When you foster the love of learning in your children, you set them up for a lifetime of happiness and success. Children are born with a drive to learn and explore the world around them, and parents have the ability to nudge them in the direction of continuous learning.
Your ultimate goal as a parent should be to discover your child's preferred method of learning. You can do this by encouraging them to pursue hobbies that they find exciting and enriching. You also need to maintain the wisdom to know when your children might need an extra push in a certain area or whether they need to change their course entirely.
Consider some of these simple strategies to foster a joy of learning:
1. Reading Stories. Your children are never too young to enjoy a story (and they're never too old!). Start reading to them when they're babies and you'll foster a lifetime of love for the subject. When it comes to reading, as long as they keep practicing the skill they'll keep getting better at it. Encourage your children to read more, regardless of their age or topic of interest, as long as it's age-appropriate. Encourage them to read the stories that are good and true and beautiful.
2. Get Excited About New Things. It'll help if you maintain a certain excitement about the things your child discovers. When they're babies, cheer when they learn to walk or roll over. Cheer as they learn to ride bikes. Continue to show excitement every time they start something new. Someone once said, “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”
3. Be Inspired Yourself. It's important to remain inspired and continue to go after your own wants and dreams. In life you never stop learning. If your children see your personal love of learning, they'll be inspired, too.
4. Give Your Child a Choice. While you don't have to allow your child to do whatever they want, you can still give them a choice in what they'd like to pursue. When children have a choice, they feel like what they think makes a real difference, and it does! Let them choose their own books, hobbies, and so on.
5. Stay Involved with School. Make sure you stay on top of the topics that your children are learning in school. You kids will like the attention and they'll appreciate that you're involved in their life. You can go over assignments at home or you can even have frequent meetings with your child's teachers.
6. Field Trips. Maybe your children will be scheduled to go on field trips with their school. If not, you can always create your own field trips for afternoons and weekends. Schedule field trips that pertain to your child's personal interests. They will certainly be inspired to learn more and you'll still be personally involved in their lives.
7. Show Your Support. It's always important to show your children support no matter what. Even if they've chosen a subject to pursue that you don't enjoy, as long as it's appropriate, it's important to be there for your child. If they suspect that you're unhappy with their personal decisions, they may be less likely to continue with their studies. And you may be surprised later on to find out that their interest is something that will change the world!
8. Provide Resources. While you may not always have a great deal of cash available for your children's hobbies, it's a good idea to provide them with the necessary resources to allow them to fully pursue their interests. When they're toddlers and young children, it can mean just providing them educational and age appropriate toys. It may be more of a financial burden when they're older because you may need to invest in advanced training or camps. Or even better yet, encourage them to work in order to help provide the financial resources necessary for their dreams. There's something about feeling the ownership of things in which we have personally invested.
You really only want what's best for your children. As long as you remain loving and accepting, your children will continue to come to you for guidance and advice. When you start learning with them while they're young, fostering a love of learning will come naturally.