Many parents struggle with feeling that their children do not listen to them, or “must learn the hard way”. It seems no matter how many times you try to teach them something, they don’t get it. Sometimes, it can be even more frustrating that kids don’t put what they learn into practice. Something to consider when dealing with children, is that every child has a different perception of the world as a result of past experiences. Thus, each child will interpret information and learning differently.
A helpful technique is to assess which style of learning allows your child to learn the best. There are three major types of styles: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. Each style has its own characteristics, but it is not uncommon to have a child with some components of two or all three styles.
Here is a brief explanation of each style:
receives information best through visual stimulation (i.e., pictures, diagrams, reading)
receives information best via “sound bytes” (i.e., lectures, songs, books on tape)
receives information best through touch and hands-on activities (i.e., craft projects, cuisenaire rods, science labs)
One of the easy ways to assess what style your child has is to try teaching a simple task in each of the three styles and see what style produces the “Ah-ha” moment (ex. how to dial a phone number, tie a shoe, brush their teeth, etc.) . When you teach in accordance with the style of learning with which your child best relates, you will notice the information click.
Another way to get a sense for your child’s preference is to listen to their language when they are describing something to you. If they say “That looks like…” or “See what I mean?”, they are probably visual. “That sounds like…” or “Are you listening?”. they are most likely auditory. If they say “You do it like this…” or “Do you want to try?”, they might be kinesthetic.
A simple way for you to know what type you are is to visit: Learning Styles. Not only will this help you learn about how to maximize your learning, but also recognize how you may be trying to teach your child from your style, not his or hers.
I would caution that you only use this as a tool, and not as a static label. Your child will continue to grow and change, as will his or her learning style. It is important to check back often to make sure it is still the same.
Teaching kids and having them understand is very important. Learning style is an integral part of that learning process for children, so the more you know, the better you can teach and instruct.