Friday, April 15, 2011

Encouraging Curiosity

Most children are born with curiosity as evidenced by the busy toddler who must touch and taste everything in sight! This is how they learn. Curiosity also encourages children to try new things and keeps life interesting. What can you do as a parent to keep it growing in your kids?

Let your children see you trying new things such as a new game or a new hobby. Let them see that it is OK to be an inexperienced beginner. Be open to new ideas and welcome questions. Sometimes distracted parents are tempted to cut off questions with responses like “because I told you so.” Or they admonish a child for asking too many questions. Don’t feel like you need to know all of the answers. This is a great opportunity to discuss where you might find an answer to their questions. What sources on the computer or at the library can be consulted to find those answers?

Let your children be children. Don’t be overly concerned about them getting their clothing dirty or making a mess. Child-proof your home, put away breakable objects and then encourage them to explore.

You can pass on the idea that learning is fun. The library is a great resource for books and ideas for exploration. Take time to read to your child every day and let them see you reading. If you have an old broken toaster or other appliance headed for the trash, let your school age child take it apart and see how it works inside (with supervision of course!). This is a great way to fire up curiosity.

Finally, make sure that children have a calm orderly routine at home, including regular mealtimes and adequate sleep. When children’s lives are stressful, they respond by playing and exploring less. Children need to feel safe and secure to have the confidence to explore and learn.

There are so many opportunities every day to encourage curiosity – don’t miss the fun!

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