Just like babies, children have an innate curiosity. They are eager to explore the world around them soaking up new information and skills like a sponge.
1. Provides hands-on experiences
Try to find practical and engaging experiences for your child. Make learning an adventure
The hands-on experiences and activities will spark a child’s interest and imagination.
For example: If your child is learning about aquatic animals in school, take him to visit an aquarium. If he’s studying a certain artist, take him to a museum so he can see his work.
2. Make learning fun
Even the most bland-seeming topics can be made more fun through songs, academic games, scavenger hunts, or creative activities. Games, crossword puzzles or word searches can easily be created. Sometimes just using humor or telling an interesting story related to the lesson being taught is enough to make the experience more fun.
3. Show your own passion
Be a great role model for your child. Show that YOU are passionate about learning. If you have the time and/or resources, you can even take a course (online or in person) in something that interests you: cooking, photography, literature, etc.
Talk to your child about what you are learning: the challenges, the excitement, how you are applying what you learned in your own life, etc.
4. Find your child’s learning style
Children have their own unique learning style, or type of learning that is most effective for them. Educators and psychologists have identified three main learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
There are many quizzes available online to help you determine a child’s learning style, but you can also make a solid guess based on the child’s interests and the kind of activities they seem to enjoy.
- Visual learners process information more effectively when it is presented in writing or in pictures. They are very observant, have excellent memories, and often enjoy art.
- Auditory learners like to hear information. They are good listeners, have verbal strengths, and/or musical aptitude.
- Kinesthetic students are physical, often excelling in sports or dance. They learn best through movement and touch. They may count on their fingers or use frequent hand gestures.
Many children show ability in all three of these areas, but there is probably one that is stronger than the others. If you can find a child’s strength, you can help them learn in the way that is most comfortable and enjoyable for them.
5. Have conversations, not conferences
When your child shows curiosity by asking a question, do your best to answer it. Even when a question is slightly off topic, show interest and create a learning opportunity.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, discovering the answer together can be a fun and memorable experience.
You can also extend the conversation by asking open-ended questions yourself. Start your questions with “Why”, “How” or “What if…?”. These questions can take children to higher levels of critical thinking and problem solving.
Paying attention to the questions your child asks will also help you discover your child’s interests, which you can then incorporate into future conversations or lessons.
6. Be supportive and encouraging
One reason many children lose their love of learning is because they begin to associate learning with anxiety and pressure. They worry about getting a bad grade, getting a question wrong, or failing a test.
When learning is all about results, it’s no longer fun.
It is important to teach children that success is not the result of innate abilities like “intelligence.” Instead, success comes from persistence, practice, hard work, and lots of failure.
Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck found that when students are praised for effort rather than ability, they actually score better on intelligence tests.
On the other hand, kids who see challenges as learning opportunities are more likely to persist, strategize, and keep working until they find a solution.
With information from: