Watching your toddler learn seems more like a lesson in chaos than traditional learning — the rambunctious rascal seems to always be on the go, all the while taking in information. Learning isn’t one-size-fits-all, so you might have noticed your toddler doesn’t learn the same way his older sister did. It can be exhausting to come up with new ideas to fit your toddler’s learning style. Most children fall within one of three categories of learning styles, and finding out how your toddler learns also affects what he learns.
Many parents would love a toddler who listens respectfully, follows directions and would rather sit quietly and listen to a book than climb over the furniture. These children are auditory learners, and yes, they do exist. These children aren’t without their annoyances, as these are the ones who are most likely to ask, “Why?” after everything you say, and they love to have conversations with you. Putting ideas into words and using verbal repetition helps auditory learners.
No, “lookers” does not refer to attractive-looking kids (but you know your kid’s the cutest). Toddlers who prefer looking at the pictures in a book rather than listening to you read it or who want to build block towers are visual learners. Some parents even report their toddlers have a photographic memory, which is obviously convenient if you’re a parent who frequently loses her keys. Visual learners prefer pictures, videos, charts, models or other visual aids.
Many toddlers are movers to some degree, as you have likely noticed. If your toddler can’t sit still even during one short book, and you constantly find him using the furniture as a fort, you probably have a kinesthetic learner on your hands. These toddlers might need to lick or touch everything, and he might need to move around even while doing an art project. Kinesthetic learners also might get bogged down if you use too many words to explain something, and they’d much rather you show them how to do it.
Your Toddler’s Learning Style
Giving the listener child information through memorable songs or having frequent conversation is the best way for auditory learners to remember information. Try chore charts or picture stories of routines to help visual learners. Giving lots of opportunities for hands-on experiments or letting your toddler act out a story is ideal for movers. For a well-rounded learner, you should include some activities outside of your toddler’s preferred learning style; this way, your toddler won’t get stuck in one style and will gain skills to learn in a combination of ways. Sometimes you might have to go through a bit of trial and error to see what works; if you find your toddler is getting frustrated (and you are, too) by a lesson, change it up to see how you can best reach your toddler.