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As a parent, you want good things for your child. Whether you’ve enrolled your child in daycare, activity camps in their field of interest, a Montessori school, or are home schooling, learning matters to you. And you know how much the brain grows and develops during the first few years of life. As your child enters school age, you still want to encourage learning and growth. But how can you ensure the information sticks in their brains... and still have fun with your kiddo?
Charlie Peacock in “Experience” sings, “We can only possess what we experience/Truth, to be understood, must be lived.” This holds true for learning in children.
Hearing lectures and rote memorization may occasionally be necessary to learning, but in order to reinforce the learning and make it stick, make it real. Turn learning into experiencing.
You don’t have to be a genius or educator to incorporate fun ways to experience what your child is learning. Ask them about their day, what they’ve learned, and even seek their input on how to apply it practically. (If you don’t understand what they’re learning, so much the better! A sneaky way to reinforce what they’ve learned is to have your student turn around and teach it!)
Another wonderful way to help the brain retain new information is to give it a break. Allowing the brain time to process new data helps convert it from short-term to long-term memory. And we all know most children have the attention span of a gnat. So, providing short, defined periods of studying or work, knowing a break is coming, is a positive way to encourage persistence. Brain breaks can reduce frustration with homework, re-energize, re-focus and relax your child. This can make a profound difference in their study habits, cooperation and lifelong relationship to learning.
Pre-plan the breaks so you don’t get into the vicious, “I don’t know what to do!” cycle. Set the ground rules and expectations. This could be, “Study for 20 minutes, then we’ll take a five-minute break.” Or, “After one sheet of homework / three pages of reading, you can play a game. Then you’ll need to finish the second sheet.”
Another key is to make sure however long the work session is, the break happens before frustration and fatigue set in.
Brain break ideas include:
An online search of “brain breaks” or “brain break games” may give you other ideas to keep brain breaks fresh and interesting. Brain breaks not only reduce frustration in your child, but give the brain opportunity to filter and solidify the learning.
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