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How to Inspire a Love for Learning in Your Child, at Any Age
If you're a parent, you've been there. The day when your child comes home from school with a look of frustration on his or her face, and despair and his or her eyes. This is the point when they find that learning isn't fun, and they would rather do anything in the world but go to school (or so they think). It is often a natural transition for most children to experience this at some point as they grow up, particularly when they enter middle and high school.
What can a parent do to prevent this from happening? The first thing is that parents need to be supportive of their children's learning style. All children have a different way that they learn. For some, using photos or objects are better and more memorable; others do better by just reading the information. Whatever your child's learning style is, it's important that you support this at home. Often times, teachers don't have enough time or resources to support all the individual learning styles in the classroom. By appreciating their learning style at home, you are demonstrating that there is always a warm and loving environment for your children to learn in the way that they prefer.
It's also important to show your child that you like to learn and take an active role in learning new things. Picking up a new hobby, like knitting or playing guitar, or reading nonfiction books to learn more about historical periods demonstrate that you are taking an active role in learning. Also, discussing this with your child and highlighting the things that you have learned, as well as why you feel that lifelong learning is important, will show them that learning is something that can -- and should -- be enjoyed.
Additionally, making sure that doing homework or learning about something new is never served as a punishment. This can make the child relate learning with something that they don't like. Never send your child to his or her room to "do his homework" after you've had a stern discussion with them. Instead, use homework or learning as a way for you to bond as a family.
Lastly, establishing a routine for completing homework and studying new topics is important because it develops good learning habits that last a lifetime. By establishing that after dinner is a time to work on homework or study quietly, students will learn this as a habit and take it with them to the next part of their life, say when they are in college or even if they need to study materials after work.
Creating a lifelong passion for learning is often thought of as a difficult process because many don't understand how to develop this feeling. However, by recognizing a few key strategies, such as avoiding using homework as a punishment and demonstrating your own passion for learning, you can ensure that your child is interested in learning and has a mind that is constantly seeking new information.
Marie Jones is a communications professional who has experience working for public school districts. In this role, she connects with parents, teachers and students to learn more about effective learning strategies, which she communicates to internal and external stakeholders. She is also a contributor to
Degree Jungle a college student resource.