Children are like sponges. They observe the world around them and learn from what they see and experience. However, things sometimes change when they start school. Being told what they have to learn isn’t always what they want, so they resist. This is why you should step up before they even start school and continue developing the love for learning in your child for as long as necessary. By raising your kids to enjoy learning in all its forms can prove to be the key to their academic success. Here is how to achieve that.
Teach them how to think critically
Children who spend their school days learning things by heart and trying to memorize things that they don’t really understand will be highly unlikely to enjoy the learning process. However, if you guide them towards critical thinking, you might be able to change this situation. If they put some thought into how they can apply what they’re reading in real life, they’ll have more understanding of the topic. If they fully understand why they have to do some project or an assignment, what they’re supposed to learn from it and how it can benefit them in practice, then you’re getting somewhere. Also, whenever they do something correctly, ask them for an explanation on how they reached the right answer. When they ask questions about their tasks, answer them with another question. The goal is to get their opinion on the problem and ways to solve it. If they can’t figure out an answer, you can give it to them, but also tell them what string of thoughts led you to it. When they see you think critically, they’ll soon figure out how they can do it as well.
Tell them it’s OK to ask for help
If you want a child who likes school and sees learning as something positive, you have to talk to them from the earliest of age. Why? Well, children whose parents talk to them and listen to them while they speak tend to do better academically. By giving your child enough attention and by not interrupting them when they are trying to tell you something, you let them know that their opinion matters. Once those kids start school, they have no problem with sharing their ideas, asking for further explanations when something is unclear and seeking help when they need it. It’s perfectly fine not to excel at every subject and they should know that. You may be able to help them with some subjects, but nowadays you can also find effective online tutoring, with professional tutors and educators who will make personalized lesson plans for your child and work on improving their knowledge, while building up their self-esteem and making learning fun for them. This way they will never shy away from asking for assistance when they require it.
Make learning more active
School classes and studying from books and notes are great, but they might not hold your kid’s attention. You can find a way around this problem by showing them that the knowledge they gain at school is far more than just theoretical. So, for example, if they’re supposed to learn about farm animals, take them to a farm and show them everything first-hand. Why not let them try milking a cow or riding a horse? When they touch a sheep, they’ll understand better where wool comes from. What better way to learn about plants than to go out and pick some? And perhaps you can even perform some simple chemical experiments in your kitchen or your garage. This way of active learning will make them more curious and excited about things they can learn about.
Don’t let them learn for the sake of grades
It may be clear to you that your child is learning things so that they acquire valuable life skills, but it could be that your child is studying just for the grade. If they’re only studying for a good grade and because they fear being punished, it’s only normal that they’ll perceive it as stressful and that they’ll want to avoid it if they can. If this is the case, you have to reconsider your own attitude in order to influence theirs. Talk to your child and let them know that knowledge is what counts and that grade isn’t nearly as important. They need to realize that learning has a purpose, that it can enhance their competence and that things they learn at school have a practical use. When this gets through to them, it should be their decision, rather than obligation, to learn new things. The key is to have their mind shift from having to learn to wanting to learn. Only then will they be motivated and enthusiastic about learning.
If you notice your child feels desperate when they’re faced with learning and studying, make sure you’re always there to animate them and let them know things aren’t all that bad. Be a proactive parent and you’ll raise a proactive child who’ll enjoy learning.