This post is in partnership with Sylvan Learning, all opinions are my own.
As parents we all want to raise kids who love learning. But sometimes it can feel hard to compete with all the digital distractions our kids experience these days. So we’ve come up with some ideas and inspiration to help you get your kids learning and loving it!
Here are 7 tips for raising kids who love learning:
- Make regular family visits to the library where you all sign out books.
How often do you take your kids to the library?
How often do you have the WHOLE family go to the library together and have EVERYONE check out books?
I have to admit, I tend to forget about myself at the library and focus entirely on helping my kids pick out books.
Since I’m so busy working and looking after my kids, I don’t often take time to sit down and enjoy a book. But I know that’s a mistake. Kids are great imitators… they need to see you reading!
Will you join me on this challenge? Whenever you go to the library with your kids, pick out a couple books for yourself and let your kids see you reading.
- Play games that challenge the mind.
I often hear parents make jokes and complain about how boring it is playing kids’ board games. And I get it… playing Chutes and Ladders over and over and over again can be tough on any parent.
But as your kids get older, you can start playing games that challenge their minds and yours. Games such as Scrabble are perfect for challenging each person at their own level.
Some other ideas are Backgammon, Trivial Pursuit, Yahtzee and our family favorite Othello.
And of course, you can use a deck of cards for endless hours of challenging play.
- Read aloud as a family.
My absolute favorite way to spend time with my girls is reading to them.
I’ll admit, both my girls have been reluctant readers and it’s been difficult to get them excited about picking up a book and reading. But together we are able to get lost in all sorts of stories.
Often we will take turns reading aloud… or if it’s a more challenging book, I’ll just read the entire story aloud.
Reading together is the best way to start discussions about even the most sensitive subjects.
- Watch age-appropriate documentaries together.
Not all screen time is bad. I’m a big believer in making good use of television. Watching age-appropriate documentaries is a fantastic way to get your kids learning about the world around them and developing empathy for others in different circumstances.
There are so many great ways to find and watch informative videos and television.
You can use Netflix, YouTube, Cable channels, etc. There are even some TED talks that are great for kids.
Let your kids get involved with finding and picking out shows to watch together.
A great way to get started with this activity might be first asking them what YouTube videos they most like to watch. If you first show an interest in what they’re watching, they may be more responsive to watching other videos with you.
- Ask specific questions about what your child is learning at school and dive deeper into the topics.
It can sometimes be hard to get your kids talking about what happens at school. Some kids (mine included) often reply with one word answers.
The key is to be as specific as possible with your questions. And if you still can’t get your child talking about what they’re learning at school, spend some extra time helping them with their homework or email the teacher or schedule a meeting with their teacher to discuss the lesson plans.
You may be able to add some extra fun activities. For instance, if they are learning about bridges, you could spend time together making some model bridges or bring them to Sylvan Learning to try one of their engineering courses to build their own bridge.
- 6. Support and extend their education with classes that make learning fun such as Sylvan EDGE.
You don’t have to put all the pressure on yourself to make learning fun.
Let your kids have fun learning with friends their own age in a Sylvan EDGE course.
Sylvan Learning has developed Sylvan EDGE — an innovative STEM education program, offering accelerated after-school and summer camp programs that give children an edge for the future.
Kids can have a blast learning advanced concepts such as Robotics, Coding, Engineering, and Math, all while having fun in a small group setting.
Last summer, our girls tried out the Robotics 101 course where they got to build their own motion-capable robot using LEGOs. They loved it!
Summer is an awesome time to get your kids involved at Sylvan through their summer programs.
- Teach your children about different cultures.
You don’t have to be able to pay for a trip around the world to teach your kids about different cultures.
Learn about the world together. Let your children take the lead and pick out various countries that you can research together.
For each country, find out what foods they eat and make recipes from the region.
Our girls had fun learning about the history behind this traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe.
Look on Google maps to see where the country is located and zoom in as much as possible. Talk about what language is spoken in the area and try to find some audio clips or videos in that language. Even if they speak English in the country you’re researching, you can talk about accents and find audio clips of the regional accent. You can also try to find age-appropriate films about the country.
This is a wonderful way to show your kids how incredibly useful the Internet can be in bringing together the world.
We hope these ideas help you on your journey of raising kids who love learning.
If you have suggestions of your own, we would love to hear them. Please leave us a comment below.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored, so extra thanks for reading and sharing.
Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom
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