Each child has a way of learning which resonates with them. What type is your child? Understanding how your child processes information (and even how you do, too) will help you tailor instruction to a form that is most readily integrated.
Now, I realize not every lesson can be tailored to a specific learning style, but as a parent, you can come to know your child well enough to target those methods that will product the best results.
Here are questions to consider.
Is your child a visual learner?
- Does he need to see a whole broken into pieces to understand fractions?
- Does drawing the parameters of a math word problem help her find an answer?
- Does he draw or doodle as a way to relax?
- Does she need to see someone else swing a baseball bat in order to learn the correct stance and swing?
- Does he appreciate pictures of people and places he is learning about?
- Does she take a lot of notes when studying?
- Does he like you to write things down?
Is your child an auditory learner? Here are questions to consider:
- Can he find what he’s looking for just by following your verbal instructions?
- Does she sing or talk to herself when playing or studying?
- Does he watch a person who is talking and remember what was said?
- Are her friends those children who like to talk a lot and are verbally responsive?
- Does he repeat your instructions over and over to himself in order to remember them?
- After meeting new people, does she remember what they were wearing or aspects of their appearance?
- Would he rather listen to a CD than read a book?
Is your child a kinesthetic learner?
- Do written or verbal instructions make him fidget?
- Would she rather just start working on a project and learn as she goes?
- Is it hard for him to sit still for long stretches of time?
- When given a chance, would she rather go outside and play than stay inside and read?
- Is his room messy, although he knows where everything is located?
- Does she tend to remember how people were feeling after speaking to them, as opposed to what they said or how they were dressed?
- Does he use his hands to gesture when talking or explaining?
Tactile or kinesthetic kids are the kind who need to just jump in and learn. As such, it’s best to be available to them when teaching a new skill or explaining a task. They are often very quick to catch on, but only after they’ve experienced it firsthand.
Again, most people exhibit traits in all categories, so as you’re watching your child, simply look for dominance in one area. Then tailor your interactions to ways that easily connect with your child. You’ll also be alert to those skills and activities that may come naturally to your child and those that may present challenges.
For example, when choosing books for your children to read, visual learners will enjoy bright, bold pictures with lots of people, place, and thing descriptions. Auditory learners will connect best with books that detail conversations and dialogues, such as plays. Kinesthetic learners latch on to emotions and feelings, along with heightened drama.
Accept your child for the unique individual he or she is. Accept yourself for the way you were made. These different styles are not in competition with each other, and one is not “better” than another. God created each of us differently for a reason.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 38 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.