How Do Kids of All Ages Learn from Parents?
Kids learn from parents all the time. From birth to adulthood we model how and what we learn. Kids watch us very closely to see what interests us and how we gain information. Even though they may be much better than us at using the internet, they see us in action day by day carrying out our jobs at home and in the work place.
At different ages we can motivate and encourage our kids to enjoy learning for its own sake, not only what they learn in school. How do we do this at different ages? How do we encourage them to think for themselves without pushing them into what interests us?
Tips for Teaching Kids to Learn at Different Ages
- Toddlers need more encouragement than restrictions. It’s not easy to watch them fall and run about without worrying about their safety. But we need to let them make mistakes and learn from us without our judgments and too many rules.
- Pre-schoolers need even more encouragement to break away from us to find a peer group. They may not be set to share with others, but we need to give them the opportunities to be part of a group with a teacher other than us.
- Elementary kids are gang busters about learning though they may complain about boredom and rules at school. They need activities outside the school day to explore and adventure new opportunities.
- High School kids live to learn and socialize. We need to collaborate with them about rules and limits while not inhibiting them from experimenting in safe ways.
At all these ages, it’s essential that we listen to our kids thoughts, beliefs, intentions, values, and feelings. We need to learn from them not only teach them. If they know we want to hear their hopes and desires, they know their thoughts are important not only to us but for them. It’s so hard to listen without interrupting when our kids go on tangents, but this is how they learn. Our job is to help them see that mistakes are common and failures are everyday occurrences. If they can learn that from us without criticism we will be teaching them important lessons about learning and about life.
Praising our kids for what they learn is a parenting skill unto itself. They can learn from us what is important to know and then we praise them for taking the time and persistence to absorb new information. To teach what is important our praise must be specific and detailed so they learn what to repeat in order to be successful. It always helps to praise determination and diligence that they learn from us by example.
Teaching Learning is a Parenting Occupation
When our kids learn from us including mundane chores like loading the dishwasher and running the washing machine to studying for big exams and organizing their studies they need to do so in a way that feels supportive and instructive not judgmental. Then learning becomes part of what parents and kids do together. Learning and loving go hand in hand.
To learn more about how to teach our kids, read Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior to find more about how to learn collaboratively with your kids.