Children learn from everything they see, hear and do. Children who no longer seem to enjoy learning, either at home or in school, may need a little extra help, a new perspective or a good example, depending upon how and why they lost their natural love of learning.
Children lose their love of learning for many reasons. Most common causes are feeling constantly overwhelmed or criticized. Parents and teachers who tend to be perfectionists can damage a child’s natural curiosity. If a child is in a class that is too difficult for them, a different class may be all that is needed to reignite their love of learning.
These tips can help parents and teachers inspire a child to explore subjects, topics and skills with the natural joy that comes from lifelong learning:
Identify the child’s learning style
Visual learners are very comfortable in a classroom setting, auditory learners can get much from a lecture or discussion, but kinetic learners need to get their hands on something to learn about it. Identifying the child’s learning style can help parents and teachers present learning opportunities in ways that will suit the child’s natural tendencies.
Teach with what they love
All children have subjects or activities they love. Adults can use those interests to introduce and explore other subjects. If a child is having fun, they are far more likely to stick with a subject long enough to learn from it. If the child feels bored or overwhelmed, they are more likely to withdraw and miss out.
Make it a game!
Children love to play. Many skills and subjects can be taught through games. Rather than using tedious, rote memorization of the multiplication tables, use building blocks, art or music to help the child enjoy learning a new skill.
Children crave the approval of parents and teachers. When the adults in a child’s life are encouraging, supportive and positive about learning, the child will enjoy the process more than if they must constantly worry about disapproval and criticism.
Set a good example
When children see parents enjoying the learning process, they will take it as a cue about how to view their own learning. Families can demonstrate a love of learning through reading, crossword puzzles, attending museums, and discussing the things they are learning about with each other.
Provide help/challenges when needed
If a child feels they cannot learn something, it means they need help. Skilled tutors can transform an impenetrable wall of algebra homework into a game of seeking solutions. Talented and gifted students often lose their love of learning through sheer boredom. If your child is neglecting their studies through apathy, challenge them with Space Camp, an online college course, or a class at the local community center. Reigniting their love of learning through these activities will spread out into other areas of their life.
Help your child enjoy learning by making it more fun, by tying it to topics that already interest them and by providing encouraging support and a good example. Before you know it, your child will be immersed in the joy of learning for its own sake.