Children naturally love to learn. Unfortunately, that love often gets stripped away by middle childhood as learning becomes competitive, directed, and overwhelming. Whether your child attends school outside the home or is home educated, these 10 tips will help ignite (or fan the flame of) your child's love of learning.
1. Let them see your love of learning! We know that we are our child's first teacher, and we have a tremendous influence on their worldview. Find your own passions and pursue your own interests. Talk to your child each day about something new you've learned or questions you plan on seeking the answers to.
2. Be enthusiastic about your child's interests. This is not only a wonderful way to connect with a child but to also fuel their passions. If you don't understand why your child loves a particular interest, get curious and ask questions. Discuss it in depth so that you really understand your child's view and feelings.
3. Read books - a lot! Reading aloud is especially beneficial as it increases vocabulary and comprehension, improves reading and listening skills, and sharpens your child's focus. Read lots of great classic literature and poetry which exposes your child to a whole wide world of wonder and beauty.
4. Allow plenty of free play. Today's children are often overscheduled and overwhelmed, leaving little time for free play and exploration. Not only does play do wonders for your child's brain, it also offers opportunity for your child to discover her interests. If a child is directed in school all day, and then spends the evening in more directed activities, there is nearly no time to discover what she really loves.
5. Expose him to a variety of experiences. Listen to different genres of music, show her different forms of art, read a variety of books, and play thinking games. Visit museums, see some live shows, and explore parks! When learning is a natural part of living and exploring, your child can't help but love it!
6. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Maybe she's really interested in dance, but struggles with getting the steps down. Let her know that trying her best and having fun matters more than dancing perfectly. Be a supportive encourager, but don't push too hard. It can be difficult not to get caught up in our own dreams and goals for them, which sometimes leads us to push when we should let go. Be mindful of which goals are theirs and which are yours.