When we think of learning, we tend to think of classrooms and teachers and textbooks and all sorts of things that do not at all sound like fun. For a child, learning can be difficult because their small minds are wired for fun, not work. It is important that our children not relate the terms “learning” and “work” – we want to create an exciting world where learning happens naturally alongside a hefty dose of fun.

In our busy world, it may seem challenging to find time to teach your child and help them learn, but, it doesn’t have to be a process of forethought and preparation.

Here are 3 ways you can easily help your child learn:

Take the Time to Re-Discover the World

As much as your children will grow during their lifetime, you, as a parent, continue to grow too. You have the opportunity to learn along with your child.

As your child discovers the joy of raindrops for the first time, you may find yourself rediscovering a sense of joy and awe.

Why is it important that you learn and discover new things? Because your child will learn from you. The first person a child learns from is their parent/parents. When you take an active interest in learning and discovering, your child will too. You have to lead by example – as a parent, you inspire your child and encourage them to explore the world we live in. The best way to do that is to constantly seek new learning experiences yourself.

Introduce Your Child to Music

Studies have shown that music stimulates certain brain connections and can help develop a child’s memory skills.

Even if your child seems resistant to learning music at first, you can encourage them by allowing them to choose an instrument that interests them, play a variety of different music in your home, teach your child how to sing songs, take them to age-appropriate concerts or have them make up song and tunes with you.

Share Books with Your Child

Most of us have early memories of our mothers or fathers reading us our favorite story while curled up in a big, comfy chair or snuggled into our beds at night. Sharing books and reading with your child should be as natural as giving them a bath or making their breakfast.

Books not only open the door to learning and knowledge, but they also help children better understand their own ideas and feelings. They see and hear about other kids like them and others from around the world who are different. Books also nurture imagination and pretend play skills – we’ve all seen little ones acting out the stories they hear.

Although reading with children is rewarding for both adults and children, they also need time to look at books alone. This allows them the opportunity to look at the pictures and develop the habit of “reading”, even though they can’t read yet.

Books are a user-friendly activity and require no preparation or clean-up other than placing them back on a shelf. Reading can also happen anywhere – long car rides, plane trips, waiting rooms and shopping carts – you can hand a child a book and make just about any transition or an otherwise boring activity exciting.

If your child is not a big fan of books or reading, try these tips to make reading fun:

• Popcorn Reading

While reading a book together, you and your child take turns reading aloud. When the one who is reading says the word “Popcorn”, it is the other person’s turn to read. This way, your child can easily pass on words they do not know.

• Reading Buddy

Pair your child up with an older sibling, relative or friend, and have them read a book out loud together.

• Highlight Heaven

Grab an older book and a highlight and have your child highlight every word on the page that they can read. After all the words your child knows are highlighted on the page, take a moment to see how many words they know. This is a great confidence booster.

• Flashlight Reading

Before your child is too tired at the end of the day, grab a flashlight and read in a dark room together.

• Secret Hideout

Help your child build a fort (either inside or outside) using nearby materials such as pillows, blankets or plywood. Make sure you can fit and bring your child’s favorite book. Once in your secret hideout, get comfortable and read away.

• Reading Corner

Make a “reading corner” somewhere in your home. Let your child choose the spot and decorate it. Add some bean bags or pillows to make it cozy and comfortable.

• Picture Detective

Have your child flip through a book and look at all the pictures – get them to explain what they think is happening/going to happen in the story. Read the story and see how close they were.

• Pop-Up Word

Choose a word that your child has a particularly difficult time reading – every time your child reads that word, both of you stand up. This will help them remember the word because an action is associated with it. This works well with kinesthetic learners (children who need to move all the time and touch and feel everything).

• Star of the Story

Have you ever seen those personalized storybooks where your child’s name is printed in the story? This is a unique way to get your reluctant reader excited about a book! In these books, your child’s name and the name of their friends or family members are printed in the story line, making your child the star of their very own book.

Learning helps children to gain knowledge and will eventually lead them to success in their lives. You, as a parent, can make this experience fun and enjoyable. And who knows…you may learn something too!

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