Last week we explored how to nurture creativity in our children. Another piece to well-rounded problem solvers? Valuing learning over accomplishment. When children expect and accept failure as part of the growth process, their aptitude for knowledge increases. Consider these questions to encourage learning in your kids:
What makes you proud?
Do you show off report cards or A+ tests on the refrigerator? Instead of that – or in addition to it – display problems your students are proud of solving. Or even better, problems they are still trying to solve.
If you have a small white board, put a new long division problem up every day, and solve it together during breakfast. Or write a new daily vocab word for their foreign language. By highlighting the process of learning, memorizing, or working through problems, you take the focus off of the final product.
What do you reward?
Many parents pay a flat fee for every A on a report card. Or they take a family trip to the ice cream shop after a dance recital. There’s nothing wrong with this. But consider finding ways to praise good work along the way.
For example, get that ice cream after a heart-breaking loss in a soccer game. Not as a consolation, but because your kid shook hands with his opponents, cheered on his teammates, and kept a positive attitude. Or post a video on social media – not of a polished, practiced piano performance, but once your child finally masters the tough section that has intimidated her in Beethoven’s Sonatina in G.
Where can you grow as well?
As we raise lifelong learners, we embrace learning for ourselves. We know that education doesn’t stop once you graduate, but sometimes we forget to be intentional about it.
Let your children watch you try and fail. Pick up a new physical activity like running or weight lifting, and then practice it consistently. Try to learn a new language – or join them in what language they are learning. Research the properties of turmeric that might help ADHD, and then experiment with recipes in the kitchen. The examples are endless.
To encourage learning boils down to highlighting the process and not necessarily the destination.
If you are looking for a school that motivates and validates this process, check us out! Self Development Academy is recognized as one of the best K-8 charter schools nationwide. We have campuses in Phoenix and Mesa. Find email and phone numbers here. We can’t wait to hear from you!