Written By Freda Chamberlain, M.S., OTR/L

All children learn in different ways! Children use all their senses to interpret and learn about the world but they each do so in their own unique way. By determining how your child learns, you can incorporate tips and tricks to best support learning in daily life and academics. The three types of learning styles we will touch on today are visual learning, auditory learning, and tactile/kinesthetic learning. 

Visual learners benefit from engaging their visual system and seeing what they are learning. Visual learners will remember information best when presented in written or picture format. They may have a difficult time remembering spoken directions or seem distracted while you are trying to talk to them. If your child is a visual learner, you can incorporate visual aids such as a written list of instructions or a sequence of pictures. They may also benefit from watching you model an activity before trying it on their own.  Here are some tips to try while teaching visual learners:

Auditory learners benefit from engaging their sense of hearing. Auditory learners will remember information best through verbal instruction, songs, and spoken stories. These children may have a difficult time recalling information they saw written on paper or in picture format. You can help your child make up songs to remember information they are learning or studying. They may benefit from singing the song while or repeating directions out loud while they perform a task such as saying each step out loud as they tie their shoelaces. Here are some tips to try while teaching auditory learners:

Kinesthetic/tactile learners benefit by engaging in movement and touch. These children learn best by “doing.” Kinesthetic/tactile learners will remember information when they are able to move their body and interact physically with materials. These learners may have a difficult time sitting still and remembering information they hear or see. Engage your kinesthetic/tactile learner by using their sense of touch, for example tracing letters in sand or making letters out of play dough before writing them on paper. These learners also benefit from whole body movements. Have your child hold a different yoga pose while you explain each step of an activity or do a jumping jack after you read each page of a book. Kinesthetic/tactile learners may need to move their body or use a fidget to help engage their mind. Here are some tips to try while teaching kinesthetic/tactile learners:

To determine your child’s learning style provide ample opportunities to engage in visual, auditory, and movement activities such as music, art, story time, and obstacle courses. Observe as they engage with different inputs and how they respond. Determine the types of activities they are drawn to and enjoy the most. 

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