At a young age, your child’s world is small. He or she goes to school, comes home to do homework and heads off to any extracurricular activities. But on any given day, there is a lot happening in the world outside your child’s bubble, which means many opportunities for expanding the mind and learning something new. Here are a few tips on how to create opportunities for lessons from current events, which will teach your child new things:
Subscribe to the newspaper. Whether you like The New York Times or your local newspaper, a morning habit of browsing the headlines with your child will be impactful—and memorable. Read it each morning over breakfast and hand your child stories that might be of interest. Build your child’s critical thinking skills by talking about interesting news and asking your child’s opinion.
Check out CNN 10 each day. CNN 10 is a daily 10-minute show that shares international stories as well as why they are making news, who they affect and how the events fit into society. It’s a great way for you and your child to get an overview of stories with multiple viewpoints. Plus, the explanatory nature means even complex stories are understandable and digestible for your child.
Talk about what’s going on at school. Chances are, your child’s teachers are bringing up current events in class, some of which might even be emotionally charged. Talk about them. Ask your child where he or she stands on different topics and how other classmates differ.
Visit sites of importance in your area. Let your child see the world in action. Spend time at the state capitol or city hall, which is good exposure to different careers. If you live near a city with a financial district, take a walk around or seek out a tour. Explore other sites in your city that share its history and culture.
Try podcasts. Teaching current affairs to your child while leading a busy life is a reality with podcasts. There are all kinds of newsy podcasts out there, many of which would be suitable for children or teens who want to stay up on world or local issues. Listen to one in the car that gives a quick daily update.
Watch the news. When your child reaches an appropriate age, consider watching your local news or a national news channel together each night. This can spark important conversations in your house on everything from business to technology to global issues. The same topics are likely coming up at school as well.
Lastly, keep in mind that your child benefits most of all from applying what he or she learns in school to the real world. So, if your child is studying past presidents in history class, it’s valuable to learn about current presidential news. If your child is taking a technology class, keeping up with some of the leading tech organizations in the world might give him or her new perspective.
Look for opportunities to teach your child new things—and reinforce what teachers are teaching in school—through the events and news around you. That applied learning will enrich and augment your child’s education.