As a parent, you want your child to grow up to be a well-rounded, happy person. A big part of that is helping them to develop a love of learning. After all, learning is the key to success in life! As a parent, you have the unique opportunity to instill a love of learning in your children. After all, children are like sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear from the people around them.
There are many things you can do to encourage a love of learning in your child and show them that learning is a lifelong process that isn’t just limited to school. Here are a few ways you can do that.
Encourage a love of learning by being a good role model.
If you want your child to develop a love of learning, it’s important that you model that behavior yourself. Here’s why: Parents are the #1 influence in their children’s lives. More specifically, the parent of the same gender as the child has the MOST influence on that child’s development.
Parents often don’t believe this, but in a recent Parents Empowered survey, surprising results were concluded. As predicted, parents placed themselves last in the line-up of influences on their children – after friends, teachers and media. But when the youth answered the same question, they placed their parents first – before family, friends, teachers, and activities/clubs. This is GOOD NEWS!
I have a child of my own and his dad and I are intentional in letting him see us learning – not on occasion. Often. We’re constantly reinforcing how much fun learning can be, even when it’s hard. And it’s working! My son’s a bright kid who (so far) loves learning new things.
If you want your child to love learning, it’s important that they see you loving learning too! Make sure to set aside time each week for personal development. Read regularly and be sure to let your child see you doing it. When you come across something interesting, share it with your child and talk about why you found it interesting. This sends the message that learning is something that is enjoyable and rewarding and it’s something that adults do too.
When you share what you’re learning with your child, you’re opening the door for meaningful conversations about the world around them. Whether it’s reading, taking an online course, learning an instrument, or even just listening to educational podcasts, if your child sees you making time for ongoing learning, they’ll be more likely to want to do the same.
Find teachers who model a love of learning.
In addition to seeing their parents modeling a love of learning, children also need to see their teachers doing the same. We know that teachers play a big role in shaping kids’ attitudes towards learning. When teachers are constantly sharing what they’re learning and how they’re growing, it helps create an environment where students feel inspired to do the same.
Story time! I was chatting with a new student the other day about some things I’m learning right now. I noticed she was looking at me with a surprised expression and when I asked her what was up she responded “I didn’t know that teachers kept learning after college!” This child was under the impression that her teachers were DONE learning the day they graduated college. After I recovered from the honest shock of that admission, I thought to myself.. How sad and completely unfortunate.
I’m always learning, and I love it. In fact, I think that’s one of the most important things we can do as role models – educators, parents, grandparents, aunties, whatever – to keep learning and growing. Every day, I’m exploring new subjects, reading about new ideas, and challenging myself to grow my knowledge. It’s a never-ending journey, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I know that for my students, it’s reassuring for them to see that their teacher is always learning too. It helps students and encourages them to know that we are all really a never-ending work in progress. It helps them feel like we’re all on a learning journey, and that we’re in this together. Talk to your child’s teachers about their views on life-long learning and ask how they incorporate those views into their lessons. Celebrate the teachers who are passionate about learning and who openly share their own journey of continued learning.
Be careful with your words.
While it’s important to model a love of learning for your child, it’s also important to be careful about what you say about learning in front of them. Many parents inadvertently discourage a love of learning in their children by the way they talk about it. For example, comments like “I’m so glad I’m not in school anymore” or “I can’t wait until you’re done with this class,” or “I’m so glad I don’t have to learn this stuff” send the message that learning is something to endure rather than enjoy.
Let’s get real honest for a minute. It’s super tough to gain a positive mindset about or a love of learning if the environment around you is dragging you in to a negative space. Negative thoughts and attitudes are more likely to take hold when the environment around you makes them feel welcome.
Instead, focus on talking about how much fun it is to learn new things and how there’s always more to learn no matter how old you are. Try phrases like “I’m excited to learn more about this topic with you” or “I can’t wait to see what you’ll know by the end of this course.”
There are so many exciting things to learn and experience in life. No matter how old you get, there will always be new knowledge waiting to excite us so embrace your own love of learning, put on a positive mindset and choose your words carefully.
Encourage your children to ask questions and seek out answers on their own.
One of the best ways to encourage your child and grow a true love of learning is by encouraging them to ask questions and seek out answers on their own. This means allowing them time to explore their interests, whether that’s through reading books or magazines, playing with toys or puzzles, or anything else they enjoy doing. It also means answering their questions as fully as you can.
Help them to see the relevance in what they’re learning.
To do this, you can find stories of inspiring people involved in the topic they’re learning. It’s important to help children understand how they can use knowledge in their everyday lives. Show them how math is used when cooking or baking, for example. Or explain how science comes into play when riding a bike or playing sports. Helping them make those connections will not only make the material more relatable for them, but it will also help them see how valuable it actually is, building in to a love of learning.
Spark their curiosity
One way to develop your child’s interest in and love of learning is by sparking their curiosity about the subjects they’ll be studying. You can do this by finding age-appropriate books, toys, and games that relate to what they’ll be learning. Find additional resources or experiences that offer deeper learning.
For example, if your child is starting to learn about numbers and counting, you can buy them a counting toy or playset. If they’re going to be learning about plants and animals, you can take them on hikes and point out different types of plants and animals along the way. There are endless possibilities when it comes to this – the key is to get them excited about what they’re going to be learning so they’re motivated to actually learn it.
Help them develop a growth mindset.
One of the best things you can do for your child is to help them develop a growth mindset. This means teaching them that intelligence is not fixed but rather something that can be developed over time with effort and practice. When children have a growth mindset, they’re more likely to view setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow rather than as failures. They understand that mistakes are a necessary part of the learning process and are more likely to persevere when they encounter difficulty. Helping your child develop a growth mindset will set them up for success both in school and in life and set you well on your way to a solid love of learning.
Fostering a love of learning from an early age is one of the best things you can do as a parent. It will set them up for success not just in school but in life as well. If you want your child to grow up loving learning, it’s important that you take an active role in encouraging them. Show them that learning is a lifelong process that can be enjoyable and rewarding. By being a good role model yourself, finding teachers who model a love of learning, and being careful with the words you use about learning, you can set your child up for success both now and in the future.
Remember to focus on getting your children interested in the subjects they’ll be learning, showing them how what they’re learning can be applied in real life, and encouraging them to ask questions and seek out answers on their own. Once you’re fostering a growth mindset, your child will develop a lifelong love of learning that will serve them well throughout their education and beyond. You’re well on your way to raising a happy, well-rounded child who loves to learn!
Read the previous blog
Growing Your LOVE of Music | Cultivating Interests | Expanding Understanding | Honing Skills
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