How to encourage your child’s curiosity

Do you ever get discouraged when your child asks you why over and over? Well, it is actually a good thing. Here are ways to help develop that natural curiosity.

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  • Kids are naturally curious, but at times it can take a lot of patience to answer all of their questions. When you do, make sure they are not getting into trouble, or doing something they should not. But it is very important to help them develop that natural curiosity.

  • It helps them learn new things, which will be a tool that will help them throughout their lives. It also teaches them to ask questions, and encourages them to study something new.

  • Here are 6 ways to develop a child's curiosity:

  • 1. Ask them to repeat back what you've said

  • When you explain something to your child, don't just speak and then walk away. Interact with them. Have your child repeat back what you said.

  • If they asked you a question, and you explain the answer, have them reiterate the answer back to you. This interaction helps them to really comprehend what they are learning. They are being asked to remember and repeat in their own words what is going on.

  • 2. Let them explore

  • It can be hard to let your child push buttons, touch things, take things apart, and play with something, especially if it is something that can break. If you set up the ground rules that your child can explore things under your supervision, then they are less likely to do so when you are not around. Let them ask questions, try to figure out how things work, and yes, press buttons, with your supervision.

  • Encourage them to be gentle and explain when something is fragile. This is one of the greatest ways for them to learn- by doing. Obviously you should not let them do anything that is unsafe, but if you can make it safe, do so. For example, turn the car off, and let your child sit in the driver's seat. You will be amazed at how curious they are about something that you use every day.

  • 3. Don't give them the answers

  • It is tempting to just say the answer to a question. It saves time and patience, but instead, have your child try to figure out the problem on their own.

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  • When you ask them to go get you something from the cupboard, it would be easy to tell them they need to bring a stool because they will not be able to reach it, and even point out where it is, but you would be doing your child a disservice. If someone is always there to give them the answer, then they will not learn the important skills needed to reason and find the solution.

  • Let your child do things on their own; you'll be surprised how quickly they figure things out.

  • 4. Ask them questions

  • While your child is exploring their curiosity, ask them about it. Ask them why, how and what-if questions. It is interesting to see how a child's mind works. Some ideas make total sense, while others are only logical in your child's mind.

  • Encourage them to find their own answer to the questions you ask, but be on hand to guide them to the correct answer. If your child gets frustrated when they do not know the answer, give them tools to help them figure it out. Ask questions that can lead your child to the answer, or let them use the internet or other resource to research the issue further. This will teach your child that there is always a way to find the answer, even if it is through Google.

  • 5. Have them ask you questions

  • It is important to ask your child questions, but it is also important for them to ask you questions. While your child is exploring, use prompts to have them ask you questions. Ask them what they want to know. Ask them what they are thinking.

  • By having your child come up with questions to ask you, it teaches them that it is okay to not have all the answers. It is okay to ask for help, and it is okay to want to understand something to the fullest extent. These are important tools in helping someone learn.

  • 6. Encourage curiosity

  • If your child is really interested in space, encourage them to learn as much as they can. Don't just focus on the planets. Let them learn about the stars, galaxies, and how astronauts train. Watch YouTube videos, check books out from the library, and point out constellations at night. You don't have to invest a lot of money (or any) to encourage their development, but try to help them instead of stand in their way.

  • Curiosity is what leads to learning. Developing important learning skills at a young age can lead to a love for life-long learning. Don't be afraid to let your kids try new things, to touch, examine, and use things that may be above their age range, and always be ready to answer and ask questions.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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