Children are naturally inquisitive. They ask a lot of questions, want to explore, and they strive to find out how things work. They learn with their eyes, their hands, and their minds.
As soon as a child is born, their inquisitiveness kicks in. They put things their mouths, they follow you with their eyes, wondering what you’re doing. They listen to sounds, trying to work out what they are. That curiosity continues as they grow.
And it’s a wonderful thing!
Curiosity is a child’s door to the world. It helps them foster a keen passion for learning and it’s one of the best ways to arm them with the knowledge and know-how as they grow into well-rounded adults.
Why is it Important For a Child to be Curious?
Curiosity has long been considered a child’s super-power. Yet, it can also be a slight annoyance to parents sometimes. Constant questions and ‘why’ can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that this is how your child learns. It’s how they understand the world around them; they’re showing that they’re desperate to take onboard more information. It’s a good thing!
So, it’s vital to nurture that curiosity and not to push it away.
But there’s more reasons why curiosity is a good thing.
- Curiosity pushes a child to want to learn to find out more
- It helps them to love learning, which carries on as they grow, and they understand more complex subjects
- It helps to develop their problem-solving skills
- Encourages the development of social skills as they want to learn more about other people and the world around them
- Curiosity helps a child when they feel uncertain, because they’re more likely to want to understand than to run away
- Curiosity stops a child from being bored
- It can help them be more creative and encourages ‘out of the box’ ways of thinking
So, now you can see why curiosity might have killed the cat but it’s a fantastic thing for your child.
How to Nurture Curiosity
Now you know the many benefits of childhood curiosity, how can you help to develop nurture that curiosity and stop your child from no longer wondering about the world around them?
Lead by Example
Remember that children often emulate their parents, so if you want to nurture your child’s curiosity, then show them that you’re curious too. When you’re out and about on a walk, talk about the trees and the colours of their leaves, and ask yourself questions about the weather.
Your child will see that you’re curious about the world around you and they’ll start to wonder about everything they see too.
Follow Your Child’s Interests
Few children are curious about absolutely everything; they’re likely to have specific areas that they’re very interested in, and they’ll want to learn everything about it. So, it’s a good idea for you to follow your child’s interests and encourage them.
It’s important not to push your child’s interests aside or tell them not to do it. For instance, if a little boy shows an interest in ballet, allow him to explore that; don’t tell him that “boys don’t do that” and then try to replace it with something more so-called boy-like. Similarly, if a little girl wants to learn how cars work, help her to learn.
Whatever your child is interested in, facilitate it. If they’re super-interested in the bugs in the garden, buy them a child-friendly spade and bucket and head outside to explore with them. Ask them questions about what they’re seeing and read books together about the subject.
Answer The Questions Your Child Asks
If your child asks endless questions, don’t tell them to be quiet; answer them instead. However, you have to answer your child’s question in an age-appropriate way. You will answer a question posted by a three-year-old much differently to a nine-year-old.
Be as detailed as you can be and use language they will understand. And be sure to ask them questions back to make sure that they understand what you’re telling them.
But if you really don’t know the answer to the question they’re asking, it’s fine to tell them that. It’s actually beneficial because it shows your child that there’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answer to everything in the world.
However, then suggest that perhaps you can learn together. Maybe you can look online together or go to the library and find a book to read together.
Encourage Your Child to Read
Assuming your child is old enough to read, encourage them to read books about the subject they’re interested in. You can also show them websites they can read but a book is far more immersive and also avoids untrue content making its way into their mind.
Choose books that are suitable for their age and, as before, read together if you can. Books are a fantastic way to nurture curiosity and teach your child about the world around them.
However, we read far less than we ever used to. The Internet has taken over how we live our lives, but you can help your child to embrace books by encouraging them to be excited about reading. Also, let them choose the books they want to read; this will help them to tailor their reading to subjects they find joy in.
Your child will no doubt ask you several questions per day, but you can ask them questions too. If they’re interested in a particular subject, ask them questions about it or ask them what they’ve learned.
Make sure your questions are open-ended, such as “what do you think about …”, rather than “it’s good, isn’t it?” The latter will just be answered with a yes or a no, but the former requires a longer response.
Doing this will help your child to learn better communication and it will also get them to open up, strengthening your bond. This is a great way to get a window into your child’s experiences at school and what they’re thinking.
Use Toys That Allow Creative Play
Certain toys can only be used in a specific way, and they’re great for their purpose. But it’s a good idea to use toys that have no specific use and instead can be used in creative ways.
For instance, pens and pencils, sand and different tools, paint, building blocks, etc. These can all be used in many ways and allows your child to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills. They’ll no doubt spend hours playing, using their imagination, and building their curiosity.
These types of toys can also be stored away very easily, often in storage boxes. So, they’re not going to take up much space. For sure, they’re messy when your child is playing with them, but that’s the best type of play!
Create an Environment That Stimulates Curiosity
Colourful, fun environments are far more interesting than regular, boring environments. So, create a play space for your child that is full of colour, texture, and different objects they can explore.
Even something as simple as a bright picture on the wall will be enough to pique their curiosity and get them wondering about it. They might even make up stories about what they think it is.
While not all spaces in your home can be designed in this way, at least have a dedicated space, such as a playroom or your child’s bedroom, where you can be a little more creative when it comes to design and décor.
Curiosity Needs to Live On
As we grow, we tend to lose a lot of our creativity and curiosity, but it’s a sad state of affairs. Allowing your child to explore their curiosity is a wonderful thing and it will allow them to explore the world around them and dream of far-off lands.
The tips above will help you to nurture your child’s curiosity but remember that you also need to be patient. It can be frustrating when your child is asking endless questions but remember they’re not doing it to annoy you. Instead, they’re trying to learn.
Join your child in their curiosity journey and you might learn many new things too! We tend to lose our wonderment of the world around us as we grow, and perhaps by joining your child in their learning journey, you can regain that child-like joy yourself!