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One of the best gifts you can give your children is helping them love to learn. Constant exploring and learning is a tool that will benefit them throughout life, and help them develop their own opinions, thoughts, and sense of self.
With a few simple practices and routines, you can instill a love for learning in your child from an early age. Once the spark of curiosity is ignited, it can never be dulled. We all want our children to do well at school, but to see them have fun with learning, and see them embarking on their own quests for knowledge and adventure is such so much more important.
Helping them achieve the feeling of satisfaction from learning is a great way to get them to enjoy it. It should never seem obligatory, it should be a hobby or passion, constantly encouraging them to learn more.
How to Help Them Love to Learn
Here are some helpful ways you can encourage a love for learning in your child.
Praise their efforts
Try and avoid praising your child’s talents, and instead praise them on their efforts. Making them feel good about hard work and effort, no matter what the outcome, will help them understand that failure is okay. Encourage them to learn and to try, instead of giving up at the first sign of failure.
By focussing on one talent, such as an aptitude for maths, you might be taking time away from them exploring other attributes or fields. Have them explore all fields – artistic, numerical and athletic.
Don’t dictate answers
We need to teach our children to be free-thinkers, to think for themselves. By formulating their own opinions, they will be motivated to learn more about the world around them.
Instead of telling them the answer to their questions, we should be helping them discover the answers on their own. Remember not to cut them off, and that there is no such thing as a stupid question. They have come to you, trusting that you will help them find the answer. Respect and cherish that, and guide them to discover the answer on their own.
Failures are a chance to learn
Failure needs to be seen as a norm. This is the only way for your children to understand that it is okay to fail and that they need to pick themselves up and try again. Failure isn’t fun and it isn’t pleasant, but it can be a great learning lesson.
By teaching children that failure is an asset to learning, you are building them to be resilient. Being resilient will help them carry on from a failure, and find a way to succeed.
When your child experiences failure, don’t protect them from this. Instead, sit down and help them understand that they need to evaluate what went wrong, and try again.
Keep learning yourself
Kids learn by example, so as a parent you should be setting the right examples for them. Let them know that you love learning as well. Take up a new hobby or take on a task that you were too afraid to do before, get them involved if you can. If they see you constantly learning, and loving it, they will be motivated to do the same.
Risk taking is really important. It is the only way we expand our boundaries, and sometimes the only way to learn new things. Staying in your comfort zone will only get you so far, but by stepping out and experiencing new things, you will be learning so much more.
Encourage your kids to do the same. Get them to try the harder maths questions or to try a sport they have never done before. If it doesn’t go so well, praise them for their effort, and encourage them to try again. Don’t dwell on the negatives.
Don’t disempower them
We naturally want to help our kids, finishing their projects or solving their problems, but this can do more harm than good. Kids need to learn how to solve problems on their own, and by us swooping in and sorting it all out for them, they will never learn how to do so.
By letting your child solve their own problems, you are also letting them know that you have faith in them to handle the situation. This does wonder for their self-esteem and self-worth and helps to build a confident young person.
Tackling their own problems and doing their own projects helps them learn that life isn’t always easy, but with learning and perseverance, almost any problem can be solved.
Don’t only praise results
Learning is a process, just like everything else in life. If your child has tackled a new project, encourage them along the way. Praise them for the small successes and for getting the small things right. By only congratulating end results, you are showing them that success is all that matters. This could make them afraid of failure, of disappointing you, and therefore not willing to try new things.
Recognize the skills they have used to achieve something, or how they persisted to get something done. These small victories are so much more important than the end product.
Emphasise satisfaction in learning
Learning should never be done just to achieve an end goal, to achieve a grade or graduate. There should be satisfaction in learning. You need to encourage your child to learn, to discover new facts and ideas, all on their own. Helping them want to expand their knowledge will always spur them on a quest of discovery, finding joy in learning new things.
Let them take a break
We all want our kids to achieve great things in life, to constantly be learning and discovering new things, but this isn’t always fair. Give them some free time to do nothing. To find something they want to do and play for a while. This free time is so important in helping them discover their own interests, and just to have a break from the busyness of it all.
Celebrate their interests
It doesn’t matter if it is an interest you don’t really agree with, celebrating your child’s interests will encourage them to explore it more and feel more comfortable pursuing what they love. Encourage them to try different hobbies or sports, but don’t push them away from their interests.
Utilize their interests to encourage them to learn, play games and have quizzes relating to what they love, this helps them enjoy learning and to see it as fun.
Ask for, and cherish their opinions
Many people might scoff at the idea of a parent asking their child for an opinion, but it can be such a powerful act. If you as parents are discussing an issue (nothing too serious), turn and ask your child for their opinion – even if it is something as small as what to have for dinner. They will feel appreciated and included, which really helps build their self-worth.
A child who is encouraged to have their own opinions will strive to give opinions more often, and in turn, learn about the opinions they want to give.
No child is too young for independent play. It is a way for them to make their own decisions, to decide what they want to do to keep busy. You can put a few toys, activities or objects in front of them, and then let them decide what to do. Giving them this freedom encourages thought and planning, all of which go a long way in wanting to learn.
Encourage a love for reading
Reading is one of the most incredible hobbies we can pass on to our children. Books hold so much knowledge, joy and adventure, we just need to encourage our children to enjoy them. Children who love to read, love to learn. Take time each night to read to your child, and then talk about the stories once you are done. Have them formulate their own opinions about the stories, and ask if there is anything they would have done differently.
Thinking for themselves encourages thinking out of the box and lets them explore their own feelings and views.
Loving to Learn
Focus on the positives, no matter how small. Trust that they are capable to handle their own problems and that they can learn from the experience.
Knowledge is golden, and a thirst for knowledge can never be quenched. Instilling a love for learning in our children sets them on a lifelong path of discovery and wonder, always with the satisfaction of learning, even if it is from mistakes and failures. Resilient children are made, not born. Help your child build up this toughness, but also teach them that there is a lesson in everything and something to learn from every situation.
You don’t have to set up intricate learning games or take extra time to encourage this love for learning, but a positive attitude and encouraging mindset is all you need to help your child love to learn.
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