How to help your kids chose the learning styles that will work for them

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Have you ever asked for directions? Which do you find easiest to follow – a map detailing the route, a verbal explanation or simply writing down the directions given? The option you choose will depend on your learning style. You might be a visual, auditory or kinesthetic (touch and movement) learner.

Understanding and utilising a child’s personal primary learning style has been shown, by extensive research, to improve academic and social performance.

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Your little one has an innate need to learn. His brain is wired to seek excitement, stimulation and learning experiences. But how he processes these experiences depends, to some extent, on his preferred learning style. He may be quick to notice visual cues, like facial expressions, colours, postures and visual patterns, which would make him a visual learner. He may love to listen to stories, music and conversation, so he’s an auditory learner. And he may be drawn to touch and explore things with his hands or through movement of his body, which would make him a tactile or kinesthetic learner.

How you can identify your child’s learning style

While still a baby and toddler, the best method is to observe your child’s preferences. Most children use a combination of learning styles, but one will be prominent.

The auditory learner

  • Loves to babble and be talked to.
  • Starts speaking early.
  • Uses a wide vocabulary and is talkative.
  • Loves to listen to songs and sing.
  • Loves using imagination and participating in dramatic play.
  • Prefers quality rather than quantity interactions with friends.
  • Will select one friend at a time to enjoy.
  • Will listen to and share stories with his friend.
  • Enjoys the storyline over pictures in books.

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Help your auditory learner thrive:

  • Play musical instruments together.
  • Sing and listen to songs and audiobooks.
  • Engage in one-on-one conversation – listen and tell.

The following will help him to learn best:

  • Grab his attention by telling him to touch his listening ears.
  • Add imaginative elements or names for additional fun and focus.
  • Explain things to him through words.
  • Allow him to repeat instructions or information out loud.
  • Some enjoy a little background music and others a quiet space to learn.

The kinesthetic learner

  • Loves to touch and be touched.
  • Enjoys cuddles.
  • Loves social settings to get active with others and play in groups.
  • Is particular about clothes and will complain if they affect his skin.
  • Likes active interests such as playing drums, dancing and participating in sports.

Help your kinesthetic learner thrive:

  • Make an opaque sensory bag with drawstring.
  • Fill it with differently textured items. Let him dip into it and delight in exploring with his hands.
  • Play rough-and-tumble and hugging games.
  • Visit the park for rides on the see-saw and merry-go-round.
  • Dance with him.

The following will help him to learn best:

  • Hold his hand and look him in the eye when you speak.
  • Let him work things out by using his hands.
  • Allow him to walk about or use body actions while reciting information.
  • Use role-play to learn.

The visual learner

  • Cares for his possessions.
  • Gives lots of thought to choosing clothes for the day
  • Likes to order his toys in a neat arrangement.
  • Becomes distressed when toys are placed in a different order or out of place.
  • Enjoys his own company.
  • How others look, move, or what they wear will attract or upset him.
  • Enjoys books and visual arts.
  • Tends to pay attention to details.

Help your visual learner thrive:

  • Play mirror games by pulling faces and putting on face paint.
  • Take walks to look for patterns and colours in the garden or room.
  • Sit face to face and look at each other’s features.
  • Page through books with vivid illustrations and describe and discuss them.

The following will help him to learn best:

  • Demonstrate things while he watches you.
  • Spend time looking at pictures.
  • Use images more than speech.
  • Video clips, theatre productions and role play are good learning methods.

Keeping a balance

Grow your child’s learning skills by promoting his learning style, but remember that multisensory learning is important to every child. Be careful not to neglect the other senses when learning, because learning styles may change with time. Monitor your child and help him adjust and manage himself as he grows.

 

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