Humans are a naturally curious species. Because we ask questions we’ve come so far and continue to shape the world around us for better or worse.
Actively trying to keep your child’s curiosity alive is an excellent idea. Curious children tend to be more motivated at school, achieve better grades, and have a wider circle of friends. They will also derive pleasure from a lifetime habit of curiosity. Researchers at the University Of California-Davis have demonstrated that when people feel a sense of curiosity towards a particular subject, the areas of their brains responsible for feelings of pleasure and positive sensations became active. In other words, it makes us happy to be curious! Not only that, but the same researchers also discovered that maintaining a feeling of curiosity helps us retain information in general.
Therefore, it is vital to encourage your child’s curiosity. How exactly can you do this?
What Not To Do #1 Give Too Much Information To Them
Give your child too much information and you risk depleting their curiosity. In other words, if you tell them all there is to know on any particular topic without encouraging them to do some research for themselves, why should they continue to be curious? When your child asks you a question, help them discover the answer independently rather than simply delivering the information upfront. Yes, it may take longer when they are the ones taking responsibility for their own learning, but the payoff in retaining their curiosity will be worth it.
What Not To Do #2 Holding Back When They Ask Questions
At the other end of the scale, don’t hold back when your child asks you for more information. If you fail to respond with a suitable level of enthusiasm to their questions, you risk teaching them that their curiosity will go unsatisfied and even that they are being a nuisance to people by asking questions. Take the time to praise them for thinking about issues on their own, and give them enough information to send them on their own quest for more knowledge.
What To Do?
Ask Them Questions
Encourage your child to think about a range of ideas and issues by asking them hypothetical and factual questions. It doesn’t matter if they know the answer or not; the idea is to get them into the habit of curiosity.
Are you interested in the world around you? If you are, great job! By challenging yourself and demonstrating that there is always more to learn, you are modelling a good set of mental habits for your child. If not, make an effort to become more intrigued by the world around you. Start keeping up with current affairs and expand your reading material to take in a broader range of subject matter.
Add Some Interest To The Boring Stuff
Does your child struggle to stay motivated in the face of boring tasks such as math homework? Use their natural curiosity to spur them on. For instance, you could encourage them to apply mathematical knowledge to figure out how long it will take to make an exciting vacation trip.
Look To Your Child’s Innate Interests
If in doubt, just consider what your child is most interested in and use this as a springboard from which you can encourage their curiosity. For instance, if they are interested in pets and domesticated animals, see whether you can pique their interest in biology and expand their horizons even further.
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