Most children want to explore the world and find out more about it. But sometimes, you can find that their love of learning goes out the window. As a parent, it can be confusing.
It’s worth reminding yourself that a love of learning doesn’t disappear. Children always want to find out more about the world. It’s just that their ideas of learning differ from yours. You think that learning is all about studying in books, while for kids, it’s a matter of play. The moment they feel like they have to learn, it turns into work. And they don’t like that.
As a parent, the trick is to be mindful of this subtle switch in their approach. Often, if you leave books by a child’s bedside, they will naturally pick them up and start reading them. By contrast, if you try to force the matter by insisting that they read for 30 minutes before they go to sleep, they will rebel. They won’t want to take part in the activity.
If you feel like your kids don’t want to learn, here are some of the things that you can do as a parent. The trick is to get them to fall in love with learning, just as they love many other activities in their life.
Don’t Let Anxiety And Pressure Creep In
Children often fall out of love with learning because they begin to associate it with stress and pressure. They feel like they have to perform and they worry about getting a good grade.
What’s strange is that this pressure doesn’t actually lead to better performance. Instead, the anxiety prevents the brain from learning what it needs to know. Kids expend so much energy worrying that they might get a bad grade that they don’t fully absorb themselves in the task of learning. In many cases, they begin to develop narratives about their own abilities, worrying that they don’t have the skills or intellect to move to the next level. This then holds them back from enjoying their studies even more.
As a parent, you want to avoid the focus on tests. The goal is always to equip the child with an educated mind. What matters is the skills themselves – and the satisfaction they bring – not the final test scores.
Discuss, Don’t Lecture
If you want to get children interested in learning, you have to make the conversation two-way. Just talking about a subject and expecting them to listen intently for hours on end won’t work. Children need to feel like active participants.
When you show an interest in something, your children are much more likely to follow your lead. They will see your passion for the subject and they will soon begin to see how it is interesting. If you can turn it into a story, that’s even better. By creating a narrative, you tap into your childrens’ love of plot.
You can also try asking open ended questions. The more you give their minds room to expand, the more likely they are to engage with questions and problem-solve.
Find A Learning Style That Suits Your Child
No two children are the same. Each has their own learning style – a method of approaching a subject that feels best for them.
Some children are highly visual. This means that they learn best with writing or images. Others are auditory – they absorb knowledge best when they listen to other people.
There are also some children who learn in a physical way. They have to interact with objects to learn about them. They may count on their fingers and use frequent hand gestures.
Don’t Make Learning A Chore
As we discussed in the introduction, making learning a chore is a big no-no. Learning has to be fun.
When reading in preschool, use things like pop-up books and add interesting voices to your narration for the characters in the story. Make it entertaining, while involving the child wherever you can.
Also, try to concentrate on project-based learning. Instead of going through exercise after exercise, get kids to create a story, piece of music or art. Show them what they can achieve when they really concentrate and focus on what they are doing.
Children take what their caregivers say very seriously. If a child starts to believe that they are not very good at art, that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Eventually, they will avoid the subject entirely, whether they have any innate skills or not.
Parents need to show encouragement at every stage. Flippant remarks about a child’s lack of skill can derail their progress.
Break It Up Into Chunks
Children’s minds are not like adults’ minds. They find it very difficult to remain focused on a single activity for an extended period.
That’s why it is such a good idea to mix up the day, changing learning activities regularly. For instance, if your child is at home and you want to encourage them to explore various subjects, you could start with 15 minutes of reading, followed by play dough followed by crayons.
Breaking it up like this keeps things interesting and works with their natural rhythm. Children generally find it incredibly difficult to remain productively focused on a task for longer than a quarter of an hour.
Make It Physical
Research shows that kids learn best when they have “hands-on” experiences. Touching and interacting with objects strengthens the connections in their brains, allowing them to instill learning patterns faster.
As a parent, therefore, you want to focus on interaction, tactile experiences and movement wherever you can. You can do things like get kids to count marbles or manipulate puzzles.
Find Something That Interests Your Child
Even if your child is young, they will have interests and passions. Kids are very good at selecting topics that they enjoy and then pursuing them. Parents should help kids find their child’s interests and support them in developing them. If your child doesn’t appear to have any specific interests, try taking them to stimulating places, such as the zoo or history museum.