Kids may roll their eyes when their mother asks them about their school day, but answering her may actually help them learn. New research from Vanderbilt University reveals that children learn the solution to a problem best when they explain it to their mom. "We knew that children learn well with their moms or with a peer, but we did not know if that was because they were getting feedback and help," Bethany Rittle-Johnson, the study's lead author and assistant professor of psychology at Vanderbilt's Peabody College of education and human development, said. "In this study, we just had the children's mothers listen, without providing any assistance. We've found that by simply listening, a mother helps her child learn."
Rittle-Johnson believes the new finding can help parents better assist their children with their schoolwork, even when they are not sure of the answer themselves. Although the researchers used children and their mothers in the study, they believe the same results will hold true whether the person is the child's father, grandparent, or other familiar person. "The basic idea is that it is really effective to try to get kids to explain things themselves instead of just telling them the answer," she said. "Explaining their reasoning, to a parent or perhaps to other people they know, will help them understand the problem and apply what they have learned to other situations."
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