Becoming an independent learner is one of the most important things that parents can teach their children. It was believed earlier that the more involved the parents are in their child’s learning, the better off the child will be. But this notion has changed. It is now being suggested that being over-involved in the learning phases of children causes them more harm than good. A study conducted on this particular topic revealed that helping secondary students with their homework actually brought their test scores down and also caused anxiety in them if their parents had regular meetings with their teachers.
Once you have outlined your expectations for your children, step back. This helps them in taking initiatives and devising ways to reach their target goal. Initially, it can be hard as parents don’t really know when they are giving too much help and when they are supposed to reach out to their children. There are five easy ways in which you can initiate the process of independent learning in your children.
- Let them ask when they need- If your child is engrossed in his books and homework, do not disturb him by telling him what he needs to do. Let him approach you with a specific problem and then give your advice. This will instill a sense of confidence in him when he is able to complete the whole task by himself. So, the next time when he gets something to do, he will make full efforts to first solve the problem all by himself. This is a self-paced learning and really instills that sense of independence in kids.
- Believe that the child can do it- Convey to your children that you have full faith in their abilities. Once they know that they will get assistance only when needed, then they will stop depending on your help at the very instance they come across a task. Keep repeating sentences like “You can do this my child”, “You have that strength and patience in you”, “Let's show the world that you are a champion at this”. This will boost their morale and encourage them to fight their own battles.
- Create opportunities- The next time you are preparing dinner, ask your child to help you lay the table. Let them pick their dirty clothes and put it in the laundry. Make a point that they help you clean up the mess they created while playing. They can water the plants in the evening. Such things really give children a sense of control and independence. They start believing that they are responsible enough to be entrusted with such tasks. So, when later they are given some more complex tasks, they have full faith and belief that they can do those tasks successfully.
- Build a learning environment- Observe your child’s behavior to understand that what conditions do they feel comfortable. Do they work better when surrounded by people or are they more comfortable in their quiet rooms? It is extremely important to provide your child with the right set of working conditions. Their innocent minds tend to get bothered by even the slightest change in their working space. Talk to them and help them create their own area in the house where they are the boss!
- Give credits, compliments, and praises- The next time your kid comes to you showing his hand-made card make sure that you compliment her/him on how beautiful the card was. Make it a habit. On completing a task, reward him and it really doesn’t matter how small or big the reward is. What matters is that the child feels that his efforts are being noticed and appreciated. They are more likely to do the good work again and again in order to prove that they really deserved that reward or compliment.
A self- learning child grows up to become a confident individual and it is the parents who are the real harbinger of this independent learning process. Encouraging children from a young age to be independent learners can really nurture their personalities and help them in having faith and confidence in themselves.