Let’s Find Out! Three Tips For Raising Curious Kids
Young children are naturally curious. They have an itch to explore their world and figure out how things work. And parents have compelling reasons to foster this inherent inquisitiveness.
Curiosity is tied to academic achievement, with research showing “unequivocally that when people are curious about something, they learn more, and better.”
For parents, children’s unending questions can challenge our knowledge—and our patience. But if we want to nurture their curiosity, perhaps the best response we can give is simply this: “Good question. Let’s find out.”
Here’s how that might look:
Let’s explore: Rather than squelching toddlers’ and preschoolers’ curiosity, redirect it if necessary: “You can’t do that, but you can do this!” If they want to know what it’s like to draw on walls, make some bathtub paint and set them loose in the tub. Take kids on nature walks and follow their pace—as they stop to dig in the dirt, look at bugs, pick up leaves and hunt for “treasure.” If you let them explore independently—particularly with open-ended toys such as blocks and “make believe” materials—they get curious and are more likely to find new, creative ways to play.
Let’s look it up: In the information age, the answer to many “Why?” questions is in our pocket. When kids stump you—as mine regularly do me—it’s easier than ever to say, “I don’t know. Let’s look it up!” But before going online or to the bookshelf, first ask your child, “What do you think?”
Let’s ask an expert: Help your curious child see that we are surrounded by experts who are willing to share their knowledge. Curiosity can drive connections. Start by thinking about your network of friends and family—and how they might be able to share their skills, hobbies, and life experiences with your kids.