As parents, we often devote a significant amount of our own time to ensure that our children learn as much as possible during their younger years. We may provide them with reading games when they are younger, assist them with their homework throughout school, and help them study for exams as they move through higher grades. And, of course, many parents have reward systems for students who perform well, from showering kids with praise, to other, more tangible benefits.
But as we focus so much attention on our children’s current studying habits, we often overlook an important consideration; specifically, that learning shouldn’t simply stop once the kids leave the house. To be sure, many children may excel in school during their youth, but may completely stop learning upon reaching adulthood.
What can we do, then, as parents, to ensure our children don’t ever lose the passion for learning throughout the rest of their life?
While it is impossible to forge the path of our little ones’ future, implementing the following strategies during your children’s youth can help them develop a lifelong love for learning.
Encourage Asking Questions
Perhaps one of the best ways to help ensure your children retain a passion for learning throughout their lives is by encouraging them to ask questions whenever they have the chance. Many parents, possibly for reasons of their own, discourage their kids from asking questions, instead preferring them to remain quiet. But while this may save you an occasional headache, it removes one of our children’s most valuable learning tools. To be sure, while we, as adults, may have access to a wealth of information at our fingertips, children are forced to ask questions to find answers they don’t yet know. As such, as often as possible, make a point to let your children know that their questions are not only permitted, but welcome as often as possible. And also inform your little ones that there are absolutely no stupid questions at all; anything is fair game. Even if you don’t know the answer immediately, encouraging your children to ask questions constantly will help them retain a curious and inquisitive nature throughout their lives.
Personalize the Learning Process
Some children truly excel in the traditional classroom environment. In fact, many little ones (or adolescents) may learn best by sitting down in a room together with their peers, listening to lectures from adults and completing exams on given topics. Or, some kids may do best in a more-hands on environment offered by science labs and other similar courses.
In reality though, there is certainly no one-size-fits-all learning process for all kids. Specifically, some children may learn best in a traditional lecture hall, some kids may retain information when reading it for themselves, and other kids may require an entirely different system altogether.
So while you cannot change the style of learning to which your child is forced to adapt in school, you can make him or her more comfortable and encourage his or her learning process at home by personalizing the experience. If your child doesn’t learn well by sitting down and simply reading material over and over again, consider trying a more hands-on method. Or, if your little one has a more abstract way of retaining information, make sure to incorporate this as much as possible in the walls of your home. While this may not be possible at school, working this way at home can help your little one feel more comfortable during the learning process.
Read as Often as Possible
Finally, undoubtedly one of the best ways to help your children develop a desire to learn is by reading to them as often as possible during their younger years; and once they grow older, by encouraging them to read in their free time instead of focusing on other, more passive forms of entertainment. For one, reading requires children to utilize their imaginations in order to visualize the information before them on the page. Additionally, reading will help expose your children to a host of truths and answers about the world, as well as countless more questions for them to ponder in the future.
And the type of reading they perform should not necessarily be the greatest concern. Of course, your children may not benefit from solely reading comic books or tabloid magazines; however, even reading popular sources of entertainment will force your child to take a different perspective on their lives and the world in front of them, which may, in turn, unearth a desire to continuously learn in the future.
Raising Little Learners in Your Home
Ultimately, learning should not stop abruptly when your children leave school. And to help prevent this from occurring, utilize these simple tips to ensure you’re raising committed little learners.