Does your child have trouble spelling, or do they find it difficult sitting still for long periods of time? Don’t worry! It may just be that they have a different learning style. Children receive and process information differently than one another. Experts have identified three learning behaviors that nearly all children fall into: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. While many children use a combination of each, there may be a particular style that allows your child to thrive. Understanding your child’s learning style is a large part of helping them perform to their fullest potential. To better assist your child’s engagement, below is a guide to identify and encourage their primary learning style.
Visual learners are observant of the world around them and are drawn to art. Children who are visual learners may like to read books and are inclined to learn using pictures and audio-video mediums. Their love for art and crafts makes their imagination very vivid, and therefore they enjoy watching movies, televisions, and videos on computer screens. Watching visuals on a screen makes it easier for them to learn and retain any information presented. These kinds of learners also have great memories. If your child is a visual learner, they may be also be exceptionally skilled at remembering people, names, and places.
Ways to encourage visual learning:
- Surround your child with books.
- Color code ideas or notes; use graphs, charts, and other visual methods to understand concepts.
- Use flashcards for memorizing vocabulary words or math facts.
- Have your child read as much as possible to strengthen spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Auditory learners, as the name suggests, use auditory analytic tools to learn and retain information. Such learners are good listeners and have strong verbal skills. They also enjoy listening to rhymes, recorded stories, and often show an aptitude for music. Auditory learners tend to better understand instructions and directions when spoken to them rather than in a written format. They also have a sharp ear and tend to remember difficult dialogues, and can repeat words or phrases they’ve recently heard, which might be difficult for other children their age.
Ways to encourage auditory learning:
- Memorize information by making up rhymes, songs, and stories.
- Practice spelling words by saying the letters rather than writing them down.
- Try white noise or music without words in the background as your child studies. Many children with an auditory preference can focus better with a little background noise.
- Repeat or explain ideas out loud; have your child explain the concept to you verbally.
- Have your child read out loud to parents, siblings, or themselves to better retain information.
Kinesthetic learners use physical methods to grasp or acquire pieces of information. They have a strong sense of stability and tend to be naturally curious learners. They learn by touching and feeling, using their fingers to count, make gestures to understand answers, and clap to learn songs. These learners often have strong hand-eye coordination and are naturally superb at physical activities such as sports and dancing. On the other hand, these learners may not be able to sit in one place and become fidgety if they have to.
Ways to encourage kinesthetic learning:
- Look for books that encourage interaction, like pop-ups or books with textures.
- Allow time for frequent study breaks, so your child isn’t sitting and doing the same thing for long periods of time.
- Have your child try standing at a desk rather than sitting.
- Turn studying into a fun activity or game.
Discovering your child’s learning style benefits not only your child but also you as a parent. Having this knowledge will help you tailor your child’s learning process and build on their innate strengths in the future. Most importantly, though, knowing how your child learns will foster confidence and encourage a lifelong love of learning in your child.