Developing a love of learning benefits children and continues providing them with positive outcomes as adults. A few simple actions can help foster a love of learning that lasts a lifetime.
In order for learning activities to be engaging, they need to be interesting, age-appropriate, and at children’s instructional level. When introducing a skill, providing practice, or reviewing concepts, provide kids with a variety of engaging activities. High-interest activities that kids can achieve success with will promote learning.
There are different ways to learn including auditory, which is hearing information, and visual, which is seeing the information. There is also a kinesthetic learning style, which is engaging in hands-on experiences. Lastly, concepts and skills can be learned through reading and writing. Most people, including kids, have a preference for how they learn best. It may be one learning style or it may be multiple. Helping children understand how they learn can be incredibly helpful. Once they have identified their preferences, they can use their learning style to tap into their strengths. This will continue to be valuable throughout their school career and beyond.
Encourage learning by tapping into the many everyday things that occur and provide kids with experiences. Learning happens when they’re setting the table, sorting laundry, or adding items to the grocery list. It also occurs when you sing and read together. There is learning happening when the family plays a board game or a card game. Visit the zoo, an aquarium, or a museum. Take advantage of seemingly simple everyday activities that encourage learning.
Setting an Example
Be a role model when it comes to learning. Kids need to see that learning isn’t just something you do while you’re in school and that it continues throughout life. They also need to see that learning isn’t always easy, everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes we have to really persevere to accomplish something. Let your kids see you doing your own taxes for the first time, learning a new computer program, or reading a non-fiction book about a topic that interests you. Show them what you’re passionate about, like cooking, running, or writing. Demonstrate how you greet learning with a positive attitude and a growth mindset.
Encourage children to explore areas that interest them. They may identify topics on their own or they may need exposure to different activities in order to discover the ones they really love. Kids may find that they love learning about dinosaurs, playing soccer, painting, riding horses, or playing the piano. All of these activities, and more, will help them develop new skills and encourage a love of learning.
A simple and fantastic way to encourage children to learn is by listening to them. Kids can be very inquisitive. Take advantage of their natural curiosity. Let them ask questions, provide them with answers when you know them, and research together when you don’t have all the answers. Encourage kids to express their opinions and let them know their opinions are valid. Teach them to explore different perspectives and to confirm and deny wonderings.
Offer positive reinforcement to celebrate your children’s successes, including the everyday ones. Praise doesn’t need to be limited to scoring the winning goal or getting perfect on a test. Let kids know that you’re proud of them when they persevere on a challenging task, help out a sibling or friend, or try a new activity. It’s also important to let them know you’re there to help when they have questions or just can’t get something right the first few times. Surrounding children with support and encouragement helps them develop a positive attitude toward learning.