The benefits of learning don't stop after school. Children who are the best at learning are those who love to learn. And since learning starts when we are children, there is no better time to foster a love of learning than childhood.
So, how can parents raise children to love to learn?
- Share Your Passion
Be a great role model for your child by enthusiastically exploring your own interests and passions. Talk to your child about the challenges and excitement you are experiencing from your new learning. It can be about exploring a new recipe or picking up a new hobby. Demonstrating your own enthusiasm for learning helps instil this same passion in your child.
- Surround your children with books.
Harvard University researchers have found that consistent access to books can increase children's motivation to read. Keeping books within easy reach (by the kitchen table, next to their bed and in the car) can help to foster your children affection for reading. Set aside a special time to read together each day. Active participation by discussing the story with your children can help boost their understanding and keep reading fun.
- Give your children the room for trial and error
Don't focus so much on getting your children to do things right or finish quickly. Give your children the space and time for error and experimentation. By letting your children figure things out and overcome challenges independently—whether a jigsaw puzzle or a maths problem—they will gain a sense of competence. Commonly, children are likely to want to do the activities that they feel they are good at, which is something that all enthusiastic learners share.
- Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome
Make learning more about the process and the effort that your children put into their work. It is essential to teach children that success is not the result of innate abilities like "intelligence." Instead, success comes from persistence, practice, hard work, and many failures. When your child successfully solved a Maths problem, highlight the many tries he or she took to overcome it, the new study approaches he or she found, and how he or she persisted even when it got hard.
Key takeaway: If your goal is to foster a love of learning, it is far better to take an interest in what your children are doing rather than how well they are doing it.