It starts with a question so many parents of toddlers ask themselves: “How do I inspire my kid to love learning?” And that may be quickly proceeded with a slew of follow-up questions. “How do I make learning fun? How do I get my little one excited about exploring, asking questions, or even just writing their own name?”
Certainly, reading books to them—and with them, encouraging them to read along with you—is one way to inspire a love for learning, but this is probably not enough. You want to prepare your child for a lifetime of learning, and you especially want to prepare them for the next 13 to 16 or more years of schooling and the not-always-so-predictable nature of a classroom setting.
Regardless of what kind of teacher they may have or the degree of their interest in or aptitude for a subject, if your child has a passion for learning, perhaps those external factors will not matter so much! A love for learning will translate into an educational career replete with genuine interest in schoolwork and higher academic engagement.
Inspiring a love, a passion for learning—especially for toddlers, who are at such a malleable age—can really only take place if we make sure that learning is pleasurable! Now is the time to return pleasure to learning. And doing so with a toddler is the most ideal because they are not yet being subjected to the potentially-exhausting 5-day-a-week, 7-hour-a-day rigors of a school environment.
Pleasure in learning means exposing your toddler to things they enjoy, allowing them to get caught up in what they’re doing. A person will weather the challenges of a task if they enjoy working on that task for the sheer enjoyment of it. This is exactly what fostering pleasure and joy in learning is about, and it will only inspire your child to want to keep learning more.
As toddlers develop, so does their sense of independence and curiosity about the world. Fostering and supporting a desire to see the world and experience it for themselves is absolutely essential to inspiring a love for learning in toddlers. Learning is all they’ll be doing with their newfound freedom in speech and mobility! Supporting your toddler to inspire a love for learning can take place in a variety of ways.
LET’S GET MOVING!
Moving around, throwing or kicking a ball, running, climbing—these are all examples of physical activity that, when fostered and supported, encourage a child to continue exploring, ever developing their sense of curiosity about the world. Physical activity in toddlers translates to learning by playing, so it’s important to support habits in physical activity.
Toddlers will learn much about their world through touching, feeling, smelling, tasting, hearing, and playing is their version of work in mastering skills. The more we provide space for them to move and explore, the better we support their opportunities to engage in their version of learning. They will want to keep exploring and learning if you say, “Yes!”
LET THEM ASK QUESTIONS!
Toddlers are already natural learners because they’re so curious about the world. That’s why they keep asking you “Why?” over and over again! As frustrating as this may become—and we know, it can be—if you want to inspire a love for learning in your little ones, you need to keep answering those questions!
Learning is accomplished by asking questions out of an unfettered curiosity about how the world works. If you ask your toddler to stop asking so many questions or if you simply don’t answer, you stop that desire to learn dead in its tracks.
Answering their questions—even if one at a time, one right after the other—demonstrates support for their curiosity, fostering their passion for learning. If you don’t know an answer to a question, try asking them what they think! This provides another great opportunity to foster their curiosity and encourage them to try learning through critical thinking and problem solving on their own.
Children are motivated by different things. A toddler may be initially and inherently motivated by something that just naturally interests them. Teaching them to love learning in any situation, under any circumstances, however, can be a challenge.
This can be accomplished in a number of ways:
- Address areas of improvement and fill in knowledge gaps
- Point to progress: encourage by praising what they’ve done well!
- Maintain expectations reasonable for their age
- Acknowledge their feelings, whether positive or negative
- Encourage them to problem solve!
Inspiring a child to love learning isn’t going to happen overnight, and it’s certainly not going to happen without plenty of active learning opportunities through reading, moving, and developing skills sets!
That’s why we offer a Daily Learning Program and Live Online Classes. These programs offer your child a chance to exercise their curiosity, explore the world by asking lots of questions (and getting answers!), and get their bodies moving so that they can explore and play! These classes will help foster your child’s love for learning, setting them up for success in the classroom and beyond.