University of Illinois Extension

Instill a Love in Learning

Children who have a broad foundation of knowledge and background on a variety of subjects will find school and learning easier and more interesting than those who do not. Parents have the privilege and responsibility to share the world with their children.

Talking with your child about life's everyday experiences will help each of you understand the others' viewpoints, values, dreams, and interests. Parents need not only talk, but also listen to their children. Answering questions, or helping children find the answers, will help your child develop a sense of value and self-respect.

Many parents think activities such as going to the zoo, museums, or shows make up for lost time with their children. But, there can be just as much educational value in everyday activities, such as going to the bank, going grocery shopping, or doing a project at home. Parents just need to plan ahead a little to help their child discover the world.

Here are a few suggestions for activities to enjoy with your child:

  • Watch news and documentaries on TV.
  • Rent or buy educational videos.
  • Visit natural history museums, science museums, art museums, children's museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and historical sites.
  • Experience national or state parks and forests. Sign up for a tour.
  • Read articles in the newspaper, news, and magazines together.
  • Go to the public library.
  • Make vacations learning experiences.
  • Plan "theme" parties that involve some research. For example, an American Revolution costume party, a play, or a display of inventions of the time.

The important thing for parents to remember is that they are the most important teachers in their child's life. Children are born eager to learn, but parents need to help them channel that learning. Talking with children before, during, and after any activity helps them learn the steps involved in learning.

This conversation also will improve your communication and in turn, your relationship with your child. The more you talk with each other, the more rewarding your conversations will be, and the better you will get to know your child.