Everyone has a different way of learning and even of retaining information. In order to help kids retain what they learn, it’s important to start with a good foundation. Once this foundation is in place, there are some learning techniques which can further enhance learning and retention.
The two most important daily habits that will help your child learn and retain information are eating a nutritious breakfast and getting quality sleep. These form the foundation which supports learning and growing. Without a sound foundation, learning, growing, and
Wake-up Call for the Brain
You probably know that starting the day with the proper fuel can help a child learn. However, you may not realize that fueling the body properly can also help kids retain that knowledge longer. By eating a balanced breakfast containing whole grains, fruit, and protein, you give the brain a morning wake-up call that signals the brain and body to get ready to learn and remember information.
Most parents will agree that finding time for breakfast can be difficult. It’s not a matter of “finding” the time but of making the time. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier and rise 15 minutes earlier to eat breakfast. This will help your child sustain the learning process throughout the day.
On those days when early rising isn’t an option, it’s a good idea to have quick and healthy “brain food” ready and on hand. A homemade breakfast “trail mix” may be a good option for you. Another option could be a frozen breakfast smoothie. Although kids often balk at eating in the cafeteria, that may be your best or only option. The key is to stress doing what it takes to wake up the brain and body with nutritious food each morning.
Down-time for the Brain
In addition to eating healthy, it’s important for kids to get stress-free time as well as sleep. Almost every parent can tell you how important sleep is, especially if the baby isn’t sleeping through the night (and neither is the parent!) The less sleep you get, the more difficult it is to function and accomplish even the most basic tasks.
Although the brain never really turns off, it does go into a kind of resting mode during sleep. This helps to repair and energize the body, as well as “absorb” and assimilate information learned while awake. It’s this last reason that get’s most parent’s attention and a consistent bedtime becomes so important in the family.
But this isn’t the end of helping kids retain what they learn. In fact, it’s only the beginning. The next step comes when you discover and show your child the ways in which he or she learns best.
The Best Learning Techniques
Everyone is different so it’s no surprise that there are many different learning styles and techniques. Once you identify what type of learner your child is, it will be easier to reinforce learning and retaining knowledge when these techniques are used. To help you find what techniques work best, we have included the basic information about each of the learning types. Try them all out with your child to discover which ones work best.
Visual learning – A visual learner basically learns by seeing. If your child is a visual learner, videos or pictures will enable them to retain knowledge. For younger children, picture books are excellent and for older children, technology may work better.
Aural or Auditory learning – An aural learner will be able to learn better using auditory tools such as music and even “white” noise. The sound of music in the background for older kids may work fine, while learning skills set to music will work well for young children. Another thing to keep in mind about this type of learner is that he or she may learn best just by hearing the material being read aloud so audio books may be the best option at times.
Kinesthetic learning – Many children need to feel their way to learning. Younger children who are physical learners may benefit from things like modeling clay or use of Lego to demonstrate math skills. Science concepts are taught using things like sand and water.
Solitary learning – Some children simply learn better when left to their own devices. For this, techniques such as memorizing out loud, reading, and reading over and over again will work best.
Finding out what type of learner your child is increases the chances of using the right techniques to help them learn and retain that knowledge. But, keep in mind that you should always incorporate other techniques as well to help balance the learning experiences.
When your child is young and you want to help him/her to retain information, you will need to guide them by letting them see you go through the above process with them. As older children get the hang of healthy eating and sleeping habits as well as “tricks” of remembering info, they will be able to use the strategies to become more independent regarding learning, studying, and retaining information.