Why YOUR Continued Learning is Key to Your Children’s Development

Spring is here! With every spring season comes change; you needn’t look any further than your window to realize this. Snow banks melt and are replaced with green leaves. Short afternoons and early bedtimes are replaced by long warm evenings with adult beverages and EVENTUALLY barbecues. Spring is a magical time of transformation.

For many parents there is also the transformation that comes with the experience of graduation. As a first-time parent of an infant, the transformation of your young son/daughter someday leaving the nest to go to college or work full-time on her own is an overwhelming thought. If you are a parent celebrating, or perhaps slightly dreading this future day, you are not alone in the world.

So what do you tell the young adult who is graduating high school, or college, or even making the jump from 8th grade to high school? What is the one piece of advice that you can give that stands the test of time and keeps giving? According to Siegel and Bryson, authors of The Whole-Brain Child, their advice would be this: keep learning.

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In fact, in the book, these two doctors suggest that your child’s evolution is most directly correlated to YOUR learning. Their research found that parents who put time and effort into learning have and share healthy brain habits that will allow for their children to be smart, well thought out and educated.

We have all likely been looking forward to that one day where you can say, “I am never taking another math test” or “I am done forever with anatomy practicals.” For many doctors, they look forward to that last board examination. But what REALLY happens after that?

After the last test that somebody or some machine grades you on, the truth is that the tests in life continue. Whether you are learning about relationships with your partner, how to better sell a house in a sellers market or learning about educating the public about what it is that you do, there is one theme throughout: the tests in life never end.

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The difference is how you prepare for the tests. You have 2 basic options: you consciously prepare or you don’t. This means that you can seek out to learn about how the world works, or the world tells you how it works. The parent that fills their house with books is consciously placing books there. And what Dubner and Levitt found in their now famous (and in some circle notorious) book “Freakonomics” is this:

“… reading books doesn’t have an impact on early childhood test scores. So could it be that the books’ mere physical presence in the house makes the children smarter? Do books perform some kind of magical osmosis on a child’s brain? A child who grows up in a house with 500 books spent three years longer in school than children living in households with few titles. Apparently, a child doesn’t need a large home library to benefit from the book advantage. A child whose families owns just 25 books will, on average, attend school two more years than the book-less child.”

The parents that fill their house with answers, that continue to learn and demonstrate to their children that life is an evolution, are demonstrating by example, if nothing else, just how powerful the mind is.

In our chiropractic college study groups, my friends and I had a saying as we crammed the last night before a big test: “If only I had one more day to prepare… I would rock this test”. You know what would happen if we actually had another day? We would spend the day eating and watching TV and then cramming the NEXT night instead. Why would we do this to ourselves?!  – Jay

Eventually as humans become older and a bit more wiser it’s likely you would spend the week studying in smaller bursts, and you know what, the tests would always be seemingly easier and you would likely retain more information. Life tends to be the exact same. Spend focused times reading, writing, running, playing and living your WHY with your children, and not only your experiences, but their life experience will tend to reflect that consciousness.

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Life doesn’t need to be one forced learning experience after the next. We urge you to help your children follow their bliss and learn about what they are most passionate about. Encourage them to seek other experiences while in school that enhance their life. And for goodness sake, just because you don’t ever have to take another 45 minute multiple-choice test doesn’t mean you are going to stop learning. The best learnings in life are those that seek to learn authentically because it is WHO you are.

The challenge for many adults that are no longer “in school” is making the time. There is never a bad time to reevaluate your core values, look through who you spend your time with and think about what motivates you. Commit to looking at your rhythms and routines frequently and ask yourself, what am I doing “just because” and instead “what is really important to me and my family”.

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There is no time like the present to continue, extend or begin your children’s neurological development. It all starts upstairs.  Everyday is a new learning adventure. Did Daily Dad pique your appetite for learning? If so, check out these 6 Must-Take Toddler Classes.

Photo credits:  StefaniStewart Butterfield & Jay Breitlow @ Happys Dad’s Inc.



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