Learning is a lifelong journey that begins from birth. From learning to crawl, walk, run, talk, and eventually, think for themselves, each stage is a crucial part of their development process.
As parents, nothing is more rewarding than helping your child build independent learning skills that sets him or her on their path for success in navigating the complex world we live in.
#1 Have confidence in your child
Give your child the freedom to explore, learn and to go about things their own way. Every child is different; there is no standard template to learning and neither should there be one.
Let your child know that you believe in and support the things they set out to achieve. Ultimately, this will give them the assurance they need to perform important tasks without you around.
This can apply to helping your child out with his or her homework - if you help your kids with their homework regularly, they may get into the habit of letting you do their work for them.
While it is important to guide children, it is also vital that you let them take the lead as often as possible, so that they develop the motivation to accomplish things on their own, without you having to push them all the time.
#2 Encourage intellectual curiosity
Young kids are naturally curious about everything. Let them ask as many questions as they want and allow them ample opportunities to figure out the answers by themselves.
Curiosity leads to better learning and understanding, while giving them answers or getting them to constantly practice can lead to just knowing. Help them stay motivated to learn by encouraging them to be inquisitive.
Discovering new things should be fun! Make learning an enjoyable activity for your kids and help them grow to become intellectually curious adults.
#3 Have a "learning corner"
Devote an area in your home to creating a good study environment for your children to learn in. Decorated by the kids themselves, the "Learning Corner" should be an exciting and creative space where they are in control; from the way things are arranged, to picking out the toys and stationary they need for their learning journey. Building a fun and comfortable space for them to study will provide them with the much-needed motivation to sit at their desks and continue accomplishing new objectives.
#4 Reward their efforts
We can't run from the fact that we live in a results-driven society. At work, we have to achieve sales targets, KPIs, ROIs etc. However, our child is not a product we are pushing to the world. We need to focus on their individual progress, not their performance compared to everyone else.
Compliment your kids on their work ethic and the amount of hard work they've put in. Praise their efforts and draw their attention to the improvements they have made along the way. This encourages children to do their best and search for new targets on their own, instead of worrying about their grades or amount of time they've spent on their homework, a musical instrument or any activity.
#5 Listen to them
Ask them what they need to facilitate their learning process and how you can help them with it. Perhaps they need more guidance certain topic or perhaps they prefer less.
Don't assume you always know what's best for them. If kids don't feel heard, or if they feel like their opinions are not important, they will lose interest in what they are doing. Encourage them to be honest, and don't judge them if they express thoughts you disagree with. Having an open communication benefits both you and your child.
Armed with the insights from these regular sharing sessions, you can do what's best for them, instead of just thinking you know what's best for them.
#6 Take a step back
Independent learning definitely isn't helicopter parenting. Give your kids the space and opportunity to solve their own problems – be it homework or other aspects of their life. Let them take ownership over their learning journey and help them cultivate the confidence that is essential in building self-motivation and future successes in life. Sometimes, taking a step back can mean your child gets to take two steps forward, on their own.
Being independent sets your child up for future success
Parents can't protect their kids forever. The journey to being independent learners includes fall and failing. While it may be tough for parents to watch their children going through these tough moments, you must understand that these moments are what will ultimately define your children.
Time passes so quickly. As your child gets older, you are getting older too. Therefore, it's important to pause occasionally and ponder #WhatsYourWhy when it comes to experiencing life on your own terms. Don't miss out on significant milestones of your kids' lives just because you were too busy making money. Worse, don't halt your child's individualism just because you thought you were doing what's best for them.
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Parenting is tough, but it's also one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in life. Your children are the most precious things in the world, and no matter how old they are, you'll probably never stop worrying about them. The best thing you can do for them is to equip them with the skills they need to overcome challenges life throws at them, and it starts with a love for learning.