How to build the joy of learning among children

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How to build the joy of learning among children

As a primary role model, parents have the power to instill learning habits in young ones

By Ruhie Jamshaid

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Published: Fri 29 Apr 2016, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 29 Apr 2016, 8:06 PM

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the love of learning. When a child enjoys the process of learning, he becomes a life-long learner. His intellect is harnessed, and cognitive and thinking skills are developed, which will eventually lead him to the path of success. But as a parent, how can you contribute to building this thirst for learning in your child?

Positive reinforcement

It is extremely important to stop ourselves from 'negative labelling'. When negative comments are hurled at a child repeatedly, he begins to believe it. Instead of saying, "You are so naughty", direct your comments to the specific action. For example, you can say, "It would be wonderful if we could read that book together" or "I know you can complete your homework in 15 minutes because you are so smart". When a child receives positive reinforcements, his self-esteem increases and he seeks to want to do things positively.

Building grit

Grit, or tenacity, is a very important personality trait that needs to be developed in a child if he or she is to enjoy and progress on the journey of learning. To make learning joyous for the child, he must not feel unfazed by obstacles and obstructions. If he meets challenges along the way, he must want to continue for the sheer love of learning.
Parents can help develop grit in a child by providing challenges for the child, instead of helping avoid difficulties. For instance, let the child participate in spelling or reading contest, letting him know that it is perfectly alright to fail, but the important thing is to try one's best.

Letting them learn their way

One of the most important points we need to remember is that we are different from our children. The way we learn may not be the way they learn. We need to be aware of and accept this difference in our intelligence or learning styles.
Harvard University's Psychologist, Howard Gardner proposed the Multiple Intelligence theory in 1983, which states that each individual has eight different intelligences such as logical-mathematical, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical and naturalistic.
The theory is a proponent of different ways of learning and strongly encourages that we avoid putting children in categories of being more intelligent or less intelligent based on conventions, and instead respect the way a child wishes to learn. When we let our children learn according to what interests them, they will enjoy the process of learning.

Leading by example

We as parents are the first role models for our kids. Research has shown that the environment is extremely important in inculcating the love of learning in a child. When your child sees you reading and sharing pieces of knowledge with them, or observes your excitement when watching documentaries or discovering something new, they will inevitably absorb these positive 'vibrations' towards learning. Also, it is a good idea to plan for interesting excursions. Ask the kids questions about what they saw or learnt. Encouraging your children to talk and share their knowledge will create a bustling environment for a positive attitude towards learning.
Making the conscious decision to encourage the learning journey of your child is the first step forward.
Ruhie Jamshaid (M.Ed.) is the Principal and Education Consultant at First Steps Nursery Montessori, Jumeirah.

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