There are two things every person needs to learn something new:
New Vocabulary (the better to categorize and express their ideas with)
Prior Knowledge (without relating a brand new concept to something you already understand it remains entirely meaningless)
Use Your Big Girl Words
We all know how important it is to call a spade a spade, or a vagina a vagina, or a penis a penis. Child rearing experts have told us for decades that using cutesy names for anatomy is a “no-no”. But using big words applies to more than just private parts.
Though it may feel contrary to your instinct, when you want your child to learn a new concept you should never dumb down your language so that he can understand. By using appropriate and specific new terminology your child will be able to explain and classify new concepts quickly.
It’s Kinda Like This…
The way to simplify new concepts is by using analogies. Relate something new to something your child already understands. Here is a simple way to illustrate this concept:
Let’s say I ask you to memorize this string of numbers:
You could do it but it would probably take a while.
Now, if I add just three lines, two curvy and one straight, suddenly this new string of numbers to you becomes more meaningful and, therefore, much easier to memorize:
By relating information to something you already understand it becomes possible to learn. And if you’re stumped for a relationship to draw, just ask your kid “what does this remind you of?” It will be even more meaningful if she can draw on her own prior experience.
School starts here in a week. Let the learning begin!