How Parents Can Develop A Good Learner And Thinker

All parents wish that their children shine in school or outside the classroom in their personal pursuits. Better yet, if their children acquire leadership skills, it prepares them earlier in life for many fields of interest such as entrepreneurship and management. I, Carean Oh, Writers Studio an experienced educator, writes about important parenting tips to help you develop your children early for success in life. It is better to start any intervention early and never too late.

early years of your kid’s life become the foundation for shaping their aptitudes and behaviour. This contributes to their success in later years.

~ Carean Oh, Writers Studio

The first few years of your child’s life are a period of rapid development and growth. In fact, a child’s brain develops connections faster in the first five years than any other period of their lives. As such, these early years of your kid’s life become the foundation for shaping their aptitudes and behaviour. This contributes to their success in later years. 

And these early experiences can also shape how your child approaches learning. When learning is done well, this translates into stronger cognitive processes. You can more easily teach your child to cultivate better habits when he is young. These will in turn grow into longer-lasting qualities that keep them well-grounded as adults.

As an educational consultant in Singapore, I have regularly espoused the importance of developing the right learning mindset in children from a young age, as a positive learning attitude can help them better take advantage of the educational opportunities provided to them in school. Most of my students start learning English with us when they are young and as they progress, we see a marked difference in the way they learn as compared to students who join us at a later age.

We must know that while some learning skills come naturally to children, others need to be developed through a supportive environment. And this is where the role of the parents becomes very important. Having worked with children from all walks of life in my English language school, let me share how parents can help their children develop into good learners and thinkers!

1. Develop your child’s curiosity and initiative

Children are naturally inquisitive. And this curiosity is what compels them to explore new ideas and learn new things. As such, it is vital for parents to provide their children with plenty of opportunities to explore new surroundings and try new activities. 

A favourite parenting tip that I like to share with my students’ parents is to never be afraid to experiment. Take advantage of the weekends to explore Singapore with your child. Cultivate a love for nature in your kid by taking them to visit parks, Universal Studios, the Botanic Gardens, or the Singapore Zoo! 

2. Focus on holistic sports development

During your family excursions, take note of what excites your kid and seek ways to develop that interest. Cultivating a love for a particular activity, such as cycling or roller-blading, will motivate your child for the long term. Sports is health. And having a sporting lifestyle can help your child adapt to different sports in school when they grow older. (Many parents are now keen to enrol their children into reputable schools via the Direct School Admission route. This is a good way to start.)

Be your child’s number one cheerleader, and remind them that it is the learning process that matters most.

~ Carean Oh, Writers Studio

However, it is vital to remember that every child faces challenges during their learning journey. Therefore, it is crucial for you to remain patient. Be your child’s number one cheerleader, and remind them that it is the learning process that matters most. Acknowledging your kid’s progress, however small, can influence them to persist and accomplish their goals. 

3. Find ways to develop your child’s critical thinking skills

In the age of digital media, our children are constantly exposed to advertisements that encourage them to buy and consume. Understanding how to analyse and think critically about the information presented to them during these situations is a crucial ability to have.

And an excellent way to encourage critical thinking is by finding new and various ways to make sense of information. By analysing, comparing, and making inferences, you are helping your child develop higher-order thinking skills. I often meet parents who ask me if I could help hothouse their child to pass the Gifted Education Programme Screening test. To be honest, being gifted is bestowed since birth. For parents who still prefer to take this route and transfer your child to schools with GEP programmes, it is important to recognise that critical thinking skills have to be developed very early in our children’s lives. (In my later articles, I will share tips on how this can be achieved, right down to the very diet that your child is taking.)

One pro-parenting tip to keep in mind is to ask your child open-ended questions that encourage them to think critically as a habit. And during these discussions, you can help your child expand on why things may be the way they are. 

4. Developing your child’s attentiveness

Curiosity helps your child maintain interest and motivation in what they are doing, which is an essential attribute to kickstart the learning process. But curiosity alone is insufficient. Your kid also requires attentiveness to help keep their learning on track. 

However, developing your child’s attentiveness may sometimes mean going against your natural instinct. As parents, it is natural for us to assist our children whenever we notice they are struggling with a task. But there are times when we should avoid doing so. 

Instead, it is advisable to observe what your child is doing on these occasions. If you notice they are on the right track, you should avoid interrupting them by offering your assistance. Instead, let them figure out how to accomplish the task independently.

It is very common for parents to come into my language school highlighting that their children have shown signs of attention deficit disorders. It does take a village to raise a child. Linking up with an expert or specialist in the field early in their growing years whether or not ADD is confirmed will help you manage the attention span your child has.

Developing your child’s creativity

It is not only important for our children to think critically but also creatively. As you help shape your child into a critical thinker, you should not neglect to nurture their creativity as well. And the best way to develop your kid’s creativity is to engage their imagination through pretend play!

Many educational consultants have espoused the benefits of speech and drama in honing children’s communication skills. However, it is also an excellent avenue for your child to engage in pretend play and nurture their creativity. Through these imaginary situations and roles, they can learn to think and express themselves creatively and critically. 

Additionally, you may consider implementing the following parenting tip in your daily interactions with your child. Whenever your kid is presented with a situation, you can encourage them to generate and try different solutions to overcome the obstacle. By emboldening your child to think outside the box, you are helping them nurture their creative problem-solving skills. 

It is crucial to develop your child’s curiosity, critical thinking, attentiveness, and creativity, as this can help mould them into an effective learner and thinker. This will benefit them in numerous ways – relationally, academically, and professionally – and allow your kid to develop into a capable adult in the future.

As parents, we want the best for our children. Many fruits of success come from a single seed sown when they are young. It is also best to start early so that you have a longer time to plan, rectify problems and have enough time to encourage and bond with your child. 

- Carean Oh

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