A preschool child, around 3-5 years of age, is somewhat of a challenge!
From tantrums to a wonderful obsession with the word “no”, this is an age that is not only trying to figure out their place in the world, but they’re also striving for independence. The problem is, they’re not old enough to be going out and doing what they want to do yet, and by you trying to rein them in, they act up!
It’s a worldwide problem that has bothered parents since the dawn of time!
However, when it comes learning, preschoolers have an advantage.
They’re at that age where everything is new and exciting. They’re curious, they want to know more. They learn with their hands, by seeing and doing, and they want to find out more but do it on their own, and in their own time.
Of course, preschoolers are also very easily distracted too. If they don’t want to know about something, trying to get them to focus can be very difficult indeed. If you’re currently stuck in this same issue and you want to find out how you can actually motivate your preschool child to start learning and stay interested in the topic at hand, the good news is that there are some hints and tips you can use.
It might sound like a ridiculous question because learning is important at any age, but at this age in particular, you can set your child up for a lifetime of eagerness to know more.
We’ve already mentioned that children of this age are curious and excited about the world. By helping them to harness that curiosity and turn it into wanting to know more and absorb the knowledge, you can help them to do better throughout their education.
A child who wants to learn will probably always do better than a child who isn’t interested in learning and doesn’t see it as a fun thing, and as more of a chore. By helping your child to be motivated to learn at this preschool age, you’re giving them the right mindset towards education as a whole.
Of course, with a lively, active, and very busy preschooler on your hands, you need to find ways to motivate them to learn in the first place. So, how can you do that?
Not every child will react in the same way to every single tip we give here, but these are some of the most useful and most easy to implement methods you can try to get your preschool child motivated and excited to learn.
As your child grows, having an onus on the enjoyment of reading will stand them in great stead as they learn. Having that in their mind will help them to learn because they will understand far more.
There is evidence to suggest that children who have a love of reading and do so regularly can process different ideas and concepts more successfully and have a greater level of communication as a result.
Of course, if you want your child to enjoy reading, you need to make it fun. Read them stories and make them as animated as you can. Let your child choose their own book and help them tor read it. Come up with activities around the story that help to reinforce the idea in your child’s mind.
Your child needs to feel in control. A child who feels pushed into learning will simply rebel against it and refuse to do it. If you want to motivate your child, you have to help them to feel like education is something they’re going to enjoy, and that learning is as fun as sitting and watching TV!
Give your child choices when learning. You can do this by asking them what activities they want to do, what books they want to read, and it’s also a great idea to ask your child what subjects they want to learn about. If they’re interested, they’re more likely to be motivated. It’s that simple.
When motivating your preschooler to learn, communication is key. As we’ve already mentioned, if they see education as a chore, motivation is going to be hard to find. However, if they see it as something enjoyable, they’re more likely to want to stick to it.
As they’re learning about particular subjects, ask them lots of questions. Ask them what they think about things, what their take on the subject is, what they want to learn about, how they feel about it. After they’ve completed an activity, ask them what they thought about it, what they wouldn’t want to do again versus what they would.
Open lines of communication are vital when it comes to learning and especially when trying to motivate a child in that “difficult” age group!
It’s best to stick to subject areas that your child has an active enjoyment in. For instance, if your child is a lover of wildlife, why not learn about spiders? If they’re really into space, perhaps try and learn about planets and outer space in a bit more detail. If they’re lovers of music, you could explore that subject a bit more.
If you stick to subjects they enjoy already, they’ll want to delve deeper. There are also many subjects which connect to others. For instance, if you learn about animals, you can then move things into learning about the Earth, and then you can learn about how food is grown, etc. This expands your child’s learning experience in a huge way, even before they start school.
Not every child learns in the same way. It’s a good idea to try and identify your child’s personal learning style but at this early age, it may not be evident yet. That’s why its important to mix things up a bit and try different strategies.
Some children respond better to learning by doing, some are better at visual learning, some prefer auditory learning. Create different activities which touch upon different styles and you’ll soon identify which your child naturally focuses upon better. It also stops them from becoming bored. If you sit down with a book every day and expect them to concentrate, you’re going to find that they’re pretty unresponsive after the first day, or maybe the first half an hour if that’s not their learning style.
As we said before, children learn best when they find things fun. If you can show that you have your own enthusiasm and enjoyment of learning, they’re more likely to want to share it and learn alongside you.
That doesn’t mean going over the top, because your child will no doubt be able to spot fake enthusiasm over a subject that’s not really your forte, but appearing wide-eyed and curious about a subject will help your child to want to do the same thing. This type of enthusiasm is very contagious and will help your child to feel motivated to expand their knowledge.
Children have a competitive streak and they want to win! You can tap into that by using games and competitions to get your child focused on tasks and subjects. Give them a reason to want to do the task, but don’t focus on rewards solely. If you do that, they’re just going to do what they need to do in order to get the prize. Instead, focus on someone being the winner.
Games are a great way to help your child learn because they don’t realise they’re actually learning. Then, when they look back and find that learning can actually be fun, they’ll be more inclined to do more of it in the future.
Of course you want your child to be the top of the class when they start school but that type of pressure can be very damaging for your child’s self-esteem and their love (or dislike) of learning.
Rather than trying to get everything right and being the best out there, focus on the actual learning process instead. Ask questions and see if the knowledge is sinking in. That’s far more important than performance levels. However, when your child does do well and shows understandings, praise them and give them a cuddle. Positive actions such as this will motivate your child to want to learn more.
Learning is not a love or hate thing. There is no negative side to learning. By allowing your child to see this from a young age, you’ll open their eyes to the endless enjoyment they can experience when they start school, before school, and into their later years after leaving school.
Motivating a preschooler isn’t that easy, but these tips should help you out.