Ah, summer. The skies are blue, the parks are bustling, and the familiar scent of barbecue permeates the air once again. With primary schools across the country remaining shut for several more weeks, now is the perfect time to learn how you can support your child’s learning to ensure that they hit the ground running in September.
There are many benefits to supporting your child’s learning outside of the classroom: from contributing significantly to improving their personal, social and emotional development, to maintaining motivation, raising attainment, and improving discipline.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a handy list of ways that you can support your child’s learning at home throughout the summer holiday and beyond.
Spend time outdoors and exercise
Brains need oxygen flowing through them, and with summer still in full swing, now is the perfect time to head outdoors and break a sweat. Even if you don’t fancy any aerobic activities, just being outdoors gives your child a chance to reconnect with nature – perhaps they could plant some herbs or some flowers and watch them as they flourish. You could even teach your child about how to help plants thrive in your garden.
Share experiences with them
Anything from baking cakes to simply helping each other with chores around the house. Not only will these experiences help you to bond with your child, but they can also be an avenue for communicating with them, learning new things about them, and generally showing an interest in their life, which can play an important role in developing their self-esteem.
Make time for your child’s passion every day
Talk about the skills they want to have and discuss the ways in which they can develop them with each passing day. For instance, perhaps your child is fascinated by a specific topic that they learned about at school. By following a topic of their choice, your child will buy into this way of learning because they can have a say in what they want to learn. You could start by reading books about the topic – whether they’re fictional or non-fictional – and progress to writing poetry or drawing pictures relating to the topic of choice. You could also bolster this with fun activities like visiting your local library or a museum.
Regularly talk to your child about the work they are doing in school
Be sure to praise and/or display the work they bring home and encourage them to strive for their best – that way you’ll demonstrate the importance of schoolwork and learning. Additionally, you can support your child’s learning in a practical way by involving yourself with their homework.
Get to know your child’s teacher
This may seem a more obvious tip but it’s important to know how the classroom functions, how your child is settling in, and what they’re learning. This way, you’ll be better prepared to answer any questions they have about school and their homework.
Create and stick to a daily routine
Children respond well to structure and routine, so it’s often helpful to have a plan or timetable to follow. For example, when they come home from school, they could have a snack and talk about what they got up to during their day, before completing their homework and then having some down time.
Create a cosy den, stock up on books and get your child to keep a record of all the reading they’ve done so that they can impress their teacher when they return. If they’re not yet able to read, get them to point out particular colours, shapes or letters instead. You could even read aloud for them as this is an easy and effective way to encourage your child to read, while also helping to instil a love of books in your child and inspire their imagination.
Play games and get creative
Getting lost in a sea of Lego or piecing together an elaborate jigsaw – activities like these work wonders for developing your child’s creativity and problem-solving skills. You could even take things up a notch and research an artist and have a go at recreating their style.
Whether it’s on a tablet, a laptop, or a computer at your local library, there are many ways to access an array of free educational resources such as BBC Bitesize, Twinkl, and Top Marks, to name a few. Technology can also be a great way for your child to keep in touch with their friends via video chat, especially during these uncertain times. Just be sure to keep an eye on their screen time, especially in the hours preceding bedtime – after all, a good night’s sleep is essential.
Set up a learning space at home
Having a dedicated area in which to work will teach your child that this is where they focus when they’re at home. If they don’t have their own personal desk, then a kitchen table works just fine but be sure to keep the area free from any potential distractions.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly: always try to speak positively about school and learning. As parents you are role models, and your child learns their behaviour from you. If children see their parents reading, communicating well with each other, and expressing positivity and gratitude, then they will understand these behaviours to be the norm. At the end of the day, your attitude towards learning and education has a massive impact on how your child feels about them, so this simple tip can make a truly remarkable difference to your child’s development.
We hope these little nuggets of knowledge help you to support your child’s learning at home – and be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the Eastpoint website for more handy blogs in the future!