How Parents Can Encourage Interest in STEM Subjects

It is a fact that in most countries, the interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) subjects is decreasing.  Students are opting for what they consider to be easier subjects. As a result, our STEM sectors are suffering from a huge downturn in qualified graduates entering the sector. 

As a parent, of course, you want our kids to follow their own path and find a career that they will love but by encouraging their interest in STEM subjects, you can build their confidence and spark their imagination too. Girls, in particular, are underrepresented at all levels of STEM education and careers. 

Even if your child chooses a different direction for their career, you know that they will at least have a solid STEM education and have fostered a life long skill of learning and curiosity.

Don’t Pass Down Your Dislike of STEM

Children pick up on a lot of verbal and non-verbal cues. If you hated STEM subjects at school, you might be lacking in confidence in helping your children learn. Don’t avoid it. Instead, seek out resources that will help you get up to speed with the basics. It can be an opportunity for you and your child to learn together. There are many websites you can use or if it sparks your interest, a place like Kettering University has a great range of courses.

Encourage Your Child’s Natural Curiosity

Every parent of a young child knows that they are capable of asking hundreds of questions every day. They are naturally curious and want to learn. Though it may feel like it’s making your brain melt, encouraging them to ask questions about the world is actually a great way to parent. As they get older, you can move towards helping find the answers to their own questions through reading or research.

Incorporate Math Into Everyday Life

A solid base for math is great for every child’s academic confidence. It doesn’t mean that you have to be sitting with them, giving them sums to do. By encouraging them to use math in their everyday life, they will be less likely to fear it as an academic subject. 

Again, you can start young and use things that they are interested in. For example, you can get them to count their favorite toys or work out quantities when you are baking. There’s usually a way to work math into pretty much any interest that they hold.

Explore Nature

There are many ways to make science an interesting part of your child’s life. Activities such as camping and hiking can encourage them to learn about nature, biology, animals, weather, and geology. 

Find simple science experiments you can do together that need very little equipment. Not only is it good for stimulating their interest in science but is a great way to spend quality time together.

Exploring Technology

While it’s common for children to have access to laptops or tablets nowadays, it’s important not to let them be just passive users. There are a number of coding clubs being set up to teach children to code from an early age, knowing that it is going to be an in-demand skill for many years to come. 

Beyond computers, there are many ways to increase your child’s interest in technology. You can look at building blocks and models, learn about shapes, and solve puzzles

Final Thoughts

No matter what subjects your child ultimately likes to study, giving them a solid basis and interest in STEM subjects is great for their development and overall education.  

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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