Studies show that children who excel in school don’t necessarily have higher IQ’s. What they do have is curiosity. This fuels their desire to learn more about the world, ask questions, read, and engage in classroom discussions. They don’t hate school and they won’t just give in minimum work just to pass.
Building curiosity starts at home, and the good news is that its’ not only easy but fun. Here are some simple ways for you to fuel your child’s love for learning.
Give him space
We learn by doing—and that comes naturally to toddlers, who will spend hours stacking blocks or pouring sand in and out of plastic cups. While we can teach our child, part of our job is to step back and let them figure things out on his own. If he cries in frustration, don’t immediately jump in and ‘fix’ things. You can nudge him towards the answer (‘Let’s try another jigsaw puzzle piece’) but by letting him find the solution to the problem, and develop perseverance in the process, and boost his confidence (‘See? You did it all by yourself’)
Teach him how to observe
We were given 5 senses to explore the world, and all we need to do is to encourage our child to use them. Point out little details during your everyday routines. ‘Hmm, the soap smells good!’ Or, while reading a book, don’t just speed through the text. ‘How many butterflies do you see?’ or ‘Can you find the turtle hiding in the leaves?’ During your walk, point out the objects (‘A mailbox!’) and ask him to find others along the way.
Teach him mistakes are okay
School can bring out fears of being embarrassed or making mistakes. Teach him that mistakes are part of learning, by acknowledging when you make one of your own. ‘Uh oh, Mom missed the turn! Guess we have to go around and try again.’
And relax when your child has little accidents or mistakes: ‘Oops, the water spilled! Now get a rag, and let’s try to fill the watering can again.’ Answer your child’s questions and don’t laugh at wrong answers or make fun of his ideas.
Encourage him to have a hobby
If a subject or activity intrigues your child, nurture his interest in it. If your child likes music, sign him up for a class. If he thinks dinosaurs are cool, get books and use his interest to teach him more about the earth and other animals.
Photo from carolec