“Parents – Teaching to Learn”

Research by Family Graffiti | Published on 23rd May 2017

Regardless of age or ability, the learning process remains the same. It is a constant: receive information, retain information and recall information when you need it. Whether you are teaching new behaviour, enhancing understanding or helping with homework. It is only the teaching practice that varies and should depend upon how the learner can access and accept information. Language and practices used to relay an initial message to the learner are the most important. We must aim to understand what they do best, and use their cognition. It is always best if they are fully involved and active participants, in whatever they are seeking to learn.

The process of teaching to learn

Children will be learning every minute of the day. They will not realise that they are learning, but they will be recording actions, words and events as they occur around them. Learning is a natural process and children are instinctive learners. When considering your approach to being an influencing parent, you have to be aware that the child is always recording. There is no off switch.

Do not change the child’s view of learning. Don’t let them witness any joins or changes between playing, involvement and learning. It is all one to them, and you need to keep it this natural way. In the home or in school, learning is something that they accept, it is part of their every day, and it should be fun.

  1. Getting your Planning (thinking) right

  • What will be produced, what is your hoped for outcome? What is it that you really want to achieve? (It is not to punish the Child, it must be to develop their understanding). Thinking about the outcomes, will influence your input and will improve the process of learning.
  • Have a focus that is easily accessed by the child and easy for you to communicate. Let them see what they will be measured against (whether it is a behaviour, life skills or academia).
  • How will you present the learning session to your child, what resources or activity do you need to carry the lesson to its intended outcome?
  • How will we assess success? Assessing is any form of feedback – you to your child and your child to you. How will they know when the learning session is completed and successful?
  • Who will assess the learning session (you or) your child? If the child shows a new competence or understanding, then the child needs to display or tell you that they have achieved. “Look mummy, what I have made”. Their learning was successful to them. They have ownership of this new knowledge and they can repeat it.
  • They will instinctively recognize their new ability.


  1. Engage your child in the process of learning.

At every opportunity engage your child in activity that teaches. Find a way to make the learning enjoyable, and natural. Not forced, not lectured.

  • When you find a way that is effective, try to use this process for other learning too. Don’t deviate from what works, don’t become too complicated.
  • You know your child better than anyone else, understand how they best receive messages.
  • By engaging with your child in regular learning, they take it on board as acceptable practice, they will take ownership of their opportunities to learn ‘new stuff’ (even behaviours).
  • As they grow older, encourage them to seek their own independent learning skills. Show them where to look (even TV can help) and let them do the finding.
  • Remember that the child can read your willingness to help, by facial expression and body language too. Be a willing participant.
  • There is a big difference between “I can’t do this!” and “I don’t understand, can you help me?”


  1. Ask them:

“Wow, this is new to me. Can you help me to learn this, can we learn this together?”

“That was hard work, do you feel as if we have improved?” (Learning is a joint venture)

“Do you feel better now that you can do that on your own?”

“Do you think you can make a better choice of action on your own, from now on?”


  1. Give them a break. (Doing homework with older children).

Let them have a walk around the garden, or a drink of juice and biscuits, before they return to their tasks.


  1. Praise their effort or application to the task

They will automatically recognize their own success and will know satisfaction in its achievement.

What you need to do is applaud and praise the effort that they put in to learn a new skill. “I am very pleased to see how easily (much effort) you put into doing that, well done”. It is the process of effort and ‘wanting’ to learn that needs encouraging, to ensure the willingness of the child to continue wanting to learn. It must become a natural ‘wanting’ progression.


  1. Assessment is any form of feedback

You to your child and your child to you. You’ve planned it, now action it. Talk about what they’ve (you’ve) achieved. Learning and feedback is always a two way activity. Reflection and evaluation is a useful motivator.

The teacher provides the child with an opportunity to learn, not to be taught. What is important is not about you doing the teaching, it is about them doing the learning.

Trust me.

Sign up to read all of our articles

  • Did you find this helpful?
  • YES   NO