First and foremost, appreciate the impact that developing these learning behaviours can have on your child’s potential.  Parents have a powerful influence on a child’s self-concept as a learner.  

Activities that help in exercising the learning muscles:  
  • Using interesting and complex vocabulary.
  • Encouragement to read for a range of purposes.
  • Cultural activities (libraries, museums, performances or historical sites).
  • Development of hobbies.
  • Providing opportunity to question and try out new things.
  • Having conversations about things outside the home. 
  • Discussions about progress at school.  
Everyday behaviours and skills to develop:
  • Encourage your child to take responsibility for preparing for school.
  • Ask not what they did but what they learned.
  • Help them think about and plan activities.
  • Encourage flexibility and the ability to change the plan.
  • Model being a good learner (show them what it looks like).
  • Work and play alongside your child, enabling them to pick up good habits through imitation.  
  • Make expectations of turn taking and co-operation clear.
  • Encourage them to take calculated risks in their learning.
  • Instil the ethos that we learn from our mistakes and that it is good to make them.
  • Remind them that learning can be messy and there will always be ups and downs.
  • Encourage an enjoyment and satisfaction in challenging ourselves and stretching our learning.  
Providing opportunity for children to develop the 5Rs at home, give them safe and secure experiences to draw on and apply in school.  It helps build their confidence in themselves. We know children do well when they feel they can do something well but this does not always provide new learning experiences.  We also need to help them feel just as confident when they don‘t feel they can do something so well.  We want our children to face such challenges without feeling that they are a failure or not clever any more, but to see setbacks and frustration as a normal part of learning that everyone experiences at some time or other.  
Parents need to be ready for the challenges.  You need to be able to regulate emotions when faced with setbacks.  You may be faced with your own feelings of impatience, or be presented with challenging behaviour from your child.  You need to be able to stick with it – just as you would when working on issues such as bedtimes or healthy eating.  The same philosophy is required when a child says they can’t do something or wants you to do it for them.  Of course it should not become a battle ground, but think twice before stepping in.  Help your child think about using their learning muscles.