"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn" – Benjamin Franklin.
The adage probably describes a child's learning behaviour better than anything. Children learn best through what they experience around them-what they see, touch, feel and understand. It is this kind of learning that tickles their curiosity. When they are involved in the process of learning, it makes them wonder about 'how things work' and 'what happens next'. Isn't that what every parent wants? We're sure it is! So, in order to help you ignite this very joy of learning within your child, we've dug up some tips that could help you along the way. And who knows, you might learn a thing or two along the way as well!
Share your passions: Children spend the first few years of their lives imitating their parents. Your child is imbibing your way of talking, the way you handle situations and even your interests. So, if you want your child to enjoy reading, a good first step would be to ensure you're doing plenty of it yourself around them. More often than not, your child will emulate your behaviour.
Enhance exposure: The best way to encourage your child's innate sense of curiosity is by exposing her to a variety of new experiences. Visiting museums, art galleries, plays or even going to a live sport are some of the experiences that will enhance your child's knowledge while she has fun.
Board game time: Games like Monopoly and Scrabble are another way to introduce learning in a fun way. Even games like chess and checkers can help your child build their analytical side while spending fun quality time with you.
Free play: One can't say enough about the value of free playtime and how important it is to build a child's imagination, creativity as well as problem-solving ability. In fact, a 2009 study by Boston College shows that free play can have a significant impact on the social and cognitive development; it enhances problem-solving skills, imagination and the ability to self-regulate. So let your child build those strange block buildings and carry on with the tea parties!
Reading time: Set aside dedicated reading time for your child each day, as this is one of the most important steps on her learning journey. Children develop their imagination, vocabulary and even the ability to express themselves through reading in the early years. It is also a great way for parents to understand what interests their children and provide stimuli that encourages their passions.
Identify their natural interest: A University of Chicago study of exceptionally high-achieving athletes and artists found that the one thing they all have in common is that all of their parents recognised their area of interest early on in life and encouraged these interests at a very early age. So, if your child asks you about the solar system every day, feed that interest and provide as much knowledge as you can. For all you know, you might be raising a future astronomer!
Just taking a little time every day to share something interesting and new with your child is all it takes to build their curiosity. So, don't just invest in competitive classes to improve her grades, when learning is fun, it never ends.