Explaining the importance of education to a child is not as easy as it may seem. Kids often lack the life experience to grasp the importance of education to their lives and future, which makes it harder for them to understand and for you to explain.
How do you explain the importance of education to a child? The best way to explain the importance of education to a child is to model the desired behavior, expose them to resources that communicate the importance of education, develop an atmosphere of learning in the home, talk to them about why education is important, give them opportunities to show what they have learned.
When used together, each of the above strategies works in tandem to send a consistent message about the importance of education to the child.
Children learn most not by hearing, but by seeing and experiencing. It helps when the message is thoughtfully repeated.
As the adult, you set the tone to make sure they know they are expected to make something of themselves and that education will be the vehicle to get them there. Your actions and expectations are your best tools.
Your words will reinforce those efforts.
Importance of Education for Children
Education is important to children because education helps children learn how to think critically, it enhances their creativity and imagination, it will expose them to new ideas, and it helps the child find the path to a career that they wish to pursue as an adult.
Make sure you know these reasons and know why you believe they are important.
Over time you are going to be repeating yourself a lot so consistency will give you more credibility as you continue to share your message with your child.
Know that this is a long term goal and probably not something your child will fully understand even after a few discussions with them.
Consequently, instead of pushing for understanding right away, it will be better to expose them to an environment that values learning so they experience its importance for themselves.
Then you can begin a conversation with them that they will be able to connect to through the meaning they have constructed.
Here are some strategies to create that environment and communicate education’s importance:
Model the Desired Behavior
As the parent, you are the child’s greatest teacher and role model. Kids know when their parents really value something because they see them doing it frequently.
So, when you want to explain to a child why education is important the first thing you should do is make sure they see you modeling the behavior.
This will make a conversation much easier to have later because they will see you putting in the time and effort to improve yourself.
There are many ways you can show them how much you care about your own intellectual growth.
Perhaps you spend one hour every night at home with devices off while everyone is reading in the living room together.
Maybe you set weekly library trips with them where they can see you reading and picking out books while they read their own.
After they check the books out you encourage them to read in the car and in their room for some quiet time. Over time, this will grow into a routine that they enjoy.
You could also have them plan the next project around the house with you. Think and discuss what could go into painting a bedroom or creating a family picture area on the wall.
Include them in the pre-planning process so they see the critical thinking skills needed to create a budget allocation and plan a project’s course to completion, so they learn how math is used in the real world.
Then keep them involved throughout the project so they can see all the steps involved in making an idea become reality.
You could also try learning something completely new together like gardening.
Collaborate with them to decide what plants you want to grow for your home.
Learn about the environment and care they need to thrive. Work together to plant them and care for them. As mistakes are made use them as learning opportunities so you can grow together.
Expose them to Activities and Resources that Communicate the Importance of Education
This strategy may take some time to get right, so be prepared to be patient. Think about what your child’s interests are and what they are good at.
Keep these ideas in mind as you have a conversation with them about some new activities they may want to try.
This conversation may go on for a few sessions as they think it over. That’s OK.
Try having them give you a list of 3-5 things that they want to learn about. After they do, ask yourself which of these choices align with their skills and guide them towards those interests.
This is key to being an aware parent because you don’t want to guide your child into an activity that is completely out of their comfort zone or not in line with their skill set.
Are they creative and love to write about topics that interest them? Help them find out. Perhaps puzzles really interest them. Maybe they enjoy building and so a lego set is the way to go.
Whatever the activity, help them discuss the necessary skills they need to complete these activities so they understand the requirements of the commitment they are making.
This is another key point and one that I practice with my own child. Before we signed her up for piano lessons, we told her that it would require she also practice outside of her lesson 4-5 days a week.
We didn’t even buy the books until she knew for sure it was what she wanted.
Your guidance will be important in helping them make the right choice. If you are unsure, then frame your conversation as an experiment to figure out what they enjoy doing.
Try one thing at a time, but keep an ongoing list of what they like, what they don’t, and where they show potential to be good. Solicit their opinion and consider your judgment as you guide them to a decision.
Long term, your goal here is to get them into a rhythm where they are working on a few things a year that they enjoy.
You could set up a schedule so they spend a certain amount of time on their new hobby.
I’ll give an example of how we do it in our house. Because of budgetary constraints, we can only have one thing going on at a time for each child.
So, from May to September my oldest takes swimming lessons and from October to April, she takes piano lessons.
Each of these activities is associated with brain development, which is why we guided her toward them. For piano, she goes to her lessons once a week and then practices another 4-5 days at home.
For swimming, she goes to her practice twice a week and has a swim meet once a week.
Behind the scenes, we work with her instructors to target potential long-term goals for the season.
Then we include her in the planning process so she can choose from this curated list of choices. Last year she worked on improving her freestyle stroke.
She began by working on her form to make sure she was reaching to the wall each time she brought her arm around. As she got her form down then we had her work on her speed.
Along the way, she built up her confidence in herself and her trust in us and her instructor.
As she works on her craft, we talk to her about how she is doing. We keep her focused on what she is working toward and remind her periodically about her next goal.
She makes gains because she is doing something she likes to do and has a goal in mind that she is working to accomplish.
In addition to these activities, we are careful with the camps that we choose for our kids.
We focus only on camps that have an enriching purpose, usually educational or athletic. We like camps where they can learn robotics, sports, or drama.
We are choosy about our camps because we don’t want our kids to be in a place that is just trying to keep them busy all day.
We want them to be learning something that they like so they develop a deeper love of learning.
For instance, my oldest also likes gymnastics, but since we cannot fit it into the school year, we let her take a week of gymnastics camp during the summer which she loves.
While it can be hard to find quality camps and you may have to drive further, I think it is more than worth it.
My wife still has memories of her and her sister getting dropped off at a summer camp they despised so it’s not something we take lightly in our household!
If you make sure your kids spend a lot of time learning in a fun environment, it will be a lot easier to explain why education is important because they will pick up on its importance through their own intuition.
Not to mention, it could help bridge the gap during the summer months when kids usually aren’t learning.
During this time regression takes place and they have a harder time getting back into a routine for the new school year.
Develop an Atmosphere of Learning
Use your resources and creativity to create an environment in your home where learning is valued and required. Give them expectations for learning that they must meet.
Establish routines so they can meet your expectations, and set up a schedule around those routines.
When they get home every day what do they do? Do they have activities, that could be reduced or eliminated like TV or devices?
Filling that time with the pursuit of their interests and practicing the skills associated with those interests will help them make progress toward their goals.
Progress will be a valued asset in explaining the importance of education.
We require our oldest to practice 15 minutes of piano and 30 minutes of math at least 5 days a week.
We try to do homework on the weekends so it doesn’t get in the way of our weekly routine.
That still leaves her a lot of downtime and ensures she is being challenged as she explores her interests. Kids want to do what’s right.
When you set high expectations for them you are giving them something for which they can reach.
Talk to them About Why Education is Important
Talking to your child is actually not the first thing you should do if you are trying to communicate the importance of education.
If you first model the desired behavior and then expose them to resources that send a message about the importance of education, you will have cultivated their sense of education’s importance so that your conversation with them will be easier for you and more meaningful to them.
When you think the time is right, tell them about your own experiences.
Make connections to your past and current educational pursuits and explain how your dedication and hard work have helped you achieve your goals and find fulfillment.
Authenticity is key here. Be as honest as is appropriate about the struggles along the way.
Kids know when a story is real or when it is watered down for them. Maybe you didn’t pursue a degree right out of high school and so it was much harder to do so later in life with adult responsibilities.
Or maybe you are highly educated and can speak to the sacrifices you made in your earlier years in order to get to where you are now.
The point is to express how important education is to you while modeling that behavior and connecting with your child throughout the process.
This is an opportunity to build a stronger connection with them so they will continue to want to talk to you about other topics in the future.
Be prepared to share a message that you are willing to repeat. These stories will become the ones that you repeat over the years to guide them in the right direction.
In turn, they will become the stories that your kids remember.
When there is another opportunity, have a conversation about the activities and resources you have been exposing them to.
Let’s say you decided to send them to a robotics class. Periodically, check-in with them to see how they are doing. Have short conversations with them about how they like it and how it’s going. Engage with them.
Ask clarifying questions. Later, sit down when the time is right and see if they can explain to you what they have been learning about. As they talk, just listen. Don’t guide them or probe them. Let them express themselves.
Are they building more complicated structures? Do they have a better understanding of which blocks to use and when?
Have they become more patient and more focused? Use their success as a mirror to show them the progress they have made. That can go much further than words that don’t have experiences behind them as support.
As they are speaking you may be able to tell how much they are learning. If they are taking well to the activity this could be a milestone for both of you.
Use their own words to show them that they are learning on their own. Help them develop a belief in themselves.
Show them that they are achieving and growing. Success will generate chances for more success.
Give Them Opportunities to Show What They Learned
Kids love to be recognized by their parents. As they settle into their new routines be sure to check in on them and “catch them doing the right thing”.
Let them know how proud of them you are that they are working on learning something new.
I consistently praise my kids when they make a kind gesture or help out and the same for making progress in an activity or their school work.
Give them the opportunity to explain to you what they are doing, how they are doing it, the mistakes they have made along the way, and what they have learned from those mistakes.
A good education is all about learning from your experiences and getting better as you go.
By giving your child the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and then explaining how they have, you are showing them that it’s OK to experiment and you support their learning.
Over time the child will process their learning and develop a deeper understanding of their new interest.
Limit Device Use
Devices can take away from a child’s ability to learn and to practice delayed gratification. Some apps promote a short attention span which reduces a child’s ability to be successful academically and socially.
Consider that both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates strictly regulated the use of devices in their homes with their kids.
Often in life, it is beneficial to follow those who know the most about a topic, and few knew more than these guys.
Instead of tech, they emphasized reading books. They had home libraries with hundreds of books in them that their kids could ready anytime they wanted to.
Emphasizing a low tech environment in your home could translate into a high imagination environment. Some helpful limits on devices include:
- Restrict cell phone until at least age 14
- Limit or eliminate device use during the week (including TV)
- Restrict use in bedrooms
- Set a time well before bed (at least 1 hour before) to turn off devices
- Restrict devices at the table or during discussions
Helping your child understand the importance of education is more challenging than it sounds.
As adults, it seems like common sense, but kids may not see it that way. That’s OK. That’s what they have their parents for.
We have to help them live and breathe the reason so it becomes intuitive.
Develop a plan so that the events in their life are communicating the importance of education to them.
Embed education deep within your family culture. Work with them to pursue their interests so their creative energies are used on something constructive that helps them build their capacity to learn and their appreciation for learning.
Keep them around other kids whose parents are dedicated to promoting education as much as you are.
Most importantly, connect with them and let them know you care about who they will become.
Why is early childhood education so important?
Early childhood education is important because its effects can last a lifetime. As they say, their brains are like sponges.
Between the ages of 0-3, a child’s brain grows to 80% of its adult size. During this time it will also be twice as active as an adult’s.
They are building connections that will influence their perception of the world for their whole lives.
The skills they learn can also stay with them for life. If they are taught to be kind, loving, and empathetic to others they are more likely to become compassionate adults than those children who were not taught these skills.
Those who demonstrate these traits as adults are more likely to be professionally successful and maintain fulfilling relationships.
How do you identify your child’s interests?
Observe them when they are being themselves and ask yourself these questions:
- What do they spend the most time doing?
- What are they willing to work hard at?
- What brings out their creativity?
- What do they choose to do most of the time?
- What keeps them focused?
- What do you hear them talking about?
Use the answers to these questions to help identify their interests so you can guide them to constructive hobbies that will cultivate their skillset and ignite their passion.
Then, use the steps in the above article to create a plan that will help them learn and grow as they pursue their new interest.