Motivating kids to love anything but their computer games these days can be really tricky. And, don’t I know it. But, my dear parents out there, it’s also completely possible. Opening the doors of possibilities for your little ones is a truly incredible journey that lets you fall in love with life and the world around you and that lets your kids to find their own interests and put their little minds to work. The process is never-ending, sometimes tiresome and wonderful all the time.
Keep in mind that no force or strictness will work if your goal is to motivate children to love learning. It has to be their choice. But, it’s up to you to provide them with the choices and put them in a situation where whatever they choose will make a significant impact on their perception of the world and the actual concept of learning. In the end, if you make your kids sit down and learn new words or solve mathematical problems, the approach may work for some time. It’s not like they won’t learn in the simplest sense of the word. However, if they feel like the time they spend learning is boring and difficult, and even a sort of punishment, they’ll soon show a thorough dislike towards it. They may even develop anxiety.
So, what approach is the right one? Well, I can’t really tell you that because every child is different just like every parent is different. It’s important to listen to your kids and it’s even more important to observe them: the way they behave, the things they like, the things they dislike, and so on. In the end, it’s your kids that will show you the best approach you should take with them if you wish to boost their motivation and love of learning. What I can tell you though, is that turning everything into a game, into a fun experience, will definitely fare better than forcing your kids to stop playing and pick up a book instead.
Of course, your approach should change as your kids age, but your motivation game should really begin when they’re still very little. They truly are little wonders, the kids, and they can even surprise you with their logic and creativity from early childhood.
A great way to start this whole amazing process is to let them play outside and discover the nature. Take walks with them and tell them stories about the plants, animals, rivers and space. You may even get to learn more yourself. I know I did, I had to learn about the plants we have in our yard, in the park near our home, the birds we often see in the trees and so much more, so I could share it with my children.
Tell them these wonderful stories when you’re outside and even share them with the kids before bed time. My little ones really loved hearing about the universe before they got to bed. It may seem simple enough, but the stories you choose to tell when they’re still little will make a huge impact on the way their interests develop, trust me.
In time, your kids may find the change of seasons to be the most fascinating, or the way the river and wind move, or the way Earth goes around the Sun. Listen to what they find so amazing and act accordingly. Giving them an herbarium, a science kit, a picture book with plants/animals/planets and stars, and so on, will make a logical next step for your little wonders who wish to know more about what interests them. Don’t miss the opportunity to open these doors for them.
As time goes by, your kids will be old enough to want more. This is when you should really talk to them. Ask them what they’d like to do and how they’d like to follow through on their interests. One of my kids was interested in learning more about the language so I hired an English tutor to help them. Another really wanted more insight into the sciency bits of our world, and science camp seemed like a great idea. Essentially, you take what they want from learning and give them back even more than what they’ve asked for. You give them back more room to have fun with what they want to know.
Don’t make the mistake of banning them the right to discover technology, though. This is very important. After all, we live in a digital age and it’s impossible to get your kids away from it. Still, you can control it and make it fun at the same time.
The games they play and the shows they watch can all be educational. For starters, there are tons of fun point-and-click games where players need to find stuff which fosters the child’s perception ability as well as helps them learn new words. There are games that require players to use their minds and memory, solve puzzles and express their creativity through a virtual reality. Obviously, as a parent, I had to manage their time in front of a TV, computer and phone, but since they get the freedom to explore every bit of what this world has to offer them, kids will learn how to balance their activities and find joy in everything they do.
Just because they’re children, they are not stupid. They know how to read you and sense what you’re feeling. So, treat them and talk to them like they’re little people, which they are. I had to adjust my language a bit, but you’d be surprised at what kids can understand when you put just a little bit of effort into this. After all, everyone likes to feel respected and acknowledged, and that feeling starts from early childhood, just like the motivation to expand their knowledge.