- Teach that there is more to life than school
- Do activities together to show you’re interested in learning about the world (like reading books and watching documentaries together)
- Help them find their passion
- Use multiple resources to find information (try offline tools!)
- Ask and answer (and encourage) lots of questions
As parents, we are all dedicated to raising our children in a way that will help them reach their full potential in life. And there is no better way to prepare them for the life ahead but to stimulate a “lifelong learner” mindset from an early age.
Learning is a natural instinct for humans. From the moment we are born, we observe and experiment in our eagerness to learn new things. We try to learn about the use of language, facial expressions, developing our motor skills, and more. It all comes from our natural curiosity. But somehow we tend to suppress this curiosity over the years, depriving ourselves from making the most out of our abilities.
The importance of raising a lifelong learner
Raising your child as a lifelong learner has numerous benefits. As you are reading this, I believe you are already aware of it. But let me point out the most essential benefits. My point is to annul any possible doubt that you need to put time and effort into teaching your child to love learning.
In the process of seeking knowledge, successful people learn one very important thing – to keep their minds open. Being open to new opinions and perspectives helps people fully develop their abilities. This will help your child find quicker and better solutions in life. It will help your child adapt to changes and make the most out of them.
Lifelong learners are curious. Trying to learn more and more as time passes, they find meaning in all the new information they absorb, connecting it to already acquired knowledge. This naturally makes learners wise and active contributors to the growth of society. Their drive to learn and do more with time enriches their lives with many different experiences. These people are the ones that are most likely to make the world a better place.
How to grow your child to be a lifelong learner?
The structured learning that traditional education brings is very important. However, you need to teach your children that learning in life goes way beyond the obligatory subjects at school. You need to motivate them to develop a “lifelong learner” mindset in order to reach the top of their personal and professional life in the future. Let’s look at how you should play your parenting role so that you raise a lifelong learner.
1. Practice what you preach
Children don’t always listen to what you say, but they definitely look at what you do. Therefore, it’s important to incorporate the eagerness for learning into your family values. Read together, watch documentaries and solve problems together.
Let your lifestyle stress out the importance of gaining knowledge and new information. Constantly look for opportunities for the entire family to learn new things. Go to museums, concerts, art galleries, and workshops. Seek out new experiences and adventures that will teach your children to keep an open mind.
2. Help them discover their passion
The learning process starts by being passionate about something. You cannot make a lifelong learner out of your child if there’s no particular subject that is interesting to observe. And you have to help your children discover their passion. If you give your kids the power to direct the learning process, they will be inspired to become lifelong learners.
Take your children to new places and encourage them to try new experiences. It will help them learn new things and realize what grabs their attention the most. What is more important – the moment they do discover their passion, you need to encourage them to learn more about it.
3. Teach them to connect new information to the real world
If you are trying to teach your children about something they don’t seem very interested in, relate it to everyday life. Regardless if there’s a skill or a concept you believe is important for them to know, give them practical examples. If you give context to the new information, your children will understand the importance of learning.
Demonstrate that education is not only what they learn at school or at kindergarten. Give examples. Talk about the things you have discovered recently and how you are applying them to your life. The point is to show your children that learning something new every day will make their lives easier.
4. Encourage questions
Children learn new things mostly through asking questions. The more questions your children ask, the more engaged they are in the subject of learning. Encouraging questions, you will help them keep their minds active and expand their knowledge. This doesn’t mean you must have answers to all their questions. On the contrary – show your children you don’t know everything, but you are ready and willing to learn.
Communicate your curiosity by wondering out loud, even for things your children didn’t ask about. Do research together and show them how to find the answers they seek. Or even better, ask them what they think. Questions always generate a discussion, and discussion leads to a richer overall understanding.
5. Promote creativity and problem-solving
Oftentimes, parents try to teach their children by giving them step-by-step directions. While it may seem like a good idea, the truth is that it doesn’t help in the learning process. You need to constantly challenge their minds, by giving them choices instead of directions.
Encourage your children to be creative. State an issue and talk about all the possible solutions. Teach them to use their imagination and think outside the box. This will make learning fun. The more fun you include in the learning process, the more your child will grow to like it.
6. Let them learn through failure
If you let your children solve problems on their own, they will probably fail. As parents, we tend to try to protect our children from the disappointments failure brings. But they will fail sooner or later, and there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do is motivate them to learn from failures and be persistent in their endeavors.
Inspire your children to seek new solutions after they fail. Give them a nudge to point them to the right direction, but don’t solve the problems for them. Show care and encouragement, and let them come to solutions on their own. Don’t hesitate to share your failures with your children. Teach them it’s okay to fail as long as they learn to make different choices instead of just giving up.
7. Teach them why it’s important to be a lifelong learner
Learning is a lifelong process and your children need to know it. Read and talk about successful and smart people from the past. Show your children that knowledge and skills are what differentiates thought leaders from average people. Help your children develop love for learning.
The KinderIQ free Kindergarten Readiness Test features dozens of online questions to help you assess your child’s readiness for school and allows you to compare your responses to thousand of other parents so you know where to focus future learning activities.