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Your role in developing your child's curiosityBabies are born to learn. With everything being so new to them, they are curious by nature. Here are a few things you can do to foster curiosity and an interest in learning. Nurturing your child's curiosity will help them learn faster and learn more.
- Model curiosity - as adults, many of us tend to lose the trait of curiosity somewhere along the way and continue living life with what we know. Take different routes home, try new things, order new food and let them know that it's good to know what else is out there.
- Answer their "who, what, when, where and why" questions - the sheer enjoyment of discovering new things make children ask questions all the time. Encourage them to learn and ask by answering every question they have. If you don't have an answer for all their questions, read the next point.
- Appreciate their curiosity - say things to appreciate their inquisitive behaviour. Things like "Wow, it's so impressive that you notice things that others don't".
- Take a walk - change your environment, take them busy places and listen to sounds, notice little things and show them how to be observant and take in their surroundings.
- Turn their questions into little missions - toddlers ask many questions that parents cannot answer so don't be afraid. List down their questions, let them see you do it and then go to a library, bookstore or the good old internet and find the answers together.
- Ask open-ended questions - make them think. Rather than "how's that book that you're reading?" or "how's school?", ask questions like "What is the book you're reading about? Any interesting scenarios?" or "What did you learn at school today that you did not know yesterday?". The answers you don't want are "fine" or "good". Your aim should be to ask thought-provoking questions that will stimulate their mind and require a structured answer. Ask them who, what, when, where and why questions.
- Failure is acceptable - teach them that it is OK to fail at some things and that they will never know unless they try. What you do not want is them to avoid new things or risk trying new experiences because of their fear of failing.
- Let them have their moment - when they discover new things and share them with you, rather than instantly adding your input, sit back and let them enjoy their moment and new discovery and ask questions that will encourage them to learn more about it, then tell them what you know. All children have a desire to play, create things, explore their surroundings and discover new things. Curiosity will build their interest in learning new things, finding things they enjoy and stumbling upon things that will stimulate them.