How to Teach Children (and Make Knowledge Stick)

/How to Teach Children (and Make Knowledge Stick)

Do you feel like you constantly repeat yourself and your kids just don’t listen? Do you experience a daily struggle getting your children to remember what you told them five minutes ago? Well, you aren’t alone.

It’s even worse when you teach your kids something, and they can’t seem to remember it until they learn it from someone at school. (And then they act like that was the first time they ever heard of it– what the heck!)

If you’re frustrated and wondering, “How do I teach my child at home?” you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to teach kids exactly what you want them to know, without screaming or losing your mind.

How to Teach a Child Effectively

Think back to your childhood. I mean when you learned something new, and really learned it. You probably did it, or maybe even taught it to your little brother or sister.

 Teaching strategies for all ages/ topics

There are some strategies to teach children, and adults, that are generally effective. 


Considering how to teach children effectively, repetition is vital. When a person repeats a task several times (correctly), they are more likely to be able to perform that task at a later time. This works for anything from sports drills to simple mathematics. Repetition is an important part of teaching children of all ages. Imagine a teacher teaching little kids how to sing, dance, spell, or read without repeating anything!

Active learning

Not all learning can be hands-on, for obvious reasons. Whenever possible, though, learners need to practice by doing. All the reading and videos in the world won’t help you throw a ball better unless you have a chance to throw a ball a whole bunch of times. The same is true for learning other material, especially math!

Explain what you know 

There is no better way to assess a person’s understanding than to have them explain what they know about a topic. Another way is for them to show you. This is a great strategy to find out what knowledge is missing. It’s a way to find out what a person doesn’t know yet, which can give direction to both teacher and learner.

Teach someone else 

You know you know something when you can teach it to someone else, right? This is an effective strategy to approach any learning. Instruction combines explaining what you know with active learning and repetition. Once a person is confident enough to correctly show another, we can assume they get it.

 How Au Pairs can support parents’ efforts

Au Pairs are in a great position to help parents. Au Pairs can support Host Parents’ efforts more than ever, with most of America’s children learning from home. While some parents are still figuring out how to teach children, those hosting an Au Pair are equipped with an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands. 

Au Pairs’ duties are determined by their Host Parents, within Department of State regulations. These can include supervision of chores, simple meal prep, cleaning kids’ rooms/work/play areas, kids’ laundry, and even helping kids with at-home learning. Standard Au Pairs have 45 hours per week to support parents and children!

How to Teach Young Children

Young children can benefit from general learning strategies, but many others can help too. After all, young children are wired to learn every minute they are awake!

 Teaching strategies that apply to little ones

I found the best advice comes from other moms, Au Pairs and teachers. Here are just a few words of wisdom:

Show them  

Little ones are very visual. Young children learn by observing the world around them, on a walk, in the kitchen, and to a limited degree, on screens. 

Make it a game 

Numbers, colors, shapes, and letters can all be learned in games. Young children can count while they help put items in the laundry basket or toy box. Teach children direction words (up, down, over, under, next to, between) while they play with blocks or during a game of Simon Says.

Get on their level and do it with them 

Young children love to see adults do what they’re doing! They can also benefit when an adult models a task or skill for them, so they can see how it is done and copy you.

Read a book 

Any conversation about how to teach children effectively would be amiss without books. Young children usually love books and can learn almost anything from them. Little ones learn even more when books are repeated over and over again, even if it drives us adults a little crazy!

Talk about it 

Create a language-rich environment to help young children learn. Adults should talk about everything kids see and hear, tell them about it, and listen to them talk too. Adding written words, like labels all over the house, can teach the value of language as well as reading skills.

 How Au Pairs can minimize frustration

Children don’t come with owner’s manuals and one size does not fit all. That being said, an Au Pair can help minimize frustration for kids and Host Parents. Most parents welcome the idea of another adult in their home who is willing to help in the parenting tasks.

Au Pairs can provide structure and organization in this time of uncertainty. Au Pairs can keep the children on task and working while parents may be working from home in the other room. They are in their Host Family homes as an extended family member, contributing to the happiness and success of the entire family.

How to Teach My Kids Life Skills

As a trained educator, I learned how to teach kids in school. As a mom, figuring out how to teach my kids at home is a whole different ball game! Sharing experiences is one way to teach life skills. Recently, my children have been learning more about what it takes to make our household function.

 Things that apply to the home

With kids at home just about all the time right now, parents are probably finding themselves stretched thin on patience and ideas. Kids of any age can do chores, but it is a great idea to start young and start small (and don’t call them chores). Life skills are, after all, skills for life.

A great way for kids to learn life skills at home is from a model. Keeping a predictable schedule and daily routine can help kids learn skills for life. Adults can model coping skills and even critical thinking by talking to their children about life and feelings (in age-appropriate ways).

Kids need to be shown how to communicate effectively as well as read social cues. It is easier to hear some things from a family member than it is to hear from friends in an awkward social situation. 

 How Au Pairs bring a unique worldview to help teach life skills

Au Pairs can help teach life skills to Host Kids. Although they are young adults, Au Pairs have a unique perspective they can share, and kids get it. The ability to see a situation from someone else’s point of view is an invaluable life skill Au Pairs can teach kids (and all of us). 

Au Pairs share daily life with their Host Families, teaching and learning from each other. They learn to appreciate differences, but also recognize similarities. From coping skills, to communication, to setting goals, Au Pairs are natural models of life skills.

“Our boys see her as far more than a caregiver. She is a friend who they can laugh and play with, a teacher of new languages and cultures, a giver of tickles and hugs and part of our family!” – Scott, Host Dad

Host Families and Host Kids learn from their Au Pair as much as their Au Pair learns from them. The nature and spirit of the Au Pair Program is based on education, cultural exchange, and mutually beneficial relationships.

Go Au Pair is a proud participating agency in the Au Pair Program for over 30 years. Our agency staff, Placement Coordinators, and Local Area Representatives are dedicated to your successful experiences. Register your family, match with one of our skilled, qualified candidates, and join our global family!

By |2020-04-07T13:32:24+00:00April 7th, 2020|Childcare Advice, Host Families|

About the Author:

Joan is a mother of six and is a writer and Local Area Representative in Providence, RI for Go Au Pair. She earned her BS in Elementary & Special Education from RI College and her MEd from Providence College. She helps lead other LARs in writing content and growing their clusters.
This website uses cookies and third party services to provide the best possible user experience. Click Here to learn more. Ok