We’ve all had those moments when a child has come to us and said he/she didn’t want to go to school or didn’t want to do his/her homework. Usually the first or second time this happens, we brush it off and make him/her go to school or do his/her homework. However, what do you do when this same child becomes more adamant and defiant about not wanting to go to school or not wanting to do homework? There are a few things you can do to combat this issue (provided something bad is not going on at school…that’s another topic).
First of all, make learning fun. Kids are still kids (at whatever age) and want to have fun. If you can creatively make learning/homework fun, they will enjoy doing it. For example, learning multiplication facts can be done through a scavenger hunt or a treasure hunt where they have to find clues/answers to the problem. They can even do this with friends to make it more fun. Throw in some prizes for extra incentives. If your child is learning the alphabet, show them the letters and associate each letter with a food or candy. If they can get the letter right, they get to keep the food or candy. (Consider using healthy snacks/foods.) If they are learning fractions, cut a pizza into different sections and play a fractions game. After the game, have a pizza party.
Secondly, show your child that you are still learning too. We should all be life-long learners which means we are constantly learning new things or improving our skills through taking classes, reading books, going to workshops, networking with others, etc. Let your child see you reading books, going to museums, learning new information and meeting new people. This will encourage them to want to do the same. Children want to follow in their parents’ footsteps.
Thirdly, engage in learning together. If your child is having difficulty learning their colors, take a few minutes and spend time working with them. Grab some M&M’s, skittles or fruit and show them the colors associated with the object. Yes, this may take time away from your already busy schedule but it will be worth it. Make the investment in your child. It is not only your child’s teacher’s responsibility to teach your child, but yours also. Every child needs a support network at home to reinforce what he/she is learning at school. Engage in family trips going to museums, other cities/states, and learn new things.
Finally, turn every day moments into teaching moments so learning is constantly taking place without your child even being aware of it. Around the dinner table, discuss current events and how they affect us. Cook Saturday brunch together trying new recipes which develops reading and math skills while following directions. Go to the store together and have your child keep track of the grocery budget by writing the prices as you shop and have them add them up. He/She can also count out the money to the cashier when checking the items out. As you can see, any every day moment can turn into a teaching/learning moment. The more of these you create, the more your child will learn and have fun while doing it!
~Coletta Jones Patterson