How To Combat Anti-Intellectualism In Children

It’s hard to deny that there’s a strong anti-intellectual bias in today’s culture. Between reality TV, big budget movies, selfies and other diversions on the internet, people seem to be focused on the trivial and low brow. This can be disheartening to parents and teachers who want to encourage children to develop their intellectual interests. Here are some tips to counter anti-intellectualism, both at home and in school.

1. Encourage kids to read for pleasure.

Kids should learn to read, not only for school assignments but also for their own pleasure. Some kids prefer fiction, others enjoy biographies of their favorite athletes, and some will be fascinated with books on science. Introduce children to a wide variety of books at the appropriate reading level. This will encourage them to develop their intellectual curiosity.

2. Further your own education.

The more informed and educated you are, the easier it will be to pass knowledge along to your kids. One convenient way for adults to get an advanced degree is to find a good online program. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you might choose a graduate program such as an online master’s in history. Beyond showing a great example for your children, this will give you all kinds of interesting topics to discuss with your kids, along with the potential for a career change, of course.

3. Give kids unstructured play time.

Children need a certain amount of unstructured play time to develop their own interests. Many kids today are herded from one organized activity to another, whether it’s soccer practice, music lessons or karate. Unstructured play allows kids to come up with their own characters, imaginary worlds, and games. This encourages creativity and original thinking.

4. Follow up on kids’ natural interests.

Popular culture, movies, games, toys and TV shows, often stimulate kids’ imaginations and helps them develop their interests. Adults can take this a step further and encourage them to pursue these interests in a more serious way. If a child is interested in dinosaurs, for example, you can take them to a museum that has a dinosaur exhibit. You can expose kids to books, documentaries and other materials that help them develop their natural interests.

If adults want to combat anti-intellectualism, they must do everything they can to help kids develop their own natural creativity and curiosity. This should not be done in a coercive way, as you don’t want children to associate learning with pain. Rather, you should find fun and interesting ways to encourage kids to develop their minds and embrace their intellect.

How do YOU encourage your children in intellectual ways? Tell us in the comments.

Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty.

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