“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” – BB King
Studies have shown that a child’s brain develops rapidly during the first five years of life. During this time, new connections are formed as he/she uses the five senses to understand how things work in the world. This will inevitably shape the way he/she thinks, feels, behaves and most importantly, learn, at this moment and in the future.
Children are born with a natural desire to learn and explore the world around them, and as parents, you can lead them in the right direction of lifelong learning. When you foster the love of learning in your children, you are setting them up for a lifetime of happiness and success by giving them a support environment where they can develop their own ideas, take chances, make choices and share opinions.
Here are some simple activities that you can do with your kids to inspire the love for learning in them during the early years:
1. Read to them
Literacy experts affirm that it is never too early to read to your children, so go on and start reading to them when they are babies to kick start their learning journey. Although they may not understand the words that you say in the beginning, hearing your voice stimulates their interest in sounds and helps them develop listening skills. Reading to your child also helps to build vocabulary, stimulates imagination and improves communication skills
By developing a regular reading routine from the start, books will become a natural part of your children’s day – one that they look forward to. As your child grows up, you can encourage him/her to practice reading by themselves so that they will keep getting better at it. By doing this, you would have taken the step to encourage them to learn something new each day.
2. Let them make choices
While you don’t have to give your child free reign to do whatever they want, you can still give them a choice in what they like to pursue. You can start by letting them choose their own books, movies and toys to play with.
Sandra Crosser, Ph.D., Professor of Education at the Ohio Northern University, states that the best way to help children learn to make wise choices is to start early.
When children are given the opportunity to make their own choices, they feel like what they think and feel makes a difference. On the other hand, this also teaches them the value of making wise choices and dealing with the consequences of decisions made – a life skill that will come in handy later on the life.
“If children learn to live with their decisions when they are small, and if they are given opportunities to make choices as they are growing up, then it is more likely that they will be able to make wise decisions when they are older. Practice can improve decision-making ability just as it can improve reading ability,” Crosser affirms.
Taking your children on field trips and providing a good variety of age-appropriate toys serve as a good start to inspire their early learning journey. More on this on the next page…