3 things you can start doing over the winter break to grow their passion for the pursuit of knowledge
By Gabriella Rowe
Both teachers and parents know that cultivating great self-motivated learning habits often starts at home. One of the most important skills in all students’ toolboxes is the ability to propel themselves through their work without an educator or parent pushing them forward.
With the school year in full swing, children’s schedules have filled up with after-school activities and homework, making it easy to lose sight of those important habits amid our day-to-day hustle and bustle. Why not use the winter break to instill in your kids some learning habits? Even though motivation is a very personal emotion that varies from child to child, there are three basic actions parents can do to encourage a love of learning.
Know their passion.
Start with their favorite toy or television show. What interests them the most? Whether it’s dinosaurs, dolls or cars, use their passions as a springboard to focus on the process of learning. Encouraging children to enjoy the journey stimulates them to ask important questions, like “why,” “where,” or “what if.” By leveraging their passions, we can help them channel their excitement and reward their appetite for education.
Read, read, and then… read some more.
Disclaimer: this doesn’t just mean to read to your child, or ask your child to read and do their homework. But instead, as a busy parent, try and find time to be well read. Talk with your child about what you read and what you find interesting. You are modeling the impact of learning on your life and showing how your interests start a deeper dialogue with those around you. This chain of events will inspire your child to pick up a book or newspaper and start asking some of the same questions you ask. This relates back to sparking curiosity, which is at the heart of a deeper love of learning.
Realize that you’re still learning, too.
In my opinion, this is the toughest thing to do as you’re encouraging your child to enjoy the learning process. If we already know everything (or at least pretend to), then we take away one of our child’s fundamental drives for learning: to be smarter than us! All children want to know more than their parents. But, if we are too quick to provide the right response or answer, then you’ll have removed a big part of the ambition they need to learn for the rest of their lives. Instead, offer to help them with research, and ask many questions. Then, you’ll have modeled for your children the learning and problem-solving process you want them to adopt.
Keeping these three tips in mind will help your child become a lifelong learner. When you work at home to develop a true love of learning, your child will look forward to the process at school and know the journey never ends — no matter their interests, learning style, or developmental stage.
Gabriella Rowe is Head of School at The Village School, a Nord Anglia Education school, in Houston. (nordangliaeducation.com/our-schools/houston/village-school).