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My experiences with my son: How to make learning enjoyable?

I am sure that I am one of the million moms around the world who want their kids to become amazing learners, topmost in the class and responding quickly to every question asked by the teacher. However, my personal experience has taught me that kids can’t learn with a one size fits all approach. I want to share my journey from a nagging worried mom to a learning buddy for my son.

The research concludes that a kid’s brain develops maximum by the age of 6, having a significant impact on the child’s capability to learn in school as well as life, laying the foundation of success. So, my aim was to make him learn everything diligently; without understanding my child’s interests and preferences. I was obviously wrong in my approach. The situation became tense when the pandemic brought the classroom to our home and I was a hands-on teacher in these circumstances.

I observed that my kid is not responding well in the classes. “He is not studying and listening to his teacher, he is not performing well” I said to my husband. He said, “Don’t worry, don’t over-think, he is just a small kid.” I still remember ‘teaching’ phonics to Duggu, repeating c…a…t… 20-30 times and expecting ‘cat’ promptly from him, but in vain.

“Mommy, I don’t want to do this” says Duggu, obviously disinterested in this task.

My irritated and angry response was natural for me “It’s so easy my dear. Why can’t you do this?”

I complained to myself, “He is not learning or understanding anything, there is some serious issue.”

I was transforming into a constantly nagging mother and my love and care for my son was being expressed as anger and irritation only. I used to wonder, “I am not a good mother at all.” Being an academician myself, I made it a matter of pride (I admit, It was my fault) for myself.

So, one fine day, in the quarterly PTM (we all know Parent Teacher Meet!!!), I shared my worries with my son’s class teacher. She smiled at me and a casual conversation motivated me to alter my behaviour and strategy. I must admit that it was not easy to change my thought process. I had to practice and constantly reinvent myself.

The super simple strategies shared by his teacher were:

  • Don’t make it a task for him, he will never do it.
  • Repeat…Repeat…Repeat…Just repeat the concept while eating, bathing or playing.
  • Invent your own games…make the process joyful
  • Be a LEARNING BUDDY, do activities together rather than dictating your ways

The following simple points can be considered for contemplation by all parents sailing in the same boat as me:

  • You can read age-appropriate stories to your kids’ every day at least for 15-30 minutes enthusiastically, not as a task to be completed. Reading improves the vocabulary, language structure and comprehension. After the story session, have a two minutes discussion on HI-FIVE of the story-characters, setting, start, middle and end.
  • Please involve your kid in daily household chores like washing the vegetables, picking the fruits, setting the table etc. Language and mathematical concepts could be easily introduced in the process. You will be amazed at the interest shown by the child
  • Be a learner yourself, be wrong sometimes, and let the kid be a teacher sometimes to build up their confidence.
  • Talk to your child daily for some time keeping everything aside.
  • Appreciate your kid profusely to boost their
  • Patience is the key for developing the learning habit in kids. Results will not be visible overnight but you will observe the improvements gradually.
  • Understand the cues given by your child regarding his preferences, the kind of games and activities enjoyed by him
  • The parents can give a purpose or context to every language or number concept, e.g. let’s count the carrots for cooking, setting the table for10 guests etc.
  • Don’t compare your kid to anyone else. I know it is easier said than done but every child learns at his/her own pace.
  • Talk to the teachers about your issues, communication is the key.

I have learnt all these action points after making many mistakes and rectifying myself from time to time. My son has started improving gradually. He likes to read, dictations are his favourite, and loves doing mathematics verbally. I feel elated when I see him trying to do complicated phonics, applying his own logic. He is performing well and his teacher’s words of appreciation are my greatest motivation. I feel that watching your kids become smarter individuals is one of the greatest joys of life.

Author: Maansi Vermani Sarin

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