Learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. A supportive home environment is vital to intellectual development. By incorporating learning into day to day activities, children will more likely be successful later on in their lives.
Ask your child a lot of questions. Children should know that parents care about their education. Ask what your child is currently studying in school, what his or her favorite subjects are, and what subjects he or she finds most difficult. Try to come across as being genuine – ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions tend to give off the air that you are going through the motions. Open ended questions are more likely to spark a conversation. Ask for details about your child’s day or school curriculum.
Reading is probably the single most important aspect of developing an inquisitive mind. Create a large and diverse library of learning materials and books, updating it every couple of years as your child ages. Children often learn through observation, so make sure you and other members of the family read a lot as well. Read together at a regular basis, encouraging dialogue that will increase reading comprehension skills.
Television can threaten the learning of a many children. With the plethora of non-educational shows on, your child can spend hours watching shows with no learning value. Fortunately, there are a host of educational programs available on channels such as the Discovery Channel, History Channel, or a local independent broadcasting station. Younger kids might enjoy programs such as Blue’s Clues or Dora the Explorer rather than Rugrats or Rocko’s Modern Life. While some kids can be insistent on watching non-educational programs, it is advisable to limit such viewing to about 30 minutes a day. Support local stations that make a point of providing kid-friendly educational programming in order to make sure such shows will be available in the future. The same idea applies to video games; kids can spend entire days wrapped up in battling visual foes. Let your kids play for about half an hour then encourage more constructive activities. Also be sure to check out some video games that cater to positive learning.
Strong critical thinking skills are imperative to success. Develop them by provoking stimulating conversation during meal times about current world events, politics, and high art. Broaden family events outside the scope of day to day living by applying them to literary plot lines or a compelling news story. Begin to ask your child his or her opinion about certain books or a current political happening. It is important that your child develop his or her own value system. Do not discredit opinions if they are not conducive to your own. Building a strong familial foundation based on different tastes and values is both possible and thought-provoking. Children who grow up with open-minded parents are more likely to be open-minded to their peers.
Lastly, while playing with your child incorporate some strategic games. Many different games can strengthen problem solving skills and hand-eye coordination. Educational video games improve reflexes. The Settlers of Catan and Risk are not only fun, but encourage your child to solve problems.