How To Ensure Your Child Is Always Learning

How To Ensure Your Child Is Always Learning

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

While your child will be learning a lot at school, the vast majority of educational and personal development takes place outside of the classroom, even in homeschooling environments.

This means that, as parents, we must always be on the lookout for ways to foster a love of learning within our children and to encourage them to put their brilliant minds to use as often as possible. Fortunately, children’s brains are often described to be ‘sponges’, due to their ability to consistently soak up new information. 

With that in mind, here are some simple ways to ensure that your child is always learning! 

Plan educational days out and adventures.

Family days out, vacations, and adventures provide you with the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your children. However, they also present you with the perfect opportunity to teach your child more about the world around them. For example, a visit to a museum can help them solidify their understanding of local history, reinforcing the topics they’ve covered in class. 

Alternatively, a family camping trip teaches them invaluable lessons about the great outdoors while also helping them to develop practical life skills. For example,  you could host your own bug hunt during your camping trip, where you locate and then take/draw pictures of the bugs you encounter and write small reports about each one afterward. You can further solidify their knowledge by researching the bugs after the fact. 

Encourage them to read.

Encouraging your children to develop a love of reading is another great way to keep their minds active, especially during the school holidays when they’re no longer spending time reading in school

. If they aren’t at the age where they can read unsupervised or are still learning, read to them each evening. Studies have found that reading to your child in this way “builds self-esteem, vocabulary, feeds the imagination, and even improves their sleeping patterns.” When reading to your children, encourage them to read or sound out some of the words themselves, as this will help them to learn to read quickly.

If your children are more confident readers, try to encourage them to read each day. Even a few pages make a difference when it comes to developing their comprehension skills. If they’re reluctant to read, it’s not because reading isn’t for them; it means they haven’t found a book they truly love yet – so don’t be afraid to try out a range of genres, from fantasy to sci-fi, until you find the right fit.

You could lead by example, in this instance, by starting your own family book club. While you don’t have to read the same books, you should gather once every two weeks to discuss what you have been reading and to ask each other questions. By asking your child to think more critically and deeply about what they are reading, you are furthering their comprehension skills and literary understanding. This will serve them well both inside and outside of the classroom. 

Play online games.

Believe it or not, playing online games can also be a great educational tool for children of all ages. For example, sorting games, such as the watermelon game, can help children develop a range of problem-solving skills. For example, they can aid pattern recognition while also developing basic numeracy skills. 

Of course, you must be selective in your choice of video game, ensuring that they’re age-appropriate and educational. You should also ensure that your child does not spend too much time behind the screen, viewing this as a quick pastime rather than something they should spend endless hours doing each day. 

Ask for their opinions.

Children learn through conversation with those around them. As such, you should ensure they remain an active part of all household conversations by asking for their thoughts and opinions. Studies have found that doing so “helps children not only build their self-esteem, but it also lets them practice having conversations and thinking through their positions and expectations for themselves and the world.” 

By involving your child in conversations that they would otherwise be excluded from (provided they are age-appropriate), you are encouraging them to begin to think more critically. This is a skill that they can later apply to their school work or to in-class conversations. 

Furthermore, the more comfortable your child feels when it comes to voicing their opinions or feelings, the more confident they’ll be in school, too. Not only will this enable them to perform better in class, but it could also support them when making new friends or socializing with their peers. 

Watch kid-friendly documentaries.

Watching kid-friendly documentaries is the perfect rainy-day activity that the whole family can enjoy. After all, it provides children with the opportunity to learn something new while ensuring that the information is presented in a way that’s easily accessible to them. This also ensures that they remain focused on the documentary itself instead of getting bored and distracted.  

In addition to kid-friendly documentaries, you might want to watch educational YouTube videos together. These can be selected based on your child’s interests and hobbies or be used to help reinforce knowledge gathered/obtained in class. 

Keep on top of their homework.

While some children are incredibly diligent in their response to homework and will complete it as soon as they arrive home, others would prefer to leave it untouched at the bottom of their bag. However, it’s important that your children understand that homework is more than just a chore and that it plays a key role in their learning and development.

This means that you should encourage them to keep on top of their homework by setting daily homework hours. For example, you could sit down together at the table before dinner so that you’re on hand to help or provide assistance should they need it. 

Encourage them to find a hobby they love. 

Hobbies are also incredibly beneficial during our younger years, and while they may not be strictly ‘academic’ in nature, they do provide children with the chance to develop a range of skills and to learn something new. They can also help them to form stronger relationships with peers or boost their confidence.

However, it’s important that you help your child find a hobby they truly love instead of encouraging them to pursue an activity you think they’d enjoy. This can sometimes require a bit of trial and error as they try out a few different activities until they find one they truly enjoy. 

Give them a break.

While children are constantly learning from the world around them, it’s important that you don’t put too much pressure on them. For example, they shouldn’t have to spend every free moment with their nose buried in a book. As such, you should ensure that you give them plenty of free time to rest when they need it as well. Doing so is often considered key to raising happy children. 

Whenever you spend time working on something educational together, such as their homework, follow it up with a fun, no-pressure activity. For example, this could include giving them some free time on the computer, watching a movie, or going to the park. This allows your child to properly decompress, especially if they have school the next day and need to be as alert and focused as possible. 

By taking a more relaxed approach to learning, you’re encouraging your children to be inquisitive off their own backs, too. This means they’re likely to be more receptive to learning something new without feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. 

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