The ability to learn independently is one of the most vital learning abilities that parents can help their child acquire as children who learn more independently, typically exhibit higher self-assurance and a greater sense of control. Young children can be encouraged to learn independently but it can be challenging for parents who are not qualified enough to determine whether they are providing too much assistance or not enough.
Here are a few easy actions that you can take to assist your child in becoming an independent learner:
1. Distance yourself – Give your child some assistance with the first one or two questions in an activity before letting them do the rest on their own. If your child is used to having you there while they finish their schoolwork, gradually distance yourself from them over time. Offer assistance at the beginning of their homework and then moving to sit close but not with them can reassure them that you were there and can also motivate them to complete the task. As kids gain independence, you can gradually put more space so that you can focus on your personal task.
2. Positive reinforcement – When discussing learning, use uplifting words and set a good example for your child. If you show your child how important self-improvement is to you, they will imitate your actions and work harder at independent learning.
Make sure to assist your child in developing a satisfying emotional bond with the learning process. Inquire about their feelings after learning something new and their feelings following the completion of an assignment or project. You can also choose to reward them when they complete a task on their own.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Pankaj Kumar Singh, MD at Cambridge Montessori Preschool and Daycare, suggested, “Rewarding your child for independent work is the simplest and most effective approach to encourage them to do it. If they receive a reward for it, your child will be much more motivated to invest their time in adapting to independent learning. Your child will be motivated with a small treat or a fun activity.”
Recommending to initiate curiosity in your child, Pankaj Kumar Singh said, “It is crucial to encourage intelligent questions. Giving your child the freedom to pose questions and the opportunity to look for their solutions is essential to fostering independent learning. Children are naturally interested, and it is our responsibility to assist them in asking insightful questions that will improve their understanding of the world but be careful how you assist your youngster in finding the answers to their inquiries because of this. Instead of just giving them answers, try to help them think through a problem so that they may find a solution on their own.”
Neelima Kamrah, Principal of KIIT World School Gurugram, highlighted, “A child’s capacity for independent learning is built on their adoption of a growth perspective as opposed to a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is the assumption that skills and abilities cannot be altered and that success can only be attained via natural intelligence. A growth mindset is the idea that skills may be acquired over time via effort, planning, and feedback from others. If you assist your child in acquiring the capacity to learn for themselves, think critically, and come up with solutions, their learning will be memorable, the accomplishment feels powerful, and the sense of pride is inspiring. Group learning, cooperative learning, and research leading projects can be the best ways for your child’s growth. Children develop invaluable self-assurance and motivation as they start to take ownership of their education and achieve success.”
Echoing the same, Usha Patel, Director Academics of Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD), revealed, “Design education by its nature is practice based learning and demands to observe and absorb ideas from the surrounding. These observational skills and hands-on experience develops an individual’s cognitive skills. The entire objective of design learning is to inculcate a practice of understanding the environment and then creating something new and useful. Such skills when introduced at a young age allow for exponential growth and development of a child.”
She added, “Design thinking and practising equips children with better tools to develop interpersonal relationships, inquisitive mind, faster knowledge assimilations. There are several impactful techniques to develop and increase self learning skills in children such as building blocks, exploring sculptures, clay moulding to name a few. Classrooms and textbooks should not form the boundaries for learning. Learning extends beyond classrooms, where the child has the freedom to explore different everyday materials and work hands-on, allowing for independent learning skills to develop.”