When kids develop self-learning habits at an early age, they tend to be more self-confident and independent throughout their lives. These skills are also rewarded as they enter the real world later, with organizations rewarding employees who take initiative and remain self-motivated throughout their work life.
It’s important for parents to offer support and help when children are in school, but there is such a thing as being too involved. If you let your child have greater control of their homework and study habits, they will be better able to handle challenges on their own.
Here are 7 ways to help your child develop independence and better learning skills:
- Show Confidence in Them – Unless your child believes that they can do something on their own, they will not make an effort to try doing it. Let them know that you have faith in them, and their ability to work through challenges by themselves.
Of course, you should support them when they really need it, but encourage them to try solving problems on their own first, before they look to you for homework help or answers. Clearly display your belief that they can do something, and they will start believing it as well.
- Define a Routine at Home – Planning and implementing a homework or study schedule is very important, and this is one area where you may need to step in. Your child may be tempted to put off studying for later or drift off while hitting the books, if the decision of when and how to study is left to them alone.
It’s especially critical to develop a home routine when your child is young, defining uninterrupted time for homework or revision with breaks. Remember, smaller batches of “study time” are more effective than long ones.
- Encourage Self-Evaluation – Rating their own work can be a great way to help your child develop independent learning skills and confidence in their abilities. Use a rating system where they evaluate their work on a scale of 1 to 10, and compare their ratings to those received in school.
Let them know that this is just a method of self-learning, to help them understand where they can improve instead of feeling discouraged about not doing too well on something. Recognize and reflect their pride in a job well done, too!
- Boost Independence in Other Ways – Let your child take initiative in small tasks around the home, especially when they’re younger. For instance, allowing them to choose their outfit for the day or perform chores like putting away their toys and making their bed creates opportunities for more independence.
This encourages them to develop self-confidence decision-making skills, which is an essential step toward independent learning. At study time, help them with one activity and then let them do the next few on their own.
- Handle Questions the Right Way – While you don’t want to make your child feel like they cannot approach you for homework help, dictating the answers to their problems doesn’t allow them much room to grow or learn.
Instead, ask them how they think a certain answer may be found, guide them through the first few steps of a process, or use similar examples to point the way. Make sure that they try to reach the correct solution themselves, and only give them answers if that doesn’t work.
- Create a Learning Space – Everyone learns in different ways, so understand whether your child finds it easier to focus when they’re alone in a quiet space or surrounded by people and activity. Provide a learning environment where they feel comfortable and concentrate on their work the best way.
Set up a study zone in a well-lit area, whether in their room or near the rest of the family, and ensure it’s equipped with everything they need. Also explore online learning tools that can help your child study and take tests at their own pace.
- Reward Progress AND Effort – Most parents reward their child when he or she achieves a good grade or other academic recognition, but it’s equally important to show appreciation for the hard work they put into studying. This shifts the focus from results to the study process, encouraging them to work harder.
Spend time with younger kids after they complete their homework, perhaps just watching TV or reading a book together. Older children might prefer an hour spent playing video games, or heading out to meet friends.
If you want your little one to grow into a confident, secure and successful adult, help them develop learning skills that are in demand today. Self-motivation and drive will take them farther than handholding, so step back and let them learn on their own!
About Author: Making education simple and easy to comprehend is Dana Jandhayala’s forte. She’s had a long career as an educator where she has taught in several different schools and institutes in multiple countries. Today, she helps students with personalized online tutorials by SchoolPage that help make concepts easy to understand, making learning fast and fun. She writes to help students study better, and to coach parents so they can facilitate the success of their children.