never stop LEARNING
Pay attention to an infant for a few minutes, and you will see a child always on the thrilling edge of an early learning adventure. Every time they turn their heads, they see something they have never seen before! Lights! Amazing. A piece of bread on a plate! She’s never seen that before. Wait! What’s mom doing? Is she eating it?!
Just when you think her eyes couldn’t get any bigger, she sees the dog walk by and licks up a crumb, and you can tell that this is one amazing new adventure too. Unfortunately, as we grow older we tend to lose our zeal for learning. As adults, we need to do more than just turn our head to see something new, and we aren’t always motivated to find something to explore.
This can lead to painful consequences. Studies show that older adults who are not actively using their brain are more likely to experience mental decline and diseases such as dementia compared to those who continue to learn.
Encouraging your youngster to keep learning starts early. According to an article by Science Magazine children start learning as young as the womb. It stated, “a 1988 study suggested that newborns recognize the theme song from their mother’s favorite soap opera.” and even language and music are heard during this time.
Even if your child is older, it isn’t too late to help them learn to love learning. Here are a few positive parenting tips to help foster the love for learning your child will need throughout the rest of their lives:
don’t criticize failure
Being afraid to fail is what stops most people from trying in the first place. If your child is worried about what you or others will think if they aren’t able to do things, they are less likely to try in the first place.
Let them know that mistakes happen, but it’s what is learned from their mistakes that is important. Try not to be judgemental or too critical of your child because of a mistake, but instead communicate the lesson that was learned. Find out more in our previous article, mistakes are for LEARNING.
In fact, it’s important to encourage our children to take chances and try new things even if they might fail or make mistakes. The benefits of doing this include instilling curiosity, creativity, courage and confidence, which all help develop successful adults.
encourage curiosity and creativity
Challenging kids with activities that ignite their curiosity and creativity can greatly boost children’s confidence. It can also assist in developing their social skills and help them learn better. As stated in the article by Star2, “nurturing curiosity and creativity in your children encourages a lifelong drive and enthusiasm for learning.”
encourage your child’s independence
In most developed countries, parents do everything for their child. The freedom of years past are over, and it is now unheard of to allow your child to walk to school by himself, or even wait in the car while you pop in the pharmacy for a prescription.
Unfortunately, this also has a consequence you don’t see in developing countries, a syndrome scientists are calling Failure to Launch. Children who have absolutely everything done for them are often still living with their parents in their 30s, and don’t know how to handle even the basics of survival, such as doing laundry or cooking food.
The solution? Parents are encouraged to do less for their children, according to their ability. It’s so easy to quickly pop open a potato chip bag or untwist the cap on a squeeze yogurt, but learning how to open bags is important. It’s okay to support your child if they need help, but give them a chance to struggle first, and don’t punish them if their efforts result in a mess. After all, learning is often messy!
This one simple task will help develop both fine and gross motor skills, as well as problem-solving skills. All that, and you are preparing your child to spread their wings years down the road.
support their interests
Putting too much pressure on a child to be perfect at one skill or another can cause stress and tension for the child and that activity. It can be better for everyone involved if we try to nurture their interests and passions by making resources available to them without always letting the tiger mom (or dad) out.
The fastest way to encourage a love for learning is to support them when they have an interest. This could mean taking them to a dinosaur museum if they love dinosaurs, or getting them a telescope—and showing them how to use it. By encouraging their interests and taking the time to help them develop expertise in these areas, you’ll not only help them love learning, but you’ll also get some wonderful memories out of it too.
books to encourage a learning mindset
Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn for Kids by John C. Maxwell reminds children that even though you may lose, it’s still considered a win because you learned something in return. Where Do Animals Live? (Curious Young Minds) by Alejandro Algarra captivates curious youngsters with a look at the science behind some of life’s most intriguing subjects – animals. Zach Makes Mistakes by William Mulcahy tells the story about a boy who makes mistakes during a field trip but is then assured by his teacher that everyone makes mistakes but it’s important to learn from them.
In order to grow and be healthy, we need to keep learning no matter how old we are. Instilling a love for learning can help keep our children’s brains healthy and well for years to come.
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.