Monday, November 30, 2009

Quick Tips to Support Learning in the Home

Here are some simple things to do at home to promote a positive learning environment in your own home.

1. Remember how important nutrition and sleep are to children to both their physical development and their cognitive/brain development. Limit sugars. Do not allow caffeine after dinner time (2 pm really). Set a consistent bed time. On average, toddlers and preschoolers need 11-13 hours of sleep. Five to twelve year olds need 10-11, and teenagers need 9-10. In general, children who get the proper amount of sleep and proper nutrition will be more attentive, have better memory skills, and are more available for learning.
2. Set aside a quiet, consistent spot for children to do their work.
3. READ to children---often. A good rule of thumb is 15-20 minutes each day. Do this as part of a bed time routine to help structure this time and slow the child down before bed.
4. Model reading yourself. Keep books, magazines, and newspapers in the house. Children should see you reading in a number of different settings.
5. Talk to children about the world around them, the environment, their school day, etc. Encourage questions and exploration.
6. Foster problem solving skills in children at a young age. Don’t do things for children all the time---let them figure out how to put on their shirt, or answer their own questions by responding “What do you think”.
7. Limit TV and video games. Encourage interactive board games and outside play.
8. Expose children to a variety of life experiences. Go to parks, go for nature walks, visit museums, libraries, grocery stores, etc.
9. Be consistent with expectations and discipline, and follow through.
10. When praising a job well done, be “I like how you cleaned your room up right away when I asked you to” or “I like how you did your math homework carefully and corrected your work”

Remember, consistency and structure are key!!!!

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