Do you have to love learning to be able to learn?

What do you do if your little one hates learning?

How do you help them to love learning?

The answer surely is yes and no!

For example, I can’t particularly remember loving learning to tie my shoe laces but I can remember hating French at school and I can barely remember any of it. More so, I have an aversion to speaking foreign languages because I feel inadequate. This is despite getting an A at ‘O’‘Level and a B at ‘AS’ Level.

I’m sure you have all had a similar experience. And so do our children.

You may wonder why your child doesn’t want to read their school book every night even though they’ve always loved reading with you.

You may dread having to say “Come on! Let’s do your reading!”

There may be several reasons for this:

Do you have to love learning to be able to learn?

What do you do if your little one hates learning?

How do you help them to love learning?

The answer surely is yes and no!

For example, I can’t particularly remember loving learning to tie my shoe laces but I can remember hating French at school and I can barely remember any of it. More so, I have an aversion to speaking foreign languages because I feel inadequate. This is despite getting an A at ‘O’‘Level and a B at ‘AS’ Level.

I’m sure you have all had a similar experience. And so do our children.

You may wonder why your child doesn’t want to read their school book every night even though they’ve always loved reading with you.

You may dread having to say “Come on! Let’s do your reading!”

There may be several reasons for this:

 They are tired. Be aware of when you are asking them to read. Being at school is a big change for them. Ideal times for reading will be different for each child so try some different ones.

 They don’t like the books. Reading schemes vary in schools; some are interesting but some are really boring! If your child doesn’t like the school books try varying them with books you know they like.

 They are anxious about what is expected. It’s a funny thing but children sometimes expect school reading to be something different to real reading. I asked a child in my class once why they read in a particular voice. It wasn’t his real voice. He told me that that’s how you’re meant to read at school! Try to help them realise that it’s the same thing as the reading they’ve always done with you.

 They like you reading to them. When our children are little we read picture books to them and with them. It may be that they simply want more of that and don’t want to read to you. Before they read go on a picture walk through the story with them. That way you’re sharing the experience.

 They’re not ready to read by themselves. Children start school very young these days. In other countries they don’t start until they’re 7! So at 4 they may not be ready to take on all the skills of phonics, word recognition, sentence building etc. So just read the book to them or with them and don’t worry.

 You don’t feel confident helping them. This is a problem I hear over and over again. Parents complain to me that they are not a teacher and so don’t know how to teach their child to read, they don’t know what to expect and don’t know how to help. Please be reassured you are not expected to be a second teacher to your child. Try to keep calm and enjoy sharing the books with them. If you have any concerns speak to the teacher or join the Caterpillars Community where I can help you.

This is just one example but learning anything is fraught with pitfalls and we all need to feel confident and happy to take a risk. Loving what you learn is perfect because it’s great motivation but sometimes we do have to learn things we don’t natually love.

Children will almost inevitably come across things they don’t love at school. Encourage them to just experience things. They don’t have to be good at everything. Praise them for joining in and trying hard. That’s so much more important than getting everything right.

Try to get this right when they start school so that they don’t hate homework and don’t dread particular lessons at school. Try to encourage them to take the pressure off themselves and to see school as a place of fun where they get to see their friends. If they get lots of homework try to fit it in regulalrly as part of your routine rather than it being a chore for both of you. If it’s too much or too hard just write a polite note to the teacher.

I’d love all children to love learning because I think that ability is a gift. As adults we’re very lucky that we can choose what we learn most of the time. But children don’t have that freedom. The Government decides what they’re going to learn in school.

As parents, what we can do is make that learning more fun and less pressured.

If you’d like some more support please do join me at Caterpillars Community.

Vicki x