5 ways to help your child feel passionate about learning again

creativity passion-led learning wired for learning Sep 01, 2021

Many parents make the same mistake when trying to get their children to feel passionate about learning.

They try to make traditional learning fun and creative. But this “outside in” thinking rarely solves the problem.

When your child’s lights are turned off and their passion for learning extinguished, it’s time for a simple switch in approach. It’s time to think “inside out”.

This means starting with the child – finding out what your child is passionate about in order to reawaken their enthusiasm for learning. In doing so, you’ll utilise the neuroscience of motivation and encourage their curiosity.

Here at Lights On, we believe that passion, mindset and time are the three essential elements you need to think “inside out” and to switch a child back on to learning.

And there are five steps to follow in bringing these elements together for your child.

Passion

Firstly, you need to relight the spark for learning that all kids intrinsically have. You do this by helping them find and recognise their existing passions.

1. Find out what they love to do

To help your child rediscover their passion for learning, you first need to discover what it is they’re passionate about.  

Think beyond the standard school subjects here. If your child has already switched off from the school experience, it’s unlikely they’ll start enthusing about math or phonics.

Instead, ask them – if you could wake up every morning and do something you loved, what would that something be?

Don’t judge their answer for its educational potential. This is a starting point. And a way to get your child to do two things:

  • Take ownership of their own interests
  • Feel positive about exploring the world and its possibilities

Whether they want to bake cookies all day or spend time with animals, ride their bike or put on plays in the living room, use this as your springboard.

2. Do a curiosity audit

Now it’s time to delve deeper into your child’s passions.  

You do this by conducting a curiosity audit, which is actually a great activity for the whole family.

Start by getting a big piece of paper and some coloured pens for everyone taking part. Then write or draw ten things you’re curious about.

Keep things fun and light but be specific – and encourage the same from your kids.

Ask clarifying questions. So if your child says they’re curious about being outdoors, ask them what it is that holds a particular fascination. Or if they say they like making art, get them to specify what kind of art project they’d be especially interested in starting.

By drilling down into their interests in this way, you can create a structure for learning and investigating. This transforms your child’s interest into an activity with real learning potential.

Mindset

Now your child is passionate about learning again, it’s time to fan that spark and maximise your child’s interests. You can do this by supporting and modelling a good learning mindset.

As your child begins to develop this mindset for themselves, they’ll gain the tools they need to overcome any obstacles they face – in academic settings and beyond.

3. Normalise mistakes

Whenever anyone tries to learn something new, there will be mistakes, wrong turns and do-overs.  

Help your child to understand that this is an inevitable part of the process. Talk out loud when you make a mistake and model the resilience needed to dust yourself off and try again.

Also teach your child that their brain can grow, just like a muscle. But (continuing with the muscle analogy) brains need exercise to reach their full potential.

With dedication and perseverance, we can know things we didn’t know before, and do things we couldn’t do before. But only if we exercise our brains by trying, failing and trying again.

Have a conversation around brain plasticity and help your child stay in the mindset of passionate learning – without feeling held back by fear of failure.

Refresh your knowledge on how to recognise what a disengaged child is really thinking in order to provide the best support for your child.

4. Push beyond your own comfort zone

If you’re really going to make your child passionate about learning, you have to go on the journey with them. Kids feel much more engaged when they’re part of a team effort.

So engineer family activities where you are all doing something you’re unfamiliar with. Learning side by side will help to show your kids that learning is a lifelong process – and one that can be really enjoyable, to boot.

Embrace open-ended, “wired for learning” challenges. These fun, ten minute activities encourage play, trial and error. There’s no right or wrong answer and the whole family can get involved.

This type of activity helps kids to realise that failure can lead to a breakthrough. And shows them that their parents aren’t just talking about the importance of education – they’re authentically modelling great learning behaviour too.

Time

5. Be patient and consistent

Learning is messy, chaotic and non-linear. So try to let go of pressure and expectations.

Feeling that we’re getting things wrong if we don’t succeed the first time is really unhelpful to the learning process.

“If you’re always looking towards the destination, you never arrive.”

By being patient and consistent, you show your child that the learning journey is just as important as any end result.

Rewarding their effort and curiosity – rather than achievements – will help to unlock your child’s natural talents and transform them into an engaged and enthusiastic learner.   

Ready to unlock your child’s truest potential?

When you’re trying to awaken your child’s passion for learning, it can be hard to keep things in balance.

You need to be encouraging without piling on the pressure. You need to provide structure for their curiosity without making their learning feel prescribed.

That’s why our parents find The Lights On® Switch Kit so useful.

The Switch Kit will help you find your child’s spark and awaken their intrinsic motivation. You’ll learn the right conversations to start with your child – and when – to make learning purposeful and fast track growth.

Switch your child back onto learning by accessing The Lights On® Switch Kit today.

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