How can I help my child with their learning?
The COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting children’s learning – here’s what parents and caregivers can do to help
Despite the welcome reopening of schools, children in Jordan, and around the world, are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic, which is negatively affecting their learning and their wellbeing.
It’s not easy for parents or caregivers to help navigate their child through these challenging times and to respond to the fact that, even though they are back in the classroom, worryingly many children are not learning as they should be.
But if this is happening in your household, you are not alone. Many children have experienced some form of learning loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For those boys and girls who missed the foundational learning skills of reading, writing and mathematics during school closures, they may be struggling to keep up in their current grade.
However, there are steps that every parent and caregiver can take today to support their child’s lifelong learning. Here are some top tips to help support you to do this from Jane Courtney, Education Manager at UNICEF Jordan.
“There’s no right or wrong way to talk to your child. Show genuine interest. Be curious. Take a few minutes even on a busy day to just sit, chat and listen to your child. It all helps.”
1. Talk to your child... a lot!
Especially in the early years, talking to your child is critical. This is because talking to your child helps build their vocabulary and, the more words they have when they start school, the quicker they will progress. Involve your children in conversations, describe what you’re doing while you’re doing it, speak in full sentences and repeat their words back to them, while adding more – it all helps! Encourage them to reason and to think by asking them open-ended questions and showing interest. In no time, you’ll see your child’s vocabulary expand along with their imagination.
2. Foster a lifelong love of reading
The love of reading is a gift that you can give your child from birth, but the good news is that you can encourage this at any age. Bring books into your home and spend quality time with your child by reading them a story. You can also encourage your child’s confidence in reading in everyday life – from road signs to items in the supermarket. Your encouragement will guide their success.
Reading stories is a wonderful way to build vocabulary, comprehension and imagination. Remember that you are a role model for your child – why not set the whole family a challenge to read more and make it fun?
Talk about the book your child is reading. Can they tell you the plot? Describe a character or a scene? Provide an alternative ending or discuss a book cover.
“The best companion in life is a book”
3. Write. Write. Write.
Getting your child to write is crucial for their learning. Young children love to hold a crayon and begin to form letters. Children from the age of 5-7 years can be encouraged to make labels for words in the house or help you write a shopping list. Encourage letter writing and emails. Articulating ideas and being able to describe an idea to another person is a great way for your child to practice using their words in meaningful sentences. This not only enhances their learning, but also boosts their communication skills.
4. Cultivate positive words
While it’s normal to feel anxious about your child’s academic performance, your child will learn more effectively with your support and praise, not your criticism. Share positive words with your child and praise them for what they can do rather than judging them for what they can’t do. Creating a positive environment where they can grow in confidence and be free to learn from their mistakes will set them up for a lifetime of fulfilment and success.
“It is crucial that we do not compare our child and their performance with another classmate, family member or neighbour. We need to praise them for what they can do and motivate them to keep trying when there’s a gap in their knowledge.” - Jane Courtney