Your child’s learning experience shouldn’t be confined to a classroom. Opening up the world to a child and allowing exploration and fun is a great way to persuade learning outside of school.
Children are naturally curious, so allowing them some freedom and encouraging them to learn new things isn’t as difficult as you might think. Your involvement in their learning is crucial to opening their eyes to new ideas that allow them to be lifelong learners.
Children are more likely to learn when they’re involved in some decisions. It’s important to allow them to express their thoughts and feelings to you. Ask them their opinions about important decisions, like which extracurricular activities they are interested in or even something as simple as picking out their own clothes.
Allowing children to share in making choices for the family and to express concerns or dislikes shows them you value their opinion. Giving your children “freedom with limits” helps them discover their interests and learning style.
Make Reading a Daily Affair
Reading is the foundation for learning. It’s essential for children to learn to read for a full understanding of both written and verbal communication. You can encourage reading and make it fun by having a variety of reading material available. An abundance of books, newspapers, magazines and other reading materials in your home will encourage children to read more.
You can also set a good example by letting your kids see you reading. Set aside a specific time each day for your whole household to enjoy an hour or two of quiet reading time, and talk to each other about the books you’re reading.
Plan regular outings to the library and allow your children to pick out the books they want to borrow. Also, reading to your child or taking turns reading with older children is a great way to make reading fun for the family.
Offer Different Ways to Learn
Not all children learn in the same way. Some are more hands-on learners, while others are visual learners. Your child may exhibit a preference for one of several different learning styles. These include visual, verbal, physical, auditory and logical.
Help them develop their learning style by offering different ways to learn. This includes listening or watching educational videos, taking little field trips to explore and providing toys that encourage problem-solving and skill-building.
Be Enthusiastic About the Child’s Interests
All children have different interests and likes. Support your child’s hobbies or interests and make it part of their learning experience.
If your child loves dogs, get books about dog training or caring for dogs. The same goes for trains, horses, plants or whatever your child shows interest in.
You may not understand their interest, but you can show your enthusiasm and use it to encourage learning experiences.
Focus on Strengths
If children are struggling in one area, that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning. Forcing them to concentrate more on the least interesting subject to them will only discourage learning.
If your child excels at science, encourage it by giving the child a chemistry set. You can also encourage learning in areas where kids need a little extra help by getting learning tools and toys that make lessons fun.
Talk About School
Ask your child about what he/she is learning at school and get involved providing assistance with projects. Showing interest in your child’s projects helps them become more interested. Ask what the child likes or dislikes about certain subjects, so you can find ways to make it more interesting or fun.
Don’t just ask how they did on a certain test or what grades they’re getting. Learning is about much more than a percentage, a grade or performance on an exam. Show them that learning is for having new experiences, making mistakes and correcting them.
Celebrate Small Achievements
Rewarding children for small achievements provides encouragement to do more. This habit is called positive reinforcement, and it increases the likelihood the good behavior will continue.
Positive reinforcement means rewarding your child for even small accomplishments, like completing a difficult homework assignment or writing an essay. You don’t have to go out and buy presents for positive reinforcement. Just allow the child to do something fun, or go out for ice cream.
Remember that experiences are more valuable than things, so the reward could also be spending time together at the park or taking a bike ride.
Talk About Your Learning Experiences
Are you learning something new? Talk about this with your children. Tell them about your experiences in learning and if you have had any difficulties. This gives you the chance to demonstrate that learning is a lifelong process that doesn’t just happen in school. You can also emphasize that learning new things doesn’t always come easily, but even people who stumble can be successful if they keep going.
Your learning experience can be anything from trying out a new recipe to starting a new job. When a child understands learning doesn’t stop when you’re grown up, it pushes them to keep learning even into adulthood.
Turn Every Day Into a Learning Experience
Everyone learns something new daily. Build on kids’ inborn curiosity by allowing them to ask questions and explore their surroundings. Give them the freedom to try things on their own, and only help if asked.
Your child is learning by helping you bake cookies, run errands or even do laundry. Any time you spend with your child can be a learning experience, even if it doesn’t feel that way. So allow children to help out around the house and spend time out in the world.
Children absorb knowledge all the time, whether at home, school or someplace else. You can encourage learning just by allowing them to have new experiences and not putting too many limits on their activities. Limits are important, but being too restrictive hinders learning.
Give children the space they need to grow and cheer them on each step of the way as they develop new skills. By doing so, you’ll provide the foundation for kids to be lifelong learners.
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