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There are all sorts of things that parents will do in order to try and give the kids the best possible start in life. Ranging from being extremely precise and calculating with the food to give to their children, to ensuring that they hunt out the best schools and preschools.
Disclosure – this is a collaboration post
As is so often the case in life. However, one of the best things that you could ever do for your child would be to “help them to help themselves,” Or, in other words, to impart certain values, habits, and temperaments on your child that would help them to navigate the world to the best of their ability on their own, and to go from strength to strength as a result of that.
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One of the most beneficial character traits that anyone can develop in life is a passion for learning, and an abiding curiosity about the world and all the mysteries and marvels it contains.
Here are a few suggestions for how to help develop your child’s passion for learning.
Children tend to be naturally excitable and enthusiastic about the world, and will invariably pick up on the energy and emotional states that their parents embody and display.
If a child notices that their parents are constantly anxious, they are likely to become anxious themselves. And, if they notice that their parents are deeply interested and enthusiastic in something, it goes without saying that the child will likely want to join in on that interest, too.
To help develop your child’s passion for learning, share your own passions and enthusiasms for the things you find interesting and meaningful in the world. If you really love art, show your child some of your favourite paintings and tell them why you think they’re so great. If you’re really interested in geography, point out a nearby landmark and tell them some cool, easy-to-grasp facts about it.
What you shouldn’t do is to be too robotic and stern. Forcing a child to sit down while you recite the times tables to them is only likely to put them off learning.
Give them access to plenty of materials they can use to educate themselves
If your child’s room contains plenty of age-appropriate atlases, encyclopedias, primary resources maths toys, and other materials that they can use to educate themselves, the odds are quite good that they will engross themselves in “learning” on their own time.
If, on the other hand, your child doesn’t have easy access to such materials and resources, they may never get the chance to develop and satisfy that curiosity for learning, even if they would otherwise happily spend hours paging through photo journals, and watching animations about how volcanoes work.
Not every child will be interested in everything, of course. But you should make as many resources, on as many different subjects as possible, available to your kids so that they can get into the habit of reading and learning on their own.
Get in the habit of having discussions with your child, and don’t brush off their questions
Children are notorious for asking slightly baffling questions such as “why is the sky blue?,” “Why do clouds look like candy floss?” and so on.
Sometimes – especially after a long and tiring day at the office – parents may find themselves giving half-hearted answers, or even brushing off and shutting down their kids out of hand. The phrase “because I said so” is one of the more infamous examples of this.
It should go without saying that if you snap at your child, brush them off, or give half-hearted answers to the questions they ask, they will quickly learn not to ask questions, and will develop the idea that there’s something wrong with their natural curiosity about the world.
Make a real effort to always have discussions with your child when they are curious about something, and don’t brush off their questions. Answer them to the best of your ability, or if needs be, say “good question, I’ll need to look it up” and then do some quick research of your own.
Of course, this implies that you, the parent, will stay on the path of constant learning and curiosity yourself, and that’s exactly the way it should be.
Once again – kids are notorious for doing as their parents do, and not as they say. So if you really want your child to develop a passion for learning, show them through your actions that you, yourself, have a passion for learning.