I have always thought that learning and study time will always equate to fun time for my children — until one of my kids became of school age. I realized that I have to make learning more enjoyable, and that I have to think of fun ways to reinforce what she learns in school.
And although I am fine with my children not getting a perfect mark in all of their quizzes and exams, I would like them of course to be an above average student or at the very least have good grades. More importantly, I want them to have good study habits that will guide them through the rest of their school years.
Instilling Joy in Studying
In the parenting books and resources that I have read, senior preschool years, and early elementary is the best time to foster good study habits. I think having a positive attitude about learning can be likened to great eating habits, as well as other habitual healthy routines that we as parents would like to establish on our children. Once they get used to reviewing for quizzes, prioritizing assignments and projects, and loving reading in general, studying will come as second nature to them even without us having to nag them all the time.
But how do we make learning more enjoyable for kids? When our homes are filled with distraction like TV shows, games and gadgets and traditional toys, it will be hard to compete for your child’s attention. Add to that the stress that some children experience for having to wake up really early to beat the heavy traffic on the way to school, and then back again to our homes. Establishing a fun learning environment can indeed be a challenge, hence I have always kept on reading books and articles written by renowned child education experts that will help in this aspect.
Allow me to share with you some of the learnings I have gained and provide tips for you, my fellow moms, on how to make studying more enjoyable for children.
One of the guide questions that helped me come up with the tips below is “if I were in my kids’ shoes, how would I like my mom to help me out with my studies?” Try asking yourself the same question as well because most likely this will clue you in as to how your kid will find learning at home more enjoyable.
Tips to make learning more enjoyable for kids:
1. Do not be too rigid. Elementary aged children are taught in a formal classroom setting, hence providing a variation at home can be more exciting for your child. For instance, you can use other learning methods that will be fun for your children. Visual aids, and other materials that can help them grasp their lessons well can help get and retain their attention.
2. Think out of the box. Learning and studying after school should not just be confined in your living room, dining table, or your child’s room. You can always get out of your home to teach them the concepts that they find hard to understand. For instance, types of plants are better seen in real life than just being read on photos. A practical way of teaching children addition with decimal points, or other math concepts is in the supermarket where they can see price tags, add up the costs, and more. For younger children, a lot of practice counting can be done in groceries too! Same with identification of fruits and vegetables (and even sea animals!). Make that field trip during the weekend, or if you live with one close by, take a short trip today!
3. Media is not your arch enemy. Media has always been vilified when it comes to learning, but hey, remember during our school years there are days when we would go to the AV Room to watch a movie or a documentary to help us grasp the concept the teacher is teaching us. As parents we should use the television and the internet to our advantage. A perfect example was when I was teaching my eldest to ready the clock. She gets bored when I teach it to her the way a teacher would. So what I did was to buy her a toy clock, and let her watch a Youtube clip of learning how to read the clock. Set a timer and let her watch. She will enjoy it. Same goes with Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, and Animal Planet. They get to learn a lot about the world, the animals, and nature. I am glad that my daughter likes the show Monster Fish, Animals Gone Wild, Places We Go, Living Free and even cooking shows like Sugar and Chocolate Covered. I also make her watch snippets of TV news (both local and foreign) when there are weather disturbances, or important current events that take place.
4. Make study time fun and relaxing. Make the area conducive for studying, and at the same time serve them their favorite snack or treat. My eldest daughter Achiebelles loves Oishi Pillows and I indulge her with this to make her look forward to assignment time. Same goes with Bread Pan that she loves to munch on during our reviews. And since both have a variety of flavors to choose from, we do not experience the “sawa” factor because I get to rotate the flavors and the snacks for every study time.
5. Never stop learning. As parents we should also not put a stop in learning. I may have three kids and a parenting website, but I have NEVER claimed to be an expert on parenting. That is why I emphasize in most of my articles that I read a lot, and talk to older and more experienced parents because they have survived the parenting trenches that I am treading right now so that I could learn more and impart these learnings to my readers. We should find the time to research ways about how to better connect with our children, make their environment more conducive for learning, and help make studying time for fruitful for them.
6. Reward the children for their good study habits. Doing great in an exam or quiz, or getting high grades in school should earn children some sort of reward from their parents. It does not have to be expensive. Simple rewards like a movie time with the family with them choosing the film to watch, a favorite treat from their favorite restaurant, later bed time during weekends, and even a simple toy. In our household we have this rewards chart to track the good behavior of our children, using stickers and rewards.
If you wish you can make your family chart more specific towards study habits. Give badges for every quizzes your child passed, or each assignment that she worked on without much assistance from you.
Like us adults, children get tired and stressed out. Their bodies are not built for waking up too early to battle heavy traffic on the way to school. They may get too tired from battery of examinations and quizzes. Extra-curricular activities can also tire them out.
Allow your child to recharge in a fun way. Let them rest first before prodding them to work on their assignment. When we get home from school, I usually allow my child to rest for a bit, give her a snack like Oishi Pillows plus a drink of water or milk, and then relax for a while.Lately, she is also into eating Bread Pan. She likes the different flavors especially the butter and the toasted garlic.
After finishing her after-school merienda, she can play with her siblings, or play with her toys. We then settle down to do our assignment and review for examinations. After that we fix her things for the following day, and prepare other things she may need for school.
So there you have it, hope you have learned from this post, and would give the above suggestions a try as we all journey into establishing good study habits for our children. For comments and suggestion please drop by our Facebook Page, and follow us on Pinterest and Instagram for more local parenting information.
A Happy Homemaker is a Happy Pinay Mommy!
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