The end of January 2014 was an exciting time for me as a parent – my five-year-old son was heading off to school for his first day in Foundation (or what I still call Prep). I don’t know who was more excited – me or him. I was such a proud Dad walking him to school, finding out where his classroom was, which of his kinder friends were going to be in class, and seeing where he was going to spend six hours of his day. This was my first experience with a child entering primary school. My daughter who is two years old was the only child crying in the classroom because she DIDN’T want to leave.
But as I dragged her away screaming “I want to stay and play!”, I thought to myself – have my wife and I best prepared our son for primary school? Is he ready socially and emotionally to cope? Is he determined to concentrate and listen? And will he find learning fun?
We did our best to prepare him for school:
We read to him early from a young age. He loves to read now, saying that he won’t go to bed until we a book read with him.
We took time to teach him why we shouldn’t do or say things to make someone sad or upset, and asked him what he’d do to cope with someone calling him names or pushing him around.
It’s those little conversations that I’ve seen really stick with him, more so than the ‘come, sit down and let me tell you’ type of talk.
Making learning fun for him was important to us, right from the beginning when we gave him tummy-time as a bub, to learning to ride a bike without training wheels when he was a toddler, to now as a little boy learning to spell out words and write them down. It was about encouraging and creating his motivation to learn.
For me, if learning is fun and he feels secure in his environment, it will help him to become a clever kid. With my son it is about making a game of learning, currently about relating it to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and working this into our teachings.
If you can find out what it is that will make learning fun for your child, motivating them will not be a problem. It will all fall into place, and then they will love to learn.
Here are some tips that could help motivate your child to learn:
- Trying should be praised, especially if they don’t get the correct answer. Motivation to keep trying is what will empower a child to keep learning new things.
- Clean an area designated to learning. If you provide a routine of where you go to learn, this will help your child get in the right frame of mind before you even utter a word.
- A tidy learning area makes for less distractions and more engagement.
I found these tips in an Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) Members-only e-guide called “Motivating children to learn – A common sense e-guide to help parents motivate their children to learn”.
I think that encouraging and motivating your child to learn is the most important thing you can teach them before they head off to school.