A 1964 study found that babies as young as two months old when presented with different patterns will show a marked preference for the unfamiliar ones. Do you know that an eight month old’s brain starts posing questions by pointing to objects? So even before kids can walk or talk they are ready with questions. There is clear scientific evidence that children who are curious and explorative fare better at school, work and even relationships later in life. So how do you cultivate curiosity in your little one?
The right space to ask questions -There are no wrong questions. You might not have answers to all the questions your children ask, but that is no reason to discourage them It is perfectly all right to seek the answer together. It just makes it all the more interesting and memorable for them. Watch a caterpillar spin itself into a chrysalis or a bird build a nest in answer to their questions on birds and butterflies.
Thou shalt not judge – There is no one way of doing anything. The sooner we can impress this on kids, the better it will be for their curiosity. They will explore different ways to do things and discover their comfort zones.
Go ahead and explore – Go to an art gallery, go to a play, go to a game. Life cannot be experienced by just sitting on a couch and watching it on a screen or even just reading about it. Get out of your comfort zone. If you do not play sports, enroll in one for your child’s sake. Your being there will empower them to try it for themselves. You might learn a thing or two as well.
Do not always insist on colouring within the lines – Roses are red but they can be green, blue, or all the hues of the rainbow. Staying within lines might be a great concept, but maybe your little one can do better by colouring outside. Let them find their own ways to express themselves.
Give them the tools – The playground to play in, the park or garden to marvel at nature and the toy to explore with. If you want your little munchkins to explore putting a screen in front of them is not the answer. Google might be synonymous with searching for answers but some answers are best discovered through old-fashioned touch, feel and try. Toys that have the child do things instead of doing it all for the child are always the best option.
No trophy endings. Curiosity for its own sake is great. When you offer a reward to complete a task, the child gets more interested in the reward and not what they are doing. Let them be, and everyone wins!
So go ahead, take kids to museums, for treks, for park visits, for nature walks, to science museums, or just do some star gazing. Aren’t you curious about what your little one will ask next?