With children often associating learning with going to school, encouraging them to want to learn outside the classroom can sometimes be tricky. However, it’s important for parents to try and encourage curiosity, exploration, and problem solving, as well as introduce them to new ideas or places to help spark the desire to learn on a daily basis. With a recent study also showing economic, emotional, physical, and social benefits to being a life-long learner, it’s certainly a good idea to start to teach the importance of continuous learning to your kids. Here’s some ways you can inspire your children to become life-long learners.
As soon as your kids start showing an interest in, and the ability to focus on, books, building, science, and simple maths activities (which could easily be as early as 2-3 years old), you can start fostering lifelong learning and showing them just how important it is. Use the following as a starting point:
- Encouraging curiosity, exploration, and problem solving
- Reading to them on a regular basis
- Focusing on experiences rather than material items
Kids are naturally curious creatures, and although this can be testing at times, curiosity is how many children learn! Nurture their curiosity by allowing them to explore, ask questions, read aloud and test out theories. In fact, we recommend encouraging your kids to ask lots of questions and explore their interests further.
Encouraging your kids to problem-solve is an excellent way for them to become life-long learners. Take the time to explain the importance of working through problems without giving up, even if it means using trial and error, which can sometimes take a while. It’s also good to let them decide on their own strategies to use when solving everyday problems, as this helps them challenge their mind and build up learning without them even realising it!
Show Your Children New Places
It’s important to take children to new places and encourage them to try new experiences. Doing this not only helps them relate to what they already know, but can spark interests in new subject areas or help them learn about the place itself.
Set A Good Example
Even though it's important to promote continuous learning, modelling lifelong learning behaviour is crucial if you really want your kids to understand its importance. After all, children tend to copy what their parents do, so if you’re setting a positive example, it can really go a long way when it comes to inspiring your kids to want to learn too. Why not give the following a try?
- Reading - Whether it's a book, newspaper, or online article, reading shows your kids that you like being knowledgeable and to stay informed.
- Using Online Educational Resources - From online courses to learning games and apps, there are many resources available at your fingertips that make it easy and fun to learn at any age.
- Watch Educational Documentaries/Shows – With a huge variety of educational TV shows and interesting documentaries now available on Netflix at any time, it’s a really great way to spark new interests and gain knowledge on topics quickly.
Show How Learning Takes Place Every Day
When it comes to life-long learners, it’s important to actually show your kids how they learn every day and that it’s not just something they do at school. Point out that they are learning new skills as they grow up, such as tying their shoes or taking care of the family pet. Often, when children think of learning, they envision tricky maths problems or hard lessons at school - so it’s important to demonstrate how much more there is to everyday learning. You could even consider getting your kids involved in some of your daily activities such as cooking dinner or watering the houseplants. Involving your kids with these types of experiences not only teaches them practical skills they can use throughout their lives but also helps inspire them to keep trying new things and learning new skills.
Get Them Excited About Their Passions
Finally, if you have a child that’s passionate about something specific, whether it’s dinosaurs, aliens or animals - get them excited to learn everything they can about it. Connect them with books about their passion, try to take them to a place where they can observe more about their interests and learn along with them.