Let’s be honest for a second – every parent feels like their child is the smartest in the group, don’t they? Sure. And while that may actually be the case for some parents, the best way not to get disappointed in your child’s learning abilities (or even think they don’t have it in them) is to recognize and acknowledge your children’s learning styles and find ways to make the best of them.
Absolutely! Every child has a unique way of learning, interacting, and observing the world around them. You’ll notice that some children love to sit for hours, reading; others can’t be seated in the same place for too long. There are some kids who like to communicate their feelings through words or drawings; others ask questions and talk. But, how can you, as a parent, determine what your child’s learning style is? Actually, there’s been a chunk of research helping parents understand different ways children learn, and – to find out more – read on.
For the most part, education used to be very narrow. Usually, it would focus on linguistic and logical-mathematical learning styles only while entirely eliminating other, sometimes more relevant learning techniques – but, that’s over. These days, both parents and teachers are presented with a variety of methods that can assist them understand their children and help them learn things in a way suited for their learning type.
What’s very important to note is that children’s different learning styles are a fantastic opportunity for parents to keep themselves challenged and at the top of their game. How so? When it comes to interacting with your little ones, the more attention you pay, the more they’ll feel loved, accepted, and understand that the way they learn – no matter how different it is to the way their peers learn – is also okay.
In terms of identifying and assisting your child in learning, here are three main learning styles you can use as guidelines:
Auditory learning style is recognized in children who use their hearing sense to learn. If you notice your child responds well to things explained out loud, i.e., they understand, remember, and process new concepts better that way, you’ve clocked some of the primary characteristics of this learning style. Further, another significant component of auditory learning is that children will usually retain non-verbal sounds like music, clapping, drum beats, etc. as ways to convey new ideas.
The best way to help your children excel in auditory learning is to encourage them to say and/or read things out loud. Reading stories out loud together, titled cartoons, memorizing lyrics of their favorite songs then singing them, talking to them about new experiences, knowledge, etc. is a fantastic way to speed things up. What is more, you can suggest they join spelling or reading clubs – this would be not only a perfect opportunity for them to improve their learning but also a way to meet new friends who approach learning in the same way they do.
Visual learning style is one of the most common learning styles in children. It is dominated by the sense of sight, as the name suggests.
Kids with this type of learning enjoy books and they gradually progress from picture-books to those with text. If you’ve noticed that your child enjoys videos, clear diagrams, classroom handouts, various demonstrations, etc. and if it appears that they love to play with colors, decorate their room with posters and art alike, they are probably in this learning category.
A visual learner enjoys:
Another very interesting way to spot a visual learner is that they’ll use phrases like “Show me how” when they want to learn something new instead of trying things on their own first. This is because they are more comfortable with looking at what you do and memorizing it (then applying it themselves) than figuring things out for themselves.
To help your little visual learner excel at learning, surround them with all kinds of visual stimuli, books, use charades as a method of learning new things, use highlighters while reading assignments, set up a vision board or a to-do board and fill it up with colorful stickers, assignments, etc. Make sure your visual learner’s learning corner is stripped off of too much color because those will quickly grab their attention and distract them from learning.
Kinesthetic learning style is the most physical. Meaning, when a kinesthetic learner wants to acquire new knowledge, they’ll most likely use phrases like “Can I hold that?” instead of saying “Can I see that?”. To these kids, understanding what something is means touching it, feeling it, and/or moving it around. These kids love interactive displays; if you see your child getting interested in a pop-up book, clay modeling, touchable textures, etc. they are most probably a kinesthetic learner.
To help your child excel at learning, make sure they always have something in their hands; surround them with pattern blocks when you want them to learn math, buy them letter-shaped magnets, and similar tools. Finger snapping, rhythmic motions, and clapping hands have also proven to be perfect methods for kinesthetic learners.
Research suggests that learning styles don’t indicate improved learning. However, the main idea with detecting different learning styles in children is to encourage them and motivate them to embrace their talents, and preferences by helping them achieve results quicker. The best way to help a child learn better is to detect all ways they feel comfortable learning and then gradually encourage those – liberated of just one learning style or method.
On that note, it’s important not to box your child in into a single learning style but give them the freedom to rely on multiple learning methods, the way they find fit.