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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Harnessing your child’s inquisitive nature is easier than you think. With the right school supplies and books you can teach them to love learning. What’s more, by involving your child’s interests in their learning and exposing them to different experiences, you can take learning to a whole new level. Chances are the kids won’t even know they are learning!

What interests your child
The best way to foster a child’s passion for learning is by involving something they have a passion for. This can be anything from their hobbies and pastimes to sport and other interests. For example, if your son loves Australian Rules football then it can be a great way to learn the six times table. If his favourite team has kicked 10 goals, get him to tell you how many points this adds up to. It can be as simple as that.

Exposing your children to different experiences as well can also be a form of teaching – involving them in your interests is an easy way to do this.

Be positive and encouraging
Children respond far better to praise than criticism. Make sure you pick your words carefully when commenting on their learning because you want your message to come across as a positive rather than a negative.

A great way to make your child feel they have achieved while still making them aware that they can do even better is what is termed as “positive reinforcement”. It goes along the lines of you saying: “What I really liked was….” And then follow it up with: “What I think you could do better…”.

It is also important to not push your child when it comes to learning. Hounding a child about their efforts or learning habits and abilities will quickly turn them off learning altogether, so remember to take a backward step and give them some space.

Keep it fun
Putting a school textbook in front of a child and expecting them to just learn from it is the wrong path to take. Learning needs to be fun and adventurous. So turn their learning experience into something enjoyable. Often playing a simple game such as cards constitutes learning. Colouring-in even teaches young children skills and is fun at the same time.

Most of the time kids won’t see a fun activity as something they are actually learning from. Most educators will tell you that this is one of the best types of learning.

Read – and read lots
Reading is undoubtedly one of the greatest teaching tools. Not only does it improve their reading but it can teach them how to spell, about any subject imaginable and it can be done anywhere and any time.

It is important for parents to read to their child regularly and to have their child to read to them. About 20 minutes a day is enough reading for most kids – if they want to read more then that’s even better. They don’t have to read a book either – a cereal packet, an article in the newspaper, anything that interests is good.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to stimulate learning.

Image courtesy of inkknife_2000 via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.