How to Create Positive Emotional Memories for Successful Learning

Nov 10, 2018

Your child’s emotions are very important because they play a vital role in learning during their academic years at Little Harvard and later education. Positive emotions can directly relate to self-motivation in which drive the right attitudes to acquiring knowledge. When we feel down, our attention and ability to perform are impaired. Sadness, fear, anxiety and apathy can reduce our attention resulting in decreased learning and knowledge. Emotions have a substantial influence on the cognitive processes in humans, including perception, attention, memory, reasoning and problem solving.

Some aspects of emotional development could be genetic. Others are learnt in the context of the environment of the growing child. In fact, the first five years of life present an irreplaceable prospect to lay the groundwork for healthy emotional and social development. Research has shown that negative early experiences impair this in children.

While Little Harvard educators do their part, here’s what you can do as a parent:

Have meaningful conversations. Respond to your preschooler with delighted vocalizations. Slowly draw out your syllables in a high-pitched voice as you exclaim. The areas in the brain for understanding speech and producing language need your rich input.

Play games that involve the hands. For example, patty-cake, peekaboo. Preschoolers respond well to learning simple sequential games.

Be attentive. For example, when your child points, be sure to follow with your gaze and remark on items or events of interest to them. This “joint attention” confirms for your child how important his/her interests and observations are to you.

Foster an early passion for books. Choose books with large and colorful pictures, and share your child’s delight in pointing and making noises — say, the animal sounds to go along with farm pictures. Modulate the tone of your voice; simplify or elaborate on story lines; encourage your child to talk about books. 

Build trust. children who are securely attached to you emotionally will be able to invest more life energy in the pleasures of exploration, learning and discovery.

Enlist help from your toddler at clean-up times. This is a good way to practice categorization. Toddlers learn that stuffed animals have one place to go for “night-night” time; cars, trucks have their special storage place. Children need to learn about sorting into categories (placing things in order; for example, from littlest to biggest) as part of their cognitive advancement in preschool.

Sing songs. The body motions and finger play will help your child integrate sounds with large and small motor actions. Ex “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Ring-Around-the-Rosy.” Songs also enhance your child’s learning of rhythms, rhymes, and language patterns.

Match your tempo to your child’s temperament. Some children adjust easily to strange situations, some are bold and impulsive, and some are quite shy. Go with the flow as you try to increase a shy child’s courage and comfort level. Help a highly active child safely use their wonderful energy while learning impulse control. Your acceptance will give him the comfort he needs to experiment and learn freely.

Make meals and rest times positive. Say the names of foods out loud as your child eats. Express pleasure as he/she learns to feed him/ herself no matter how messy the initial attempts may be. This will wire in good associations with mealtime and eating. Battles and nagging about food can lead to negative emotional brain patterns.

Provide clear responses to your baby’s actions. A young, developing brain learns to make sense of the world if you respond to your child’s behavior in predictable, reassuring, and appropriate ways. Be consistent.

Use positive discipline. Create clear consequences without frightening or causing shame to your child. If your toddler acts inappropriately, such as by hitting another child, get down to his eye level, use a low, serious tone of voice, and clearly restate the rule. Keep rules simple, consistent, and reasonable for your child’s age. Expecting a toddler not to touch a glass vase on a coffee table is not reasonable. Expecting a toddler to keep sand in the sandbox and not throw it is reasonable.

Model empathic feelings for others. Use “teachable moments” when someone seems sad or upset to help your toddler learn about feelings, caring, sharing, and kindness. The more brain connections you create for empathic responses and gentle courtesies, the more these brain circuits will be wired in. This helps not only with language and cognitive learning, but with positive emotional skills to.

Arrange supervised play with messy materials. Ex water, sand, and even mud. This will teach your toddler about the physics and properties of mixtures and textures, liquids and solids. During bath time, the brain wires in knowledge about water, slippery soap, and terry towel textures. Sensory experiences are grist for the learning brain.

Early recognition of problems in preschool is key to preventing future emotional problems. Students who suffer from inadequate social-emotional development are less connected to school. Emotional development is important, and both the home and school environments are critical not just for good grades but also in nurturing success and happiness in life.

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