How Do Children Learn
The short answer to this is, mainly through play. This is because children spend a large proportion of their time playing, especially younger children. Even in school the younger the child the more likely their teachers will incorporate play into their lessons.
My son is not at school yet, however he does go to childcare where he learns and follows the early year’s curriculum. Already I can see that he has learnt so much from this environment.
However, as wonderful and amazing as I think his caregivers/ teachers are, I do feel that it is important that I try and teach him a few things myself. However, quite often this is so much more easier said than done. Children do not always make such willing students.
The seven different learning styles
It is thought that there are seven different learning styles and some people will learn better using certain learning styles than others.
The seven learning styles are-
- Aural – learning through sounds or audio
- Logical – learning through problem solving or maths
- Physical – learning through activity or movement
- Social – learn better through working with others
- Solitary – learn better working on your own
- Verbal – learning through speech or communication
- Visual – learning through pictures or written text
You may have had to learn about and find out your preferred learning style at some point during education. However, identifying your learning style is helpful as it will aid you greatly in life, not just education. If for instance you want to learn to cook knowing your learning style will help you decide if you should go for a class, get a cooking book, ask a friend to teach you, use YouTube, or something completely different.
How do the learning styles apply to children?
In children, it is thought that most children fit into aural, physical, or visual learners. Knowing how your child learns will aid you greatly in knowing how to help them with their learning.
My son is more of a physical learner, he learns much better by doing things, the more active the better. So, when I do try and teach him something I have better results by getting him to actually do something rather than trying to tell him or showing him pictures/ videos.
However, all children are different, just like all people different. I have figured out how best to approach my son through a lot of trial and error as well as blood, sweat, and tears (yes, defiantly a lot of tears).
Childhood learning according to age
As well as learning styles, children will also learn differently depending on their age and the stage if development they have reached. How a baby learns will be completely different to how a 6 year old learns.
Generally, babies learn about the world through their senses due to their limited mobility. Older babies/ toddlers/ and younger children start to have the capability to reason and think about the world around them.
Older children to preteens start to think about the world around them, they start to realise just how big the world is. Early teens and onwards start to really test their place in the world and will go on to find where they fit in.
Things to think about when trying to aid learning
So, you have figured out your child’s learning style and you have taken into consideration their age. There are other things you will need to consider such as how long they can concentrate on one thing for. If a child loses focus or gets bored then trying to get them to engage in learning is pointless. It’s best to stop and come back to what you are doing at a later time. Sometimes children will surprise you with how much they have taken in, even when it does not look like it.
You will also need to consider how you will approach mistakes that they make. Everyone makes mistakes, we are all human. Mistakes are a part of the learning process and are normal. Try not to focus too much on mistakes, correct them and move on. Make sure to give credit where it is due, children thrive on praise.
Children learn the best in environments that are stimulating and stress free, they will pick up topics and activities that interest them better than topics or activities that they hate. If you can at all try to take the topics or activities they hate and incorporate something that they do like. So if your child loves animals but hates maths then try to incorporate animals into maths.
Try to remember, learning must be fun
It can be really frustrating trying to teach your child something and they do not always make it easy. I have spent so much time exasperated because my son isn’t interested, isn’t getting it, is running away from me.
The worst thing for me is that he doesn’t appreciate just how important the things I am trying to teach him are, we need to learn to talk, count, recognise colours, use the toilet! Yet, he acts like its a major inconvenience and that I am just spoiling his fun and wasting his time, he was in the middle of a very important game!
I think the most frustrating thing for me as a parent is realising and remembering that whilst yes, it is important that he learns absolutely everything, he doesn’t need to learn it all today, there is always tomorrow, or the next day, or next week, and so on. The truth of the matter is most children will get there one day, and for those things they don’t get they will get around them the way everyone else does (thank you so much Google and YouTube!)
So before you tear your hair out and declare that your child is destined to fail, just stop and breathe. You child will be fine, your child will get there in their own time, your child is wonderful and amazing and capable of so much. Remember everything that they can do and everything they have achieved.