Young children learn on a daily basis without much interference from parents, but older children may hit a plateau after starting school. Regardless of your child’s age, there are some simple steps that you can take to inspire a lifetime love of learning. Formal education doesn’t have to be a struggle when you use these methods.
Reading books aloud to babies and preschoolers, dress up play and building blocks are all examples of creative ways to inspire your child to use their imagination. These toys form the foundation of learning for young children. Basic toys can used in dozens of different ways to spark creative play. Even something as simple as crayons and blank paper can benefit your child by offering them a blank slate for expression.Be An Example
Children learn most by watching caregivers and mimicking their actions. Talk to your child about everyday concepts, like colors, shapes and letters, to spark their interest. You can also share information about topics that you are personally interested in to increase their awareness and interest in a wide range of ideas, concepts and subjects. You will definitely want to read in your child’s presence often to encourage them to develop an active interest in books. Providing age-appropriate books for each of your children to enjoy is also important. Even young babies love to look at picture books and hear familiar stories time and time again.
Be a Listener
You can encourage your child to develop a love of learning, and also their language skills, simply by listening and responding to their interests. A toddler who loves bugs, for example, will be more likely to explore a book that has lots of photos of insects, spiders and other bugs than books about other subjects. While it is recommended to have a broad range of books to promote learning, it is also fine to allow your child to satisfy their own interests by purchasing books and toys that include their favorite things.
Learning is a process that each child works through at their own unique pace. Try not to focus on the end result but the process of learning to encourage your child. For example, you may be tempted to show your preschooler how to work a puzzle or solve a problem but the reality is that children learn best when they are challenged. Challenges that are difficult, but not frustrating, help your child feel a sense of accomplishment when a task is completed, which can promote healthy learning strategies in the future. If your child does become frustrated, try putting the item away for the future since frustration may lead to less interest in learning in the future.
Play time is important for children, especially preschoolers. Kids need plenty of time each day for creative play each day, without the interruption of television or other electronics. Setting limits on television, video games and other distractions can benefit preschoolers by providing them with the time they need for other activities. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under two shouldn’t watch television at all and those over the age of two should be limited to one hour per day. With these simple steps, you can encourage a lifetime love of learning in your child.