Your child’s learning style: Part 1

How does your child learn best? As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Learn more about how to help your child discover their strengths and have successful learning experiences.

It is important that you discover how your child learns.
It is important that you discover how your child learns.

There is an African Proverb that states “it takes a village to raise a child.” A child will have many teachers throughout their lives but as parents, you are your child’s first teacher.  It is important that you discover how your child learns. As parents, you are much more equipped than your child’s teacher to discover this valuable information.

According to University of Illinois Extension, learning styles is defined as the way that information is processed. Learning styles focuses on strengths, not weaknesses, so there is no right or wrong learning style.  Most young children show a preference for one of the following basic learning styles:

  • Visual ( learning through seeing)
  • Auditory (learning through hearing)
  • Kinesthetic/ Manipulative (learning through doing and moving). 

All young children learn through meaningful hands on experiences such as touching, doing, and moving. Young children also learn through seeing and hearing.   The best way to learn about your child’s dominate learning style is to observe what activities he or she likes to engage in daily. Your child’s actions, interests, and preferences will provide information about how he or she is processing and learning information.  For example, if your child touches people to get their attention or likes to act things out, they may be a kinesthetic learner.  If your child finds writing difficult and likes telling stories, they may be an auditory learner.  If your child would rather read than be read to, they may be a visual learner. 

All young children have strengths, interests, and preferences. As you observe your child, you can begin to identify these. Experts advise that it is important for parents to both foster their child’s strengths and to help them improve in other areas. Michigan State University Extension recommends offering a variety of experiences and activities for your child, such as reading, dancing, Karate, listening to different types of music, making crafts, building projects, playing word games, playing with blocks, solving mysteries, completing puzzles, and opportunities to talk about things they feel are important.  Exposing your child to many different activities will help your child develop new strengths and interests that will broaden his or her understanding of the world.

It is important to remember that every child is very different, so there is no single learning style that all children should utilize.  A person’s learning styles and abilities are as distinctive as their personalities. The goal for you as parents is to try to maximize your child’s learning strengths, improve upon their weaker learning skills, and help them develop a wide variety of learning tools they can use throughout their lives.

For additional information and resources on learning styles, read Part 2 in this series or visit University of Illinois Extension.

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