Encourage Kids' Curiosity and Learning

Tuesday, July 08 at 01:10 PM
Category: Arvest News

Now that back-to-school days are getting closer and closer, it’s a good time to remember the following ways you can encourage your child to work hard and be a curious and active learner:

  • Praise and celebrate your child's efforts and accomplishments. Focus on how much he wanted to do a good job and how hard he worked. Praise your child for trying hard and sticking with it. The effort is even more important than the final grade. Praise and celebrate every child in your family all year long — not just when report cards come home. Display your child's papers and artwork on the refrigerator.
  • Read to your child regularly and encourage your child to read. Children are never too young for you to read aloud to them, and they’re never too old to listen to you. The more your child reads, the better prepared she will be to handle harder and harder schoolwork as she progresses from grade to grade.
  • Be interested in all the questions that your child asks. Try to answer or talk about those questions, even if you feel busy or tired. Whenever you can, take the time to help your child find the answers to questions — by looking in books, by asking an "expert," by doing whatever it takes.
  • Take trips to the public library. Make friends with the librarians. Ask the librarian to help you find the best and most interesting books for your child.
  • Plan family outings to museums, zoos, parks and historical places. Going somewhere interesting doesn't have to cost a lot of money. A trip to an interesting place gives adults and kids of different ages a lot to talk about, read about and share with others. Do projects around the house together. Carpentry, cooking, sewing, gardening, fixing things, painting, and arts and crafts all offer opportunities to learn. Your child gets to use her own ideas and learn new skills. "I made it!" and "I fixed it!" are exciting statements for a child to make.
  • Limit the amount of TV your child watches. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents limit their children's TV viewing to one to two hours of quality programming a day. The AAP also recommends families take advantage of interesting programs offered on video. Many public libraries allow you to borrow excellent videos for free.
  • Be curious and show an interest in learning. If you don't know how to spell a word, let your child see you look it up in the dictionary. If you always have wanted to learn how to play the guitar or piano, start taking lessons when your child begins music lessons.
  • Talk with your children about news events, politics and topics they may be studying at school. Encourage your child to voice his opinions. Children who participate in mealtime or family conversations with parents are more likely to be successful talking with teachers and other adults.
  • Encourage your child to make handmade gifts and cards. Your child might write poems to thank your relatives for presents, or to wish them a happy birthday. Drawings are good gifts, too. Grandparents will enjoy receiving a handmade gift from their grandchild.
  • Involve your child in family decisions. Let your child help plan meals for the week. Talk about the travel time and the cost of tickets for an upcoming visit to see relatives. Help your child use her ideas and math skills to help with household tasks. She can write lists and check off jobs when they are done.
  • Have high expectations for your child. Everyone can be successful in school. Give that message to your child again and again. Say, "I know that studying for that history test is hard work. I know you can do it!" Explain that when the work is hard, you have to try hard.
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