Laying the Groundwork: Make Any Child a Lifelong Learner
Kids may not listen to what you say, but they almost always notice what you do! If your family’s lifestyle shows a commitment to the importance of education, you can strongly influence how your child feels about school and learning. Here are a few suggestions for how you can lay a foundation for lifelong learning—online and offline:
- Incorporate family values. Try to tie your educational values to family ones, so your child will see the two as linked. For example, make sure your child has the opportunity to see parents and other adults conduct research and read to learn something new. If education is important not just for school but also for the everyday lives of people in your family, it strengthens the desire to learn.
- Relate it to the real world. One of the best ways to get your child engaged in a lesson is to show him or her how to use the concepts/skills in real life. Having a context for what is being learned is the perfect way to show children why it’s important to advance their education.
- Encourage questions. The more questions your child asks, the more invested he or she is in the material being learned. Don’t forget that you can use questions to generate conversation, drive home an important point, or elaborate on a critical concept. Questions lead to discussion, and discussion leads to a richer overall understanding.
- Celebrate little victories. Your child’s earning a great score on a big exam isn’t the only time that a celebration is in order. Make sure you show your child you appreciate learning in even the smallest situations.
- Focus on respect. As much as we want them to, not all children are going to fall in love with learning. As a parent, you need to realize this is okay. As long as your child has respect for the learning process and understands why it’s necessary and beneficial, you’re on the track toward academic success.
Actions speak louder than words. Every time you demonstrate the importance of learning, you help ensure your child gets the message. And by instilling positive values in your child and promoting his or her search for knowledge, you can greatly increase you child’s chances of finding success and growth in school—and throughout life.
What have you done to show your child the importance of education? Please share your ideas in the comments below!