Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Love Of Learning

         What Does It Take To Love To Learn?

Being a truly successful parent means instilling the love of learning into your child. That's it! Once they have it, they'll have it forever. You don't lose the love of learning once you have it.

This two minute video, Confidence in self and baby, has gone viral and for good reason. Please watch.

Also, Confidence in self and baby makes a simple but profound point. It is not about the overuse of technology. It is about a parent having enough self-confidence to do the right thing for his child.

i love school. artists unite
My parents let me be an artist on the sidewalk with colored chalk when I was two!

The love of learning is a human trait that we are all born with. If people do not have an instinctual curiosity it is because it has been taken away from them at a young age. Many individuals are robbed of this 'key to life' because the major influencers in their life don't have it and/or don't know how to allow it to become a permanent part of their young ones persona. 

Okay, yes. There are well intentioned parents who may be able to improve their skills in bringing out the full potential of their children.

Here are some basics to instill the love of learning in your child:
  • Encourage exploration and discovery - let your baby crawl around and get into everything! Simply safety proof the room and let 'em go fully charged. Also, let them manipulate objects for long periods of time... there is no rush to a babies trials and tribulations... they are building blocks to love of life and learning.
  • Positive reinforcement of curiosity - avoid the urge to stifle their mindset of intrigue. If allowed to search to their hearts content, they will build self-confidence and the power of experimentation... the spark of a genius mind!
  • Time to think - reflection - Children need plenty of down time to absorb their activities and observations. If they show a need to just sit and rest, let them be. It's almost as true a proverb as,  "don't wake a sleeping baby"... almost.
  • Reading with inflection and introspection - Reading books to a baby, toddler, infant is as important as all the experts tout. The factor that makes reading even more valuable is when the adult makes the concerted effort to speak in dramatic tones of inflection and variability. And if the child asks questions, it is a prime opportunity to open up a discussion of the dynamic within the story line. This builds empathy and emotional connectedness to others and you. 

early childhood eduction and development
Will the ending be different tonight!?

  • Time for unstructured play - Children do not need to be directed much of the time. It is difficult for many parents to hold back and let a child play in their own way and at their own pace. Allowing a child to play, either by themselves or with playmates, encourages imagination and conflict resolution in the most unexpected & interesting ways. It actually gives you a break to catch up on the newspaper while you keep an eye on your little scientist toiling away.

  • Allowing experimentation - Again, this builds on the theme of not interfering with a child's natural desire to take in the world around them as they test parameters. It is important to let the child 'fail' at simple tasks and efforts when very young. There is no better lesson in a toddlers 'misfits' than to spend an hour filling a bucket with the treasures of the garden, only to spill the contents struggling up the porch stairs, and having to carefully put all the 'treasures' back again

outdoor play, early childhood education and development
Of course, slides are meant to be climbed!

  • Encouraging wonderment and awe - having discussions about nature/wildlife/science/everything with your child. Never talk down to a child about the real world we live in. Briefly, explain the truth. They may not fully understand what shining stars are, but the fact that you let your child up past 'bedtime' to see real twinkling diamonds in the evening sky is a moment of parent/child togetherness that will stand the inspiration of time!

  • Displaying the "Just try it" attitude - Loving life means modeling the proper perspective about the willingness to try new things. And to a young child, everything is new! A parents positive encouragement to give all things a go spills into the child's malleable psyche, giving them a zest for daily living.
playing with child
My tummy is smiling so much!

  • More of a care-free approach to life - Don't take yourself too seriously. Live in the moment with your children. Children appreciate a parent's willingness to get down on their level and roll with life. I've seen many adults acting too solemn for no reason except that they are not able to 'let go' of their personal responsibilities for a while. Children know when you are fully engaged with them... it is priceless. 
  • Embracing silliness and a humorous perspective in day-to-day activities - This follows up on the last one because, I believe, it is a key to getting your children to open up with you in an honest and personal manner, that many adults never achieve. This closeness transcends itself into a child being able to follow his/her dreams and passions for life with an honest gusto that might not be possible before. 
  • Always looking at the bright side of life - (with kudos to Monty Python) displaying a positive mindset is a miracle of an atmosphere for a child to grow up in. It embellishes the 'you can be anything' philosophy. Dump any negative or critical atmosphere in your daily living, and let the child in you and your loved ones blossom!
  • Developing a personality of happiness - Okay, now I'm being redundant. Ouch! But, when you see a child's eyes widen with enchantment, whether it be a fairytale read to them, a hydrogen peroxide volcano experiment bubbling, or a kite flying up up higher and higher into the wind, then the happiness of life is upon you.

What are some of your secrets to developing the love of learning? Please let me know!

Cheers, Papa Green Bean