You’ve surely heard the familiar proverb, “curiosity killed the cat.” Yet, what about people? As it turns out, building up walls around certain skills, topics, or types of knowledge can do more potential harm than good. The fact of the matter is that a naturally curious spirit remains a key factor in children’s growth and development today.
The ability to seek and acquire new information or ways of understanding is at the heart of life-long learning. Let’s examine childhood wonder and how to nurture your child’s curiosity closer. Here’s what to keep in mind to support their interests, inquisitiveness, and well-being.
Let Kids Be Kids: Problem-Solving and Play
A child’s sense of discovery derives mainly from unstructured play and the freedom to try and fail. Letting kids be kids is an effective method for building their dynamic problem-solving skills, counteracting boredom, and cultivating their inner scientists. It also fosters self-sufficiency and positively influences their perspective.
Seeking opportunities for curiosity can also become one of the best coping strategies for children feeling stress or anxiety. Unchecked stressors can otherwise turn into some not-so-good habits. As a healthy distraction, curiosity serves as a beneficial reminder of the possibilities for fun and joy accessible in the world.
Acknowledge and Ask Open-Ended Questions
If you have a naturally curious child, you can more greatly nurture their curiosity by acknowledging their questions. Remember: acknowledging a question is not the same as answering one. Let them know that you heard the question and are thinking about it. Then, encourage the discovery of the answer together. This helps children understand that their questions are worth exploring, even if the answer may be unknown or unexpected.
You can also guide their growth through direct open-ended questions. Include the five W’s of wonder—who, what, where, when, and why—to prompt their thinking. There’s no need to spoon-feed them tons of questions at once, though. Give your child time to ponder and reflect before diving into another topic. As their knowledge grows, so will their motivation to learn and discover.
Give Experiences Instead of Solely Gifts
Last but certainly not least, nothing is more vital for the spirit of inquiry than spending quality time together. To foster childhood wonder, you should aim to help your kid create vivid experiences with friends and family. This is how to best nurture your child’s curiosity. Help them explore the wide world and their local surroundings, as adventuring can always lead them down fresh and thrilling paths full of fruitful learning.
The more experiences they gather over time, the better they’ll be at differentiating between them in their memories. They’ll be able to reflect on what makes each experience special and find value in them. The collecting of these forever memories—and the yearning for fresh ones—will help keep the flame of awe burning in their lives for years to come.