Child Who Loves to Learn
Studies attempt to define the word “smart” when it comes to our children.
Researchers use surveys and test results, but as parents, we should not be striving to make our child a “genius.” There is no perfect recipe for a “smart” child, but there are things that you can do as a parent to spark a love of learning in our little ones.
Starting from the beginning
When a child is a baby, their best learning tool is their parent. Experts say talking
to your baby, playing with your baby, paying attention to what interests your baby, and using those interests to foster curiosity lays the groundwork for what ultimately stimulates your baby’s brain to grow and develop.1
Dr. Howard Gardner says there are seven different kinds of intelligence important in human functioning, all of which children need to develop:2
- Verbal Intelligence
- Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence
- Logical/Mathematical Intelligence
- Musical Intelligence
- Interpersonal Intelligence
- Intrapersonal Intelligence
- Visual/Spatial Intelligence
Building a love of learning
Putting a child in school will not guarantee a love of learning. At a young age, there are numerous things a parent can do that will make a child want to learn.
- Have hobbies: Allow your child to choose something they enjoy to do as their hobby. This may be playing a sport, which will provide a hobby as well as physical exercise, or playing a musical instrument. Musical instruments will have an additional benefit to the child: Children who learn to play the piano or stringed instrument tend to score 15 percent higher on verbal skills than children who don’t play an instrument.3
- Read books: A child raised in a home with at least 500 books is 36 percent more likely to graduate from high school and 19 percent more likely to graduate from college than a child raised in a home containing few or no books. Create a reading room for your child to use when they want to spend some quality time with a story. But they don’t always have to do it alone. Read together! “Children learn more from what we do than from what we say. Parents who love to read demonstrate to their children that reading is interesting, enjoyable, and worthwhile,” says psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore.
- Have conversations: Asking your child open-ended questions will allow them to reflect and develop an opinion. Don’t be afraid to use “big” words. If your child doesn’t understand at first, it will give you the opportunity to explain.4 Open-ended questions can also be teachable moments, such as “how do you think a car works?” This will encourage a child to make observations and use their imagination.
- Praise good results: When you make a child feel good about something they’ve done right, they tend to be more motivated in school than children who are merely told they are smart.5 But make sure you’re not praising in a way that could be misconstrued as bribing or that doing something right is a competition.
- Encourage curiosity: Expose your children to different foods, travel, museums and more. This will spark a curiosity in your child at a young age that will last them their whole life. They will continuously want to explore, thus causing them to never stop learning. While travel can be expensive, the internet is free and there are numerous, fun resources that bring different countries to the comfort of your own home.
It is important for children to have a healthy attitude about learning and a curiosity for exploration. Also, it doesn’t take a genius to raise a child who loves to learn. It takes a parent who loves their child.
- 1 http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/infant-development-9/brain-development?page=2
- 2 http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/raise-great-kids/intellegent-creative-child/loves-learn
- 3 http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/evidence-music-lessons-boost-kids-emotional-intellectual-development-70862/
- 4 http://www.parenting.com/node/518977/atom/feed?page=0,2
- 5 http://www.parenting.com/node/518977/atom/feed?page=0,3