Is your home set up to provide the best learning environment possible for your children?
When a home is equipped for learning, children are more likely to thrive because they feel supported in reaching their full potential. A home filled with love, encouragement, and opportunities for learning makes it easier for children to succeed in the world.
Research has proven that when a child has a positive early learning environment, their brain is easier to develop. This expands to other areas of learning later in life. With everything going digital these days, children require a nurturing environment full of materials, space, love, dedication, patience, and support to enhance their sense of security.
You can incorporate all these things (and more) in your home learning environment while encouraging their love of digital learning.
What Does a Positive Home Learning Environment Look Like?
A positive home learning environment is more than providing basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and clothing. Children need love, support, structure, guidance, consistency, and security to succeed in learning.
A positive learning environment consists of the physical environment your child lives in and their interactions with people, things, and the world in general.
Children need the proper tools to stay ahead of the game—tablets, laptops, and a good WIFI connection for digital learning. Most schools that move to remote or hybrid learning supply the basics needed for success. So what can you do at home to make things easier for your child?
Keep reading to learn 8 tips on how you can create a positive learning environment in your home.
Tip #1: Provide Emotional Support, Love, and Attention
Children require a sense of self and belonging to thrive in the outside world. These are just two primary emotional needs that must be met for learning to occur.
Emotional needs are met by parents and families who provide support, love, and attention. Without feeling loved and heard, no child can thrive. Having a sense of security from fully engaged parents and a supportive, loving family can help children develop the self-motivation they need for learning.
Avoid involving your children in arguments and disputes and shield them from yelling wherever possible. Negativity in the home creates an insecure environment and inhibits learning as the child becomes distracted and preoccupied with adult affairs.
Tip #2: Encourage Reading
When children are regularly exposed to books and reading at home, they have an easier time developing intellectual skills such as:
- Problem-solving skills
- Conversational skills
- Listening skills
- Life skills
- Conceptual understanding
- Emotional maturity
- General knowledge
There are several ways you can encourage reading at home:
- Give your child access to children’s books
- Young children should be exposed to picture, non-fiction, fiction, and reference books. Cooking and crafting books are great for reading and doing a hands-on activity
- Children learn by example and will have a greater chance at having a love of reading if their parents do
- When children see parents reading for leisure, they’re less likely to view it as a chore
- Log in to your child’s parent portal and read through some of their projects, report cards, and resources together
- Trips to the library are always fun when a child enjoys reading. Not only suitable for reading, but life skills like teaching them how to be responsible about borrowing and returning, and how to care for something that doesn’t belong to them. Many libraries have a self-checkout option now. Give your child control of the entire visit—they can pick out books they like, then check them out themselves
- Make it part of your nightly routine to read bedtime stories together
Tip #3: Create Special Learning Spots
Try to create different functional areas for your child rather than keeping toys, books, supplies, and homework piled up together somewhere. Having their own separate space encourages children to make use of it and exposes them to different learning experiences. Edsembli had this in mind when we created our all-in-one ecosystem. We gave students a unique digital space where they have direct access to their individualized education plan, allowing them to work on things at a time and place convenient for them.
Think about using an area in a bedroom, living room, basement, playroom, or even outside. It’s essential to keep some activities outside your child’s bedroom as this is their place for tranquility and sleep. Creating unique places may take some creativity on your part:
- A folding card table can be used for hands-on activities and homework. Small storage containers should be kept nearby to make things easily accessible
- An easel is a great way to designate a place for art and creativity. If you don’t have space indoors, set it up outside or in a garage
- The bedroom is the ideal place for reading and quiet time. Set up a cozy corner complete with books, blankets, cushions or a bean bag chair. If you have a special reading light, use that too. The bedroom can also be used for quiet activities like cards, art, or puzzles
- Avoid using the bedroom for homework and remote learning. This is best done at the kitchen table or in a room designated as an office. Your child may associate their serene bedroom with any stresses they may feel from learning, and this can affect their quality of sleep
- For younger children, encourage sand and water play outdoors. Fill a small bucket or container with sand or water, add cups, shovels, strainers, and anything that can help promote functional play
- For more spacious hands-on play like Lego, blocks, construction toys, or dollhouses, try to designate a more extensive area by laying down a carpet or mat to make it your child’s special place. This can double as the area for fantasy play
Having unique places allows your child to choose their space according to the mood they’re in. If they feel like being messy, they know they can express that outside. They can head to the bedroom to read or play quiet games when they want some quiet time. Time for homework? Clear a spot at the table or head to their office. And when they want to use their imagination in more significant ways, they know they can use their designated mat or carpet without feeling overwhelmed with having everything else around them at once.
Tip #4: Keep to a Routine
Following a good routine is crucial to producing a favorable learning environment. When children know what to expect, they experience less anxiety about what’s to come next. This allows them to feel safe in their surroundings and receptive to learning.
Routines offer structure and a sense of control, so a child’s behavior tends to be better with a routine in place. They’re more likely to accept what has to be done when it’s done regularly without feeling like they need to challenge or worry about it.
Some of the everyday routines proven to be successful are:
- 30 minutes of fun screen time after supper and then on to homework. This is the best time for you and your child to sign in to their digital platform and review their day and any potential homework or outstanding assignments. Doing digital homework earlier in the evening will allow them time away from digital devices before going to sleep. Children who follow this routine are more likely to do as asked as opposed to a child with no homework routine
- Incorporate cleanup time after playtime as part of their routine. Children with this structure will put away their toys without argument, versus children with no routine
- Keep to a regularly scheduled wake up and bedtime, even on the weekends
- Have them clear and rinse their dishes after supper
Tip #5: Encourage Independence
The last thing you want is for your child to be utterly dependent on you for everything, so it’s essential to encourage your child to be independent wherever possible. Create a trusting, engaging environment where your child is not only encouraged but knows what’s expected of them by assigning age-appropriate activities.
It’s easy to fall under the spell of wanting to do everything for them, but if you want what’s best, keep in mind not to do anything for them that they’re capable of doing themselves. This is the best way to promote self-reliance as they grow older.
There are several ways to set your home up for independence:
- Keep all toys, books, and games within reach
- Keep a step stool near the sinks
- Make clothing easily accessible for getting dressed independently
- Provide easy access to basic food prep utensils
- Teach them to come to you with their remote studies and have them guide you through what they’ve been working on. This should be part of your daily routine
Tip #6: Include Them in Meaningful Experiences
If you allow your child to watch tv or play video games as a distraction while you go about doing your activities—watering plants, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, folding laundry, washing dishes, yard work, or even wrapping birthday presents, for example, your child is missing out on some meaningful life experiences.
These meaningful experiences are the easiest way for your child to learn about the essential things in life. You’re not expected to include them every time, but the more you involve them in these tasks, the more life experiences they’ll have. And the best part is, they all have hidden learning opportunities for your child:
- Fine and gross motor skills (mixing or folding)
- Sorting and matching skills (folding socks)
- Visual perception (sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns)
- Number concept (counting or measuring)
- Sensory stimulation (textures or fabrics)
- Vocabulary and communication skills (carrying conversation while performing tasks)
- Digital literacy (helping you look for recipes or shop online)
- Learning the importance of responsibilities
- Forming meaningful experiences by doing things together
Tip #7: Make Sleep a Priority
One of the most critical factors in learning is getting enough sleep. Children up to 12 years old require 12 hours of sleep nightly, and teens need between 8 and 10 hours. Adequate sleep not only prevents them from becoming over-tired (which makes it hard to function and retain information), but it helps to process newly learned information and gets them ready to learn again the next day.
Getting a good night’s sleep starts with a structured nightly routine. Try to keep the same bedtime every night and ensure your child has a calming environment to promote the best rest. You can prepare your child for bed by leaving bath and storytime as the last activities of the evening. Doing this regularly will cue their brain that it’s almost time for sleep.
Don’t allow your child to watch tv or be exposed to a tablet or phone screen right before bed (this includes doing any digital homework), as the lighting from these types of electronics can reduce the quality of your child’s sleep.
Tip #8: Be Present and Engaged
During a time when everyone is on their phones, whether for work, email, social media, communicating, or playing games, there’s a time and place for knowing when to stop. Any time you spend looking at your phone while home with your child is time you take away from them. Unless you’re using your digital devices to collaborate with your child about their school activities or homework, set your electronics aside and be as present as possible for them.
When parents are tuned out, children can feel unheard, neglected, alone, and disinterested in learning. Children need you to pay attention during their formative years. When they spend time working on a piece of art, praise them and display it. If they finally got their first shoe tied, did a somersault, or aced a math test—and you missed it or didn’t even notice because you were distracted—it can be very disheartening and even discouraging for a child.
Everything else can wait when your children ask you to build with them or play a game, read a book, or help with homework. Be present and in the moment and create meaningful experiences with your child wherever and whenever you can. This is important for not only their well-being but for the long-term success of their learning.
Take Learning On-the-Go With Edsembli
Need an easier way to be more hands-on with your child’s education? Edsembli brings all the administrative and classroom work to you, making it easier to create a positive learning environment at home.
Not all families have the space, time, or resources to create an optimal learning environment. With Edsembli’s all-in-one digital platform, you can have every piece of your child’s education at your fingertips. No matter where you are, you’ll have access to communicate and collaborate with teachers, check grades, monitor progress and absences, and stay fully engaged with your child’s education.