Cultivating Curiosity

Children are born with a natural tendency toward curiosity. This is the way that we as humans naturally learn about the world. We have all experienced this as children are constantly asking a plethora of questions like: 

‘Why do you wear your hat like that?’

‘What are those spots on your face?’

‘What do you like to play?’

‘Why is the sky blue?’

‘Why do some dogs have long fur and some have short?’

Curiosity leads to a deeper engagement with what the child is learning. 

Through asking questions and finding the answers on their own, children learn many skills. They learn observation, patience, communication, theory development, and how to use new information to revise thoughts.

They learn that it is ok to take risks, they learn that sharing insight is important, they get the courage to try and replicate their learning. Children become empowered by choice and take ownership over the things that they are learning. This makes the learning deeper! When children are invested in their questions – they understand further, see connections to other areas of life, and can apply their learning to everyday. 

It is so easy to answer kids’ questions with statements like – ‘’because I do’, ‘because they are’, or ‘that’s just the way that it is.’ Those answers are easy, but, they are not helpful. By not taking a few extra moments to engage in children’s curiosities we are, without meaning to, squashing their desire to wonder. Diminishing their desire to learn about the things around them. 

Try by giving a quick explanation – ‘I like to wear my hat like this because it keeps the sun out of my eyes.’ This shows children that actions are intentional and that we are in charge of comfort. 

‘These spots on my face are called freckles. Everyone looks a little different but we are all special the way that we are.’ A quick explanation can lead to guiding inclusive thoughts about others.

If you don’t know an answer – tell that to the child, ‘I don’t know why the sky is blue, but I have always wondered that. When we get home let’s try to find the answer together.’

Kids ask questions to learn about the world and to learn about other people. We want our children to grow up being critical consumers of the world – understanding it and understanding their role in it. 

In order to do this, we have to continue to allow our children to ask questions, and when they do – participate in the wondering with them. 

Help your child fall in LOVE with reading!

Does your child moan and groan when it is time to read? Does it feel like pulling teeth to get them to sit and listen to or read a story?

We know that reading is vital to gaining knowledge, understanding the world, and one of the ultimate life skills. But how in the world can we get our child to fall in with love reading? 

There are a few different strategies to try to help your child become a reader. The first and most important one is PATIENCE. The parent must have patience. Each person has their own pace of learning. Their own pace of growth. This is true for children and adults alike. 

Children usually do not like reading for two main reasons – they have not found what they like to read either in subject or format OR they lack confidence in their reading skills or are reading books that are too hard for them. 

Here are some tips to help with both of those things!

Help children become aware of their own interests. Your child might say that books are ‘boring’ – if so, keep trying different topics until something hits an interest spot. We don’t know what we don’t know, and exposure to all sorts of different subjects can help to find something new and intriguing. 

Try many different book styles and formats. There are so many different formats of reading material. Think about all of the different things you read in a day. This blog post, instagram captions, news articles, signs, grocery lists the list goes on. Some different formats you could try with your children are: magazines, non fiction books, fiction novels, poetry, reviews of movies or games, comic books, instructional books like how to craft or cook and/or graphic novels. 

Build on a curiosity. Most children have certain topics or activities that intrigue them. Find a story that has a similar character to one they love elsewhere, is on a topic or sport they are interested in, or a nonfiction book that describes more about something they want to know about. Does your child love video games? If so, get them a cheat code book or an instructional book on how to defeat a level.

Start small. Overwhelming your child and forcing them to read day in and day out will create more resistance and a more negative attitude toward reading. Start with small chunks of time and varied approaches. 

Model it.  Engaging in reading in front of our children is so important – children will not think something is important if you do not also do it. Point out when you are reading it that your child might not have noticed before. Say out loud ‘I am going to read the grocery list’ ‘I loved reading that comic strip’ Show them that it is something that you do in different ways everyday. 

Engage with your child. Read with your children. This shared experience can build your bond. This is also a great opportunity to help children who don’t have a lot of confidence in their reading ability feel comfortable knowing that they have your support with the text. 

Talk about books. Ask your child about the texts that they are engaged in. Ask them what they liked and didn’t like about it. Engaging in conversation about the things children read (books, reviews, grocery lists etc) helps to show the importance of reading. It also helps you to get to know them as a reader and choose things in the future that you learn they will like. 

Growing your child as a reader does not have to be a difficult task. Take a deep breath, be prepared to have patience and start trying some of these different strategies with your children.