Parents play a critical role in providing learning opportunities at home and in linking what children learn at school with what happens elsewhere. The term ‘academic socialisation’ refers to certain kinds of parental behaviours which have a positive impact on learning and academic outcomes. When parents reinforce learning at home by incorporating learned skills into everyday routines and activities, they become a critical factor in their child’s overall learning and education. Research has found that learning becomes more meaningful when the lessons are applied to real-life situations; it has been suggested that the influence of parents on learner achievement is 60-80%, while school accounts for 20-40% per cent.
In particular, parents can have a significant impact on three areas of a child’s learning:
- Working memory: which refers to short-term memory. Children rely on both incoming information and information stored in their working memory to complete an activity. If they have a weak working memory, they will struggle to juggle both;
- Response inhibition: this refers to a child’s ability to postpone, withhold, or stop inappropriate behaviour;
- Cognitive flexibility: is a child’s ability to shift their attention as the demands of the environment or the task change.
In developing working memory, parents can assist their children to remember homework assignment due dates by devising a plan to complete these assignments. It is also beneficial for parents to encourage their child to discuss previous lessons or assignments, and ways in which to apply them in different contexts. Response inhibition on the other hand can be strengthened when parents help their children avoid distraction when doing assignments, and by encouraging them not to abandon tasks if they are struggling. Lastly, cognitive flexibility can be improved when parents help their children recognise when their homework or lesson plan needs to change due to external circumstances, or a child’s mood or emotional state.
Parents also have an important role to play in monitoring and guiding their child’s schooling, this will also provide opportunities for parents to assist their child in setting goals and creating plans of action to meet these goals which in turn develop a child’s organisational skills.
These steps cannot be mastered overnight, but through practice, parents not only enhance the quality of their child’s learning experiences, but also develop a stronger bond with their children.
Mind Power for Kids
Every parent dreams of having a happy, resilient child who can navigate through life and remain positive and focused. We cannot make life easier for our children but we can give them the tools to thrive. Think Digital offers a Mind Power for Kids course which equips children (ages 6 – 12) with the knowledge of how their mind works and how they can use this knowledge to live the life they have dreamed of.
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