5 Simple Ways To Foster a Love of Learning in Your Child
Ask any teacher and they will tell you: children who love learning are more successful throughout their educational career and are more likely to both get accepted to, and attend, college. Developing a love of learning begins at birth and can be deeply ingrained in a child before they reach kindergarten. Here are a few ideas to help your child fall in love with education:
1. Have a Conversation
There are daily opportunities to teach your children. When you read a book to your child, for instance, ask them to identify objects in the illustration. Let them tell you what they think is going to happen next. When out on a walk, ask your child what color the grass is or why the leaves are falling. Keep your questions age appropriate and you’ll soon find your child chattering away in response.
2. Stay Positive
Children are natural learners and often learn things on their own. Encourage this exploration! If your child jumps takes a basketball and starts bouncing it, encourage them with, “You’re dribbling the basketball. Great job!” Resist the temptation to give them a 15 minute lesson on the proper way to dribble and the complexities of the skill. If your child attempts new skills on their own, that’s a good thing; treat it as such.
3. Read Books
Studies have shown that children who are read to as children and who, later, are encouraged to read on their own, are more successful in school. Be sure to have plenty of books around. Your child will likely have a favorite book or two that they want to listen to frequently and that’s fine. Once your child begins repeating the story back to you, allow them to “read” the story to you using the illustrations. This is one of the first steps in your child learning to read the words on the page and should be encouraged.
4. Teach by Doing
Children, prior to developing other skills, learn best by doing. Let your child get hands-on with their lessons. Baking together can be a great way to teach beginning math skills, taking a walk through town and pointing out addresses is a good way to teach number identification and the environment allows for all manner of other lessons. Pay attention to what your child focuses on and turn it into a brief lesson.
5. Give Free Time
Children who are stressed out or over-stimulated tend to be poor learners. Don’t pressure your children by turning every waking second into a lesson. Give your child free-time; backyard romping, coloring at the kitchen table or even playing educational games on the computer, alone, will give them time to daydream and use their imaginations.
Children are natural learners. As parents, we need to know how to foster this love affair. By taking cues from your child, you’ll not only help them develop a life-long love of education but you’ll be virtually guaranteeing their admission into, and enjoyment of, college.
Peter Harrington is a career counselor and content contributor for topcollegesonline.org, a great source of online colleges rankings and information on expanding your education — from obtaining a pharmacy degree to how to become a vet.