Learning isn’t a destination; it’s a journey. One of the best gifts you can give your child is the gift of knowing how to learn—both a) loving the process and b) understanding that knowledge about any subject is attainable as long as you’re diligent.
Loving to learn
Take advantage of your child’s natural curiosity; this is what can lead to a lifelong love of learning. If your child has a question, see if you can figure out the answer together (rather than immediately Googling it!). Encourage your child’s fascination with the natural world, and their inquisitiveness about people, places, and things.
What are your own hobbies and interests? Include your child in them, either by talking about it together or participating in it with them.
Surround your child with a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. You never know when a particular topic will pique their interest.
Researchers Edward Deci and Richard Ryan have identified three factors that influence intrinsic motivation. They are competence, autonomy, and connection.
To help your child develop competence, emphasize effort over outcome, and encourage any progress they make. To give your child more autonomy, offer choices in the learning process, and allow them to problem solve instead of jumping in with the answer. And for connection, stay involved in your child’s education and acknowledge any struggles that they’re having.
Researchers suggest that the most important factor in a child’s academic success isn’t IQ, but persistence; i.e., focusing on the process and the tools of learning rather than intelligence or ability.
This is why it’s so important to talk about the process and effort that’s put in, as discussed above, more than immediate results.
By persisting in the hard parts of learning and encouraging your child’s curiosity about the world around them, you’re well on your way to helping your child love learning all their life.