Learning Skills For Children
We all want the best for our children, and good learning skills will help them through school and into adulthood. The first five years of a child’s life are especially important, as toddlers and preschoolers discover the world around them, and quickly get to grips with language and learning. Lay the foundations of learning now and you’ll give your child the best chance of success in the future.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD SUCCEED
Our genes play a big part in our intelligence, with all babies born with varying different levels of potential ‘brain power’. However, ‘nurture’ can play a part too.
Let’s take a look at the things that can influence your child’s brain development, and the steps you can take to give them the best head start on their lifelong learning journey:
“Lay the foundations of learning now and you’ll give your child the best chance of success in the future.”
Good nutrition is key to brain development. Here are some examples of brilliant brain-boosting foods:
- Salmon (for omega-3s)
- Eggs (for protein and choline)
- Peanut butter (for vitamin E)
- Whole grains (for slow-release glucose)
- Oatmeal (for fiber)
- Berries (for antioxidants)
- Beans (for protein, carbs and fiber)
- Colorful veg (for antioxidants)
- Milk & yogurt (for protein and B-vitamins)
- Lean beef (for iron and zinc)
Always be aware of the risk of allergies and be especially careful when introducing your child to new foods. Growing-up milks like Aptamil Junior 3 are an easy way to help ensure your child gets the best balance of nutrients for good brain health.
Help your child to concentrate and process and retain information by making sure that they get the recommended amount of sleep for their age.
|Age||Nighttime sleep||Daytime sleep||Average total sleep|
|2 years||10 to 12 hours||1 to 3 hours (1 nap)||11 to 14 hours|
|3 years||10 to 12 hours||1 to 3 hours (1 nap)||10 to 13 hours|
|4 years||10 to 13 hours||0 to 2.5 hours (1 or no nap)||10 to 13 hours|
You’ll find some tips to help your toddler sleep here.
Being active has been shown to help with memory and concentration, so encourage your child to move more, play and be energetic! There are lots of easy ways to add activity to their day, including:
- Riding bikes or scooters
- Active play (like chasing games)
- Swimming and sports clubs
- Ball games
- Trips to the park
- Skipping and skating
- Soft play and trampolining
HEALTH & WELLBEING
A healthy, loved and cared for child is going to be in the best possible position to learn. Help to strengthen your child’s immunity with prebiotics (found in Aptamil Junior 3 Growing-up milk), and set aside some quality time to spend with them every day.
Children learn best when they’re active, engaged, well-stimulated, so giving them plenty of opportunities to experience the world around them will get them off to a great learning start. From trips to the farm to messy play at home, there are endless different ways to capture your child’s interest and get those brain cells sparking!
CHILD DEVELOPMENT STAGES
There are various different stages of child development, so it’s important to keep your expectations of your child’s learning skills in line with their age.
Always be patient with your child through the stages of child growth and development – some children just take longer to grasp certain skills or concepts. However, if your child is very behind in one area, or is behind in several areas, their doctor will be able to check for any underlying issues that could be making learning more difficult.
At age 1-2 your child should be:
- Developing their language skills. By 18 months they’re likely to be able to say several single words
- Able to follow two-step instructions
- Able to build a tower of four or more blocks
- Learning to identify shapes and colors
- Starting to scribble
- Making connections between items and actions – for example, to throw a ball or drink from a cup
You can help them learn by:
- Reading together
- Asking and answering questions about a book or the world around you
- Encouraging pretend play
- Sorting toys by color or shape
- Practicing naming familiar objects
At age 2-3 your child should be:
- Increasing their vocabulary and starting to form sentences
- Developing their imagination
- Able to draw a circle
- Able to complete simple puzzles
- Able to follow multi-step instructions
- Continuing to discover ’cause and effect’
You can help them learn by:
- Playing learning games together, such as counting or sorting games
- Encouraging pretend play
- Letting them play with children their own age to develop problem solving skills
At age 3-4 your child should be:
- Forming five or six-word sentences
- Speaking clearly
- Using ‘s’ to indicate present tense (he runs, she plays etc.)
- Forming friendships and playing with other children
- Starting to understand the concept of time
- Able to show their own age on their fingers
You can help them learn by:
- Giving them opportunities to play with other children
- Using time markers such as ‘soon’, ‘now’ and ‘later’
- Playing sorting and memory games
- Categorizing things by color, shape or number
- Providing simple puzzles and shape-sorting games
“There are various different stages of child development, so it’s important to keep your expectations of your child’s learning skills in line with their age.”
5 BRAIN EXERCISES FOR YOUR CHILD
There are lots of things to consider when you’re considering how to increase brainpower. As mentioned above, the following all play a part in your child’s development:
- Emotional well-being
- Experiences and brain stimulation
When it comes to brain stimulation, play is the best and most enjoyable way for children to learn. There are lots of ‘brain training’ games that will help with your child’s brain development and learning skills, while still being fun.
Reading to your child is one of the most important brain exercises. Make a game of the story by asking your child questions or asking them to point to something on the page – flowers or a car, for example.
The describing game
Help your child to extend their vocabulary by asking them to further describe an object. The car is small and blue, or the flowers are pink and pretty, for example.
From age 3, you can help your child to make connections between letters/words and objects. Flashcards with words on one side and pictures on the other are a great tool for brain games. As your child develops you can also use the cards to play memory games, where they recall the picture by looking at the word (and visa versa).
The sorting game
Sorting objects into various categories is one of the simplest and easiest brain games for kids. As your child grows you can make the categories more complicated. For example, finding the blue toys becomes finding the small, blue, round toys.
What’s in the box?
Asking your child to recall items that you’ve placed in a box will help to develop their memory and language skills. As your child grows you can make this game more difficult by not showing them the object first. Instead, describe the object and let them guess what it could be.
The key is to make learning a fun thing that you and your child do together. To help your child to learn through play, provide plenty of books, puzzles, sorting games and toys for them to enjoy. You’ll also find lots of online learning games that you can play with your child.
“When it comes to brain stimulation, play is the best and most enjoyable way for children to learn.”
HYPERACTIVITY & ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) IN CHILDREN
There are some disorders that can make it more difficult for a child to learn. A child with ADHD may need additional help, as the symptoms can make learning a challenge.
ADHD symptoms in children fall into three categories; inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
- Short attention span
- Easily distracted
- Making careless mistakes
- Forgetting or losing things
- Unable to stick to tasks or activities
- Unable to listen or carry out instructions
- Unable to sit still
- Constantly fidgeting
- Unable to concentrate on tasks
- Excessive physical movement
- Excessive talking
- Unable to wait or take turns
- Acting without thinking
- No sense of danger
Having a hyperactive child can make learning a challenge, but it’s important to remember that many of these symptoms are considered normal behavior for a toddler or preschooler.
The most common age range for ADHD diagnosis is six to 12 years old. However, if you do have any concerns about your child’s ability to learn, or their development in general, your doctor will be able to tell you more about ADHD in children.
There are lots of things that you can do to help your child make the most of this amazing pre-school learning window. Developing good learning skills now will help to set them up for a successful future – happy learning!
Our team of experts is ready to answer your questions and support you on your journey from pregnancy to toddlerhood. For more information and relevant advice, please contact us between 9am–6pm from Saturday to Thursday: