Interested learners – top tips for parents of 10 – 12 year olds

By the age of 10-12 years our children know what they are interested in. If we can tap into this we can help them learn in all sorts of ways. Ordinary everyday tasks also help them to learn. You can find lots of learning activities on http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/activities/10-12

Ages and stages

At this age children use language in many different ways – to explain, describe, question and share. They ask questions and discuss ideas and information to communicate and develop their thinking and learning.

Ages 10 to 12

At this age children use language in many different ways – to explain, describe, question and share. They ask questions and discuss ideas and information to communicate and develop their thinking and learning.

By the ages of 10 or 12 children are able to listen for longer and they notice the way people say things. They discover deeper meanings from this both in conversation and in reading. They know that meaning includes information and feelings. They can talk in detail about things that happened in the past or are planned for the future.
They know that some words have two meanings and use them correctly. They know basic grammar rules and can explain them to you or to younger brothers and sisters.
They are starting to think and make judgements about where information comes from. They can consider how writers put across their thoughts and ideas. They can start to see how the media works and how it communicates certain ideas through both words and pictures. At this age some children start to see how some kinds of reading and writing have more power in the world than others.

Children of 10 and 12 are beginning to understand and use large numbers. They can see the patterns and relationships between numbers. They are learning and using their times-tables. They are learning to multiply and divide whole numbers, fractions and decimals.

Most children now understand when it is suitable to estimate and when it is important to calculate an exact answer. They are often good at estimating. They are familiar with notes and coins and can use both to give change.
At this age many children have good IT skills and use computers for both leisure and learning. They are developing a clearer understanding of the strengths, limitations and risks of the internet. They know that the information they find on the internet may, or may not, be reliable.

Your child might enjoy discussing books, newspapers, magazines or TV programmes. They might like to tell you why they like certain books or programmes. They can explain what they think will happen next and what makes them think this. They can discuss different characters and relationships. Some children now read a lot, others may still find it a bit of a struggle. Your support and encouragement help, whatever stage they are at. You might want to ask your child’s school to give extra help with their reading if they are finding it hard.

Creativity is still important but varies a lot by this age. Some children start to do their own plays or concerts. Many like to draw and paint. Some make complicated structures with lego or create items with wood. Others are creative in their cooking or gardening. These activities are important for learning and should be encouraged.

Top Tips

  1. Chat to your child – ask them to show you something interesting they have learnt at school, from their friends or on the internet.  Talking and listening helps build their communication skills particularly when they feel that you listen to them.
  2. Involve your child in maths you do every day – shopping, discussing time and dates, budgets, DIY and cooking.
  3. Be encouraging about what your child is reading and try not to be too judgemental. If they are not reading much, go to your local library for ideas about books. Your child is most likely to read and write about things they are interested in.
  4. Encourage your child to write – shopping lists, cards and messages for friends – and to use calendars to record what they have done and for planning.
  5. Find out about what they are doing in school. Talk to your child’s teacher about how to support their learning at home.
  6. Play board and other games with your child. Games such as Scrabble, the TV programme Countdown and card games.

Find out more plus get lots of activities and resources at http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/activities/10-12

Learning in everyday life – top tips for parents of 8-9 year olds

Here are some more ideas from http://helpmykidlearn.ie/ this time for parents and guardians of 8-9 year olds. Children learn in so many ways in everyday life. There are lots of learning activities available too, http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/activities/8-9 for talking, playing, reading, writing and counting.

Top Tips

  1. Listen to your child. Encourage them to tell you about things that interest them. Help your child to make decisions by discussing their ideas.
  2. Discuss with your child how reliable information is and whether the television, newspaper or website is trying to sell you something.
  3. Involve your child in everyday literacy and maths – making a list and check prices for shopping. When you are doing DIY in your house – seeing if there is enough space for a piece of furniture to fit.
  4. Encourage your child to enjoy reading by having a variety of books around your home – storybooks, poetry, factual books and books about topics they enjoy like animals, music and football.
  5. Listen to your child reading in short regular sessions. Encourage your child to read with expression. This will help them read more fluently.
  6. Encourage your child to write in their daily lives – birthday cards, telephone messages and keeping a diary.
  7. Play word games – ‘Stop the bus’ and ‘I spy’ with a letter – board games – Cluedo and Junior Scrabble and card games – Old Maid, Rummy with your child.

 

Home is a learning place – tops tips for parents of 3-4 year olds

Here is a great short video about how 3-4 year olds learn, taken from the Help My Kid Learn website.

Building it into your day

As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Your home is a place where lots of learning is happening every day – the most important thing is that your child enjoys learning. Young children learn by playing and by copying things they see you doing and saying. You can support your children’s learning by giving them lots of opportunities to do and say things everyday: both in the house and when you are out and about.

Ages and Stages

Children learn differently and reach the important stages of learning in different ways and at different times. In each age group we talk about some of the learning stages to look out for and how you can help your baby and your children to learn. We give possible ages when children reach certain stages of learning but often these ages don’t quite fit and the stages happen at other ages – earlier or later. So it’s important not to feel there is a problem if your friend’s child is doing things differently than your child.

Top Tips

  1. Talk to your child about what is happening and give them a chance to speak. This helps them become more aware of the world around them, and to listen, think and understand words.
  2. Play with your child – it’s one of the most effective ways children learn. As a parent, you are your child’s best playmate so try to spend time every day playing together.
  3. Read or tell stories. 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. When you and your child both enjoy the experience of reading together your child will learn to love books. And if you can’t read a story, just tell one – kids love stories about grown-ups.
  4. Write notes. Let your child see you writing notes, lists or emails. Encourage them to use ‘pretend’ writing in play and as they learn to write let them make lists of things you need to do.
  5. Count steps, food or anything. It takes time to learn that 2 means two things, 5 means five and that the final number you count out refers to a total amount so count every chance you have.

You can get more information, tips, videos and resources here http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/activities/3-4

Living is learning – useful tips for parents of 0-2 year olds

Help My Kid Learn http://helpmykidlearn.ie/ is a great website full of lots of information, tips and resources to help you help your child learn. Our children are learning about the world from the moment they are born. We are already doing so much to help them understand and to develop the building blocks for language, reading, writing and understanding numbers.

Building it into your day

The first three years provide a great opportunity for learning. Babies and toddlers need stimulation to help make the most of this time and make learning possible. The best way to do this is to talk to them from the moment they are born – in your home when they’re beside you or out and about, just talk, listen and respond to your baby as much as possible. Play, sing and encourage them as much as possible – have fun together. Read aloud or tell stories – all these natural activities will help to build the foundation for your child to learn more.

Ages and Stages

Babies and children learn differently and reach the important stages of learning in different ways and at different times. In each age group we talk about some of the learning stages to look out for and how you can help your baby and your children to learn. We give possible ages when children reach certain stages of learning but often these ages don’t quite fit and the stages happen at other ages – earlier or later. So it’s important not to feel there is a problem if your friend’s child is doing things differently than your child.

Top tips

1. Talk to your baby about what you are doing, where you are going and what you see. Your baby will learn to talk by hearing other people talking. Sing or say nursery rhymes to your baby and sing as much as possible. Your baby will love the sound of your voice. Examples are “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” and ones with actions like “I’m a little teapot”. Later when your child uses a word, add another one, for example when they say “cat”, say “nice cat”.

2. Play with your baby – newborns love physical play, gently tickle their face or count their fingers and toes. Repeat sounds your baby makes. Listen and point out to your baby sounds that are around you.

3. Read – share stories and books at an early age. Spend time with your baby looking at books, 5 or 10 minutes a day can make a difference.

4. Move, reach and grasp – encourage your baby to reach for things – mirror toys or bubbles – it’s these movements that help build the muscles that lead to scribbles that will help with writing later on. When your child is concentrating by themselves and once you know they are safe, allow them to explore by themselves.

5. Count with your baby. Count their fingers and toes and going up and downstairs.

For lots of information, tips, resources and videos click the link http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/activities/0-2