When I was a kid I struggled in school. I didn’t get bad grades, but I didn’t get good grades. I was the kid that maintained a C-average and had to work for it.
As I grew into my teenage years I could have easily been that kid in school that slipped through the cracks but I didn’t. I think that’s mostly because of my parents. They cheered me on and helped me when I got stuck.
Now I’m all grown up and the mother of two boys and life is a bit more complicated. Kids these days have so much more going on in the world around them than my generation did. As parents we not only need to be there to cheer our kids on, but also so much more.
I wish I could say all of the tips I am about to share with you are solely from me and my experiences. The truth is what I am about to share with you has been put together through the experiences of several families, and information of some professionals.
Consider some of these simple strategies to create a love of learning in your child.
- Read to Your Child – This special time can not only create an ever-lasting bond with your child but it also stimulates imagination, thought and reflection. I talk more about this topic in my articles Why Reading to Your Kid is Really Worth It and the Best Ways to Make Reading Fun. Start reading to them when they’re babies and make it a part of your daily routine. Encourage your child to read and the more he does the better he will get over time.
- Get Excited – Kids under the age of 13 seem to feed off of our energy and what we do (or don’t do). If we are excited about something, then they get excited about something. Cheer your child on as he makes new discoveries. Answer his questions – even if it’s the 100th time he has asked you how to spell a word, or what life might be like on the moon. Continue to show excitement every time they start something new. Yes it can be exhausting but it is oh so rewarding!
- Be Inspired – Kids also watch how you go after your own goals and ambitions. If you love trying new things, learning new things and meeting new people, more than likely your child will also develop that appreciation. If your children see your personal love of learning, they’ll be inspired, too.
- Give Your Child a Choice – Giving your child a choice doesn’t mean allowing him to walk all over you. I give my kids choices all the time but the choices are within my approved parameters. For example, what do you want for breakfast – eggs & toast, cereal or oatmeal? When children have a choice, they feel like what they think makes a real difference, and it does! Let them choose their own books, hobbies, and so on. Need more help? Check out this article from Psychology Today.
- Stay Involved – I think this is one of the toughest challenges if your child goes to school outside of the home. Currently both of our boys are in public elementary school and sometimes it drives me bonkers keeping up with it all. But trust me, it makes a big different. Look at their homework together. Talk with them about the subjects they are learning in school. Meet with the teacher outside of conferences. Volunteer in the classroom if you are able to do so. Your kids will like the attention of you being involved in their life.
- Re-enforce learning – Something I’ve done since our boys were really young is to have worksheets and activity books in our home. Since they have grown up doing these activities they think they are “fun” and will often do them without my prompting. Worksheets like this one are fun for growing minds. The answer sheet makes it easy for them to check their own work. f you like this idea and are looking for engaging, educational activities and worksheets, head over to Education.com.
- Field Trips – Creating your own “field trips” outside of school is a fun way to grow as a family and encourage a love of learning. A friend of mine first introduced me to this idea two years ago and it’s one that has really flourished with us. We create our own field trips for afternoons and weekends that are focused around our boys’ interests. For example, when the boys were really young they loved fish and underwater so we did a field trip day to the local pet store and looked at all of the fish, then we went swimming at the indoor kiddie pool. Now that they are older our tips look a bit different but are the same basic concept. For example our oldest son is into dinosaurs so we are planning a trip to a museum that has a dinosaur skeleton.
- Show Your Support – You may not agree with every topic your child chooses to learn about – in fact, I guarantee you won’t. My best advice is to still show your support. Without your support your child may lose his love for learning. As long as the topic is appropriate, it’s okay for your child to choose topics that maybe aren’t what you had in mind for him. He’s still learning and loving learning. For example, our eight-year-old is really into Star Wars right now. I mean, REALLY into Star Wars. He can tell you all kinds of facts and stats. Do I love that he spends a good chunk of time on this? Hmmm not really. BUT it is getting him to read, question, develop theories, get creative. So I’m willing to compromise.
Hopefully these tips are helping to you in creating a love of learning in your children. Please comment below if you have other ways to create a love of learning! Also, comment with how the tips shared above are helping in your family.
When you start learning with them while they’re young, fostering a love of learning will come naturally.