The more curious a child is, the more they learn, so let’s have a closer look at some ways we can help our children become more interested in the world around them. Nurturing your child’s curiosity is one of the best ways to help your child become a lifelong learner.
Marvel at the world around you
Your child will notice the way you interact with the world, so by speaking out loud the things you’re observing, your child will start to see you’re interested in the way the world works. Spend some time together examining the clear blue sky, the hot yellow sun, the wind blowing in the trees and so on.
Encourage natural interests
Encourage your child to participate in natural activities such as music, dancing, painting and the like. Children learn so much more by participating in activities they enjoy doing. Go outside as often as possible, and enjoy rolling around in the grass, catching bugs with a bug catcher or stomping in the snow, for example. These activities all provide multiple sensory experiences that will stimulate creativity and learning.
Age appropriate responses
Your child will ask question, after question, after question (!) and this curiosity should be nurtured and encouraged. The way you respond to questions will differ depending on the age of your child at the time. Ask your child to explain their thoughts on the topic before you answer their question. This will encourage them to think about the question, and not just ask a question for questions sake!
You won’t know everything
You’ll soon come to learn that unfortunately you won’t be able to answer all the questions, all of the time. Your child will put you to the test (unknowingly of course!). If you don’t know the answer, just say so, and this is a great way to teach your child that not knowing something is okay. This is also a lovely opportunity to do some further research together. Frequent trips to the library are another good way to encourage learning.
Ask open ended questions
Open ended questions are ones that can’t be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response, but ones to which your child will need to elaborate. This encourages development of their own beliefs and ideas, and opens up the way for broader discussions.
Create an interesting environment
Regular outings, and exposure to different surroundings and circumstances will allow your child to continue learning and adapting to new situations. Change up their toys every so often, so they’re always engaged and curious about play time.
Redirect, don’t discourage
Your child may want to play with water, and may do so by pouring her sippy-cup onto the floor at dinner time. Encourage this exploration by taking her outside, or to the bathtub (for example), and allowing her to tip and pour as much as she likes! Foster the curiosity by encouraging the play, but redirect it to a safer or more sanity-saving environment.
Every day is a new opportunity to learn new things for your child, and so exposing them to as many new activities and experiences as possible will likely foster a life-long love of learning within your child. Enjoy!