As parents, we all want to give our children what they need to be successful, empathetic humans. To do that we need to encourage growth, learning, knowledge and understanding. We need to teach our kids about the world around them, and how to be continuous learners.
Here are 4 ways to enlighten your child.
Give Them Permission To Explore
Part of being a kid is learning and exploring. Get outside in nature and observe the natural world. Take your kids to a park or trail and let them explore the plants and animals around them. Let them ask questions about the space around them, and try to answer their questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, look it up on the internet and learn together. Encourage curiosity and learning.
Try New Activities
Some kids will become passionate about a sport, while others will take up science or crafts. Allow your kids to try new hobbies or activities, and follow the ones they care about. When they find their passion, they will delve deeper into mastering whatever it is, and will learn about determination, growth and commitment.
Another way to enlighten your child is to give them access to books, newspapers and other reading materials. Encourage them to read, read, read. If finding time to read is hard, build in family reading time for a half hour a week. Everyone can pick something to read, and you can all read in the same room together, or read aloud from one book. As you learn to build it into your schedule, slowly increase the amount of time you’re reading to a few times a week or daily.
Reading doesn’t have to be expensive either. Sign up for free library cards to your local library. Or check out Little Free Libraries in neighborhoods near you, where you can leave a book and take a new one.
Teach Kids About Other Places
Travel is a great way to let kids learn about the world. By visiting different countries or states, kids will learn that the world is full of unique people, places and traditions. This will help your kids develop a more global view, and an ability to empathize with others who are different.
With COVID-19, traveling is likely out of the picture, but there are ways you can teach kids about the world. Visit your local library and check out books about other countries or places. Focus on a different place each week and spend time learning about that place together. If you’re feeling inspired you could even learn to cook a recipe from the country you’re learning about. There are tons of free documentaries online or on Netflix that will allow you to transport yourself to another place while physically staying home. When things open back up, try to take your kids somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be far. Drive them to the next town over and explore it like tourists. Learn about why people built that town or city, what was or is the main industry there, and what makes that place unique.
You could also download a free language learning app like Duolingo, or sign up for a pen pal from a different country.