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Families encourage learning in lots of fun ways, making a big difference to their children’s growth and development. There are many ways to support learning at home as well as school. Families can make a big difference by helping children to learn new things, reading and supporting their interests. Parents don’t need to be experts – supporting and encouraging learning is enough.
The following advice is also available as a download for printing (PDF 199KB).
By ‘family’ we mean all the people who share in the caring and nurturing of a child. Immediate family, like mums, dads, step-parents, foster parents or adopted parents, siblings, and extended family like grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins can all have a strong role.
Additionally, family may also be people who are not relatives – people who play a special role in the life of your child, such as a close neighbour or family friend.
Families who spend time doing things together build and encourage their child's dispositions for learning. Families learning together can involve high aspirations for children, reading together, making a good environment for homework, parent-child conversations, plenty of ways to learn at home, and support for social and emotional wellbeing.
Read together every day
Picture books with dad before bed, grandma’s favourite story on Skype, a traditional family recipe, map and street signs with mum on the way to swimming, an email from grandpa, a text from a friend, a story on an iPad with a sibling.
Write together every day
A shopping list with mum, a letter to a teacher, an invitation to a friend, a secret message to dad, an envelope to a grandparent, a birthday card to a cousin, a scrap book of a family holiday, a story with a neighbour, record facts with an uncle, draw and colour in with brothers and sisters.
Talk together every day
Talk, talk, talk, and then talk some more. Point things out, ask open questions, ring uncle and talk about the footy, talk about big ideas, passions, interests, favourite food, movies and books with aunty, current affairs with step-dad, family history with grandparents.
Talk with the whole family at dinner time, travelling to and from school with dad, on Skype with mum on a business trip, while playing together. Make up stories – kids love making up ‘silly’ stories and nonsense rhymes, include dress ups, make a puppet show.
Learn together every day
Play a family game of cards, do a crossword or number puzzle with grandpa, build with Lego with sisters, cook and bake with aunty, set the table, sort the recycling, count, conduct internet research with a big brother, knit with grandma, care for a pet, construct a block tower, match shapes and pictures, make a pattern with beads.
Play together every day
Pretend, imagine, play games, construct, build a cubby with dad, dress up with cousins, hide and seek with friends, soccer with the neighbours, experiment with different sensory experiences like sand, water, rocks, and sticks, for sustained periods.
Laugh together every day
Tell a joke, make up rhymes and riddles, family concerts, watch a funny movie.
Move together every day
Go for a family walk or bike ride, dance, jump on the trampoline, swim, play backyard cricket, plant a vegie patch with dad, swing and climb at the park, play ball games, run, skip.
Go where there’s room for children to run, explore and climb safely. Let children try out different sports, and give them an opportunity to play team games – taking turns and learning rules, any opportunity for children to participate with encouragement in contributing to a team will strengthen self-regulation and collaboration.
Take grandma to the museum or art gallery, story time at the library with mum, national park adventure with the family, a holiday at the beach, a bus ride to the city to go to the museum and buy an ice-cream, listen to a concert, shop together at the fruit markets, swim at the local pool, camp in the backyard with cousins, fish and chips at the lake.
Engagement and Wellbeing
Phone: 8226 0870
Email: DECD.ParentEngagement [at] sa.gov.au