“How do we spell gorilla?”
“Why don’t we see stars during the day?”
“Where do babies come from?”
“Why do animals not speak?”
If you are a parent (or even if you are not) to young children, I am sure you will be totally able to relate with such constant bombardment of questions that they can come up with.
As a mother of an extremely curious six year old, I totally can.
From questions about the sky to questions about the earth– and everything that comes in between, he has a gazillion of things to ask about.
He just wants to know the whys and what’s of anything and everything that he sees, hears or observes around him.
Well, the good news to me was that curiosity in kids makes them more intelligent, confident and outgoing.
It is a natural phenomenon which lets them learn and grow.
They explore a range of opportunities and possibilities much required for the growth of their brain and personality on the whole.
There have been numerous researches suggesting that children who explore their world through unbridled thoughts and imaginations fare better at school, work and ultimately in their personal relationships.
Curiosity is something kids are naturally blessed with, more or less. Positive and encouraging responses nurture it, while excessive control and regulations kill it. Now, it rest on us as parents to give a boost to this flame of curiosity and channelize it in the right direction.
For this, it is extremely important that we not only answer their queries, but also encourage them with elements that spark curiosity in them for their cognitive development.
We can simply hook to the following for nurturing curiosity in children.
We ask your kid to brush his teeth and he says why! We answer. And he comes up with ten more why’s and what’s. After answering five of those, we lose our cool ask him to get going with something else.
This is the test of your patience and any one’s patience as a matter of fact. It is so easy to loose cool when kids come up with one question after the other. But that is what good parenting is all about!
We are our child’s window to the discovery of this vast world which they just came across. No matter what our impulse tells us to, we need to be polite and explanatory so that they just don’t feel being avoided and not attended to.
Our child asks “what is elephant’s husk made of?” We are baffled as you are totally unaware of the answer.
Let’s not shy to say let’s find out or let’s ask an expert! Make discovery an interesting process– of something new and interesting and appreciate for having thought of something so smart.
What were you talking to daddy about?
Now this is something which we don’t want to answer since it hardly concerns him.
Here distraction can be really helpful. Gradually in our moments of calm with them, we can explain him how a few things are to be between mommy and daddy only.
Asking and Acknowledging
Kids who want to discover about themselves and rest other things can be easily diverted to interesting discussions.
We need to encourage their enthusiasm by asking questions.
It’s an opportunity to redirect their interest to desired directions. We should acknowledge, even if they come up with the weirdest and wildest of the questions possible. We must appreciate and even let them answer their own questions.
Like we can say “that’s a good question, what do you think the answer will be?” and simply guide him to find the answer.
This will foster their thought process and develop creativity in them.
Providing Learning Tools
While kids explore their own world through numerous questions, we can keep exploring their interests and inclinations at our end. This is a great opportunity to direct their curiosity in useful ways.
Like, we can bring them interactive toys and tools that encourage exploration, experimentation and concentration like kid’s microscope, telescope, globe, anatomy puzzles etc.
For example, when I realized my young one’s is intense interest in maps and world geography, I introduced him to a couple of world puzzles and interactive globes and maps.
Not only it keeps him engaged, but also it gives him a huge exposure to learning newer stuff.
Making Friends with Books
Books are the biggest teachers a child can have in his life.
No matter what kind of a book a child reads– fiction or non-fiction, there is something new he introduces to his world of discovery. We can try to stack their shelf with as many books as possible from the local library or outside.
Reading books can be made extremely fun by sharing examples and asking open-ended questions that model curiosity in them.
For example, we might just read our child the beginning of a story and ask him what might have happened later. It will be a fun experience when he finds an extreme contrast to what he had thought of.
We can also improvise by finding some educative or fun activities based on the contents of the book we read recently.
Like if we have recently read a book on rocks, we can try collecting different types of rocks and do some painting on them.
Exposing to Technology
Technology attracts greater and more impactful response of kids at any age.
Remember, how passionately our new-born responded when he saw your mobile screen or television screen for the first time! There are extremely interesting games and videos for kids that help them sharpen their brains while enhancing their knowledge.
We can have our kids watch documentaries, DIY’s, STEM activities or even get some audio books. In-fact it is a great learning boost if kids and parents share their screen space. Therefore, we can safely say that technology exposure is not completely bad for children.
All what is important is policing. Just keep a watch of the content and time of course!
Inculcating hobbies in kids is a great booster; be it gardening, painting, stitching, stamp collecting or anything that interest him.
If our child is interested in doing kitchen stuff, we can get involved with him, decide preparing a simple dish, check the recipe, go shopping the ingredients and involve him in the preparation process.
The whole process will ignite his imaginations through a series of questions and discussions and we will find him discover so many new things. This is an unexceptional way to fuel imaginations and creativity in them.
Also, what an intelligent way to keep kids involved!