Parents often wonder why children are happy to work and follow routine at school but want to have their way at home. Here’s how to present activities in a way that the children have “skin in the game”.
- Display a variety of age appropriate activities and give the child the option to choose. A child who makes a choice takes ownership and is more invested in what he chooses as opposed to being forced or commanded to do one or the other. For example, in the same voice and manner you would present a food menu to friends, you could say, “Bello dear, I have here: addition of numbers, filling in missing letters, colouring a cat, and pairing plants, which would be most exciting to start with?”
- Display materials and tools attractively where children can easily reach them and work comfortably. Colourful counters around a math book attracts a child to count in the same way colourful crayons around an art book invites the child to draw and colour.
- Present activities where children can learn through their own investigation. Investigations involve presenting work as play, for instance, addition can be brought alive by using concrete materials to show how two addends make a sum. Then challenging the child to make more sums with the quantity given. Once the child is engaged, do not intervene unless the child asks for assistance. You may ask if you can help if the child seems to need help. Interrupting children’s work affect their concentration.
- Work that challenges the child is good but care must be taken to observe the child for difficulty and help them through rather than leaving them to get frustrated and dislike work. For example, a child who has begun reading will be faced with unfamiliar words that they may need ideas to pronounce to continue enjoying reading. Parents or caregivers can explain the meaning of the word to them and help with the pronunciation.
- Use a variety of audio, visual and kinaesthetic means like, computers, television, environment, travel etc to connect ideas. A child who links what they do with their reality derive more satisfaction. Pointing out shapes, colours, names, numbers and other attributes in windows, doors, furniture etc are great ways to connect learning to the environment. Learning should not only be done formally, parents and care givers should seize the opportunity to explain what exists in the child’s environment.
- Model the behaviour you want children to emulate: let them see you enjoy learning, talk to them gently and with respect so that they feel the need to obey and not rebel, commend and appreciate the work they do, desist from correcting, but redirect them to what they should do. Show how something is done and be patient to let them try. Remember that children’s achievement is a motivation for their work and your job is to guide them to the achievement that would inspire the next.