Inspire Your Kids’ Love of Learning
By: Laura Lebovitz | LAMFT at Grow Counseling
It is so great to see your kids light up with joy when they master a new task or figure out why something works for the first time. When you see your kids get excited about learning, you can’t help but feel excited, too! However, it can sometimes be hard to keep the enthusiasm for learning going throughout the entire school year. It can be especially hard as the novelty of a new classroom and teacher start to wear off and busy schedules and assignments start to settle in. The focus can quickly shift from the fun of accomplishing a new task or reading a new fact to getting the right grades as the school year progresses on. But there are many things parents can do to help their kids nourish a lifelong love of learning that help kids go beyond simply good grades in school.
All kids start out with an instinct to learn, explore, and discover. Nurturing that instinct when kids are young helps keep their interest as they get older. Mirror your child’s enthusiasm about new things and ask them questions to help them notice more details. Try to build opportunities for them to encounter something they have never seen before by taking them to museums, getting out in nature, or even just visiting new places around town. If schedules make it too hard to get out of the house, make sure they have easy access to new and interesting books. Reading is such a great way for kids to explore and learn about the world around them.
Share with them.
Talk about the interesting things you like to learn about or what your passions are. Opening the door for conversations about your passions may help your kids to discover their own passions and interests. Being able to engage them in an active conversation helps them push themselves to find new knowledge instead of sticking with what they already know.
Learn with your kids.
Don’t feel like you have to have all of the right answers! It can be so much fun for kids to feel like they are learning with their parents instead of feeling like you are the expert on everything. If they stump you with a question, encourage their observations and do the research on the answer together. Find ways to deepen conversations by asking more detailed questions, examining other points of view, or find connections to other points of knowledge. It can also be fun to create opportunities for learning by doing a project together around the house like building a new piece of furniture or making a new recipe.
Focus on the process.
Too often we can get stuck deciding if something is a success or not based upon the end result. While it can feel great for your kids to get praise when they accomplish something, it is also important to highlight all of the hard work along the way. Try to highlight the perseverance it took to keep going, the new strategies it took, and how good it feels to do something new. If they make a mistake, talk about how they could have gone about it a different way and find ways to praise them for continuing to persevere. Focusing on the process can help highlight how good it feels to learn something new instead of just completing a task. Learning is not a means to an end. It is a lifelong experience of discovering new things about the world around us!
Laura Lebovitz is a licensed associate marriage and family therapist that works in the Suwanee area at GROW Counseling. She received her Masters of Family Therapy from Mercer University School of Medicine. She works with children, adolescents, young adults, and families dealing with a variety of concerns. She specializes in working with anxiety, autism, self-harm, life transitions like divorce, and building healthy relationships within families.