We try to teach our toddlers many things now in the hopes that it will stick with them when they are older. Not all of those lessons will carry through but teaching them to love learning is one that can.
This is because the positive or negative thoughts surrounding learning are often derived from an emotional connection to the concept. If your child grows up hearing negative language in reference to reading, writing and learning new things – that emotion will stick with them as they get to school age.
However, if they grow up associating learning to be beneficial, exciting and an accomplishment, they will approach their academic lives with enthusiasm.
Make it exciting
As a toddler, learning should not be seen as a chore. For you or your child. If they see that the learning activity is one you are forced to do and don’t enjoy, they will mimic that. So when you are reading them a bedtime story, building a puzzle or lego, helping them draw a picture – do it with the same enthusiasm you would like them to tackle school work in a few years’ time.
Answer all the questions
Your toddler will probably hit a stage where they follow you around talking non-stop. It is easy to drown this out (no judgement here) and give a noncommittal nod of the head every now and then. This is the part of your child’s development process that gets them thinking in a critical and exploratory manner. Don’t just encourage it, but engage with it too. Try and really listen to what they are babbling about, give them answers they can understand and ask them questions that will make them think about it even further. It is moments like these where a child’s brain will start getting used to thinking outside of the box.
Use games and toys
Helping your toddler associate learning new concepts while doing something fun will change their way of thinking as they get older. If you want to help them learn new things or develop new skills, try to do it in a way that makes them feel like it is a game rather than just a learning moment.
Whether they become an A grade student or not, the love of learning has more to do with their attitude and effort than the results on their report cards. Remember that learning doesn’t just happen at school but also in everyday moments. We need to try to make sure our children are open to receive those teachable life lessons.
Toptots Early Learning SA