National Learning and Development Month was initially developed by Scott Doggett, National Learning and Development Month Founder and Sr. Director of Learning and Development for Holiday Inn Club Vacations. Since then, the initiative has been celebrated every October in an effort to encourage “individuals to focus on broadening and advancing their personal and professional skills.” This “holiday” is intended to encourage people of all ages to continue to educate themselves and commit to doing something for their own development. With October just around the corner and in honor of National Learning and Development Month, Apex Leadership Co. shares ways that parents and guardians help make learning fun, and add learning into every day.

Helping children get excited about learning and furthering their own personal development through education can never start too early. (Of course, these lessons can be modified to be age-appropriate for specific groups from toddlers to teens). This can be as simple as helping them develop a habit like reading for 15 to 20 minutes a day or finding a hobby that stimulates their mind — such as doing crossword puzzles or learning how to knit.

There are learning lessons that can be built into every day. For example, math is required for budgeting, while science is present when creating a recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Finding a way to disguise these lessons as activities or games is an easy way to help little ones find learning fun, while lessons translated into challenges or dares may entice older children.

Incorporating learning into family time is a win-win! Dedicating time as a family to sit down to eat dinner together, for example, has its own set of benefits. The Family Dinner Project sites better academic performance, a greater sense of resilience, and higher self-esteem as just a few of the specific benefits of routine family dinners. So consider how incorporating learning into dinner time — from discussing the importance of nutrition to playing the Alphabet Game, I Spy or 20 Questions while enjoying a meal — can benefit a child (and the parents too!). Instituting a family game night or a puzzle challenge for the entire family to engage in or watching a nature or space show are other no-stress ways to help students develop a love of learning.

When considering ways to add more learning opportunities into a child’s life, it’s important to focus less on an “outcome” and more on helping children develop a true love of learning. Students are under enough pressure in today’s world of education (particularly over the past six months or so as they’ve had to navigate “never-done-before” situations such as online learning, Zoom classrooms, and adjusting to wearing a mask). So instead of working towards a hard-and-fast goal, parents can sprinkle simple, enjoyable ways to learn into everyday life. Before long, children will develop their own habits and patterns for learning and development.