds a rest and their imagination a chance to run free.
Give them the good, the bad and the ugly
While we all want to give our kids the best of the best, exposure to a range of different materials actually helps kids learn about and appreciate quality through experience and comparison.