By Sinead Hamill
Children are curious by nature and it stands to reason; how else are there fresh new adventurers to learn about the vast and fascinating world they live in? Why? What? When? Where? How? Sound familiar? Believe it or not, according to studies done in the UK, young children are thought to ask between 300 and 400 questions per day, with four-year-old girls being the most inquisitive. I can almost see some of you nodding in recognition right now – you believe it!
However often you may feel like ignoring or fobbing off your child’s constant questioning, stay strong, take a deep breath and remember that natural curiosity is something to be encouraged and supported in order for your child to become a curious adult; something that will benefit him/her hugely in their everyday lives.
The benefits of being curious include:
Successful relationships- Curious people tend to show more interest in others, and display good listening skills. People find it much easier to warm to someone who seems genuinely interested in them. Having an interest in many topics also makes for good conversation. Curious people tend to have more original, interesting conversation, ideas and viewpoints, making them very attractive to others.
Ease of learning – Being curious tends to make people more observant of their surroundings and things they choose to study. Of course, with improved focus and a genuine interest to learn, we accumulate and retain new information faster, easier and at a wider scale.
An eye for detail– Curious people tend to look and wonder about things in greater detail, wanting to gather as much information as they can. For this reason they may notice and observe things, not quite at surface level, which others might miss.
Higher intellectualism – Studies have shown that levels of curiosity are linked with intelligence levels, improved memory, and problem-solving skills.
Success – Curious people are more likely to take risks in their pursuit for new, novel experiences and wonderment. It is through taking risks that discoveries are made, and quite often is a main contributing factor in achieving ones dreams
Are you starting to see the plus side of your child’s constant questioning? You many now even be asking ‘How can I help support
and encourage my child’s curious nature?’
Response– Answer their questions as best you can. Sometimes this may be a case of providing resources such as books, internet sites, educational programmes, toys and such. A prepared environment allows children to make discoveries for themselves at a rate that suits their level of learning. It also gives you a bit of a rest!
Excursions – Young children are primarily hands-on learners. Taking trips within your community or occasionally further afield provides new alternative learning experiences. Trips to the post office, farm, fire-station, airport, car-wash etc. can be fun, mind-enhancing experiences for a child, stretching their imaginations and giving them insight into how the world works.
Stay curious – Asking questions yourself not only gives your child the language s/he needs, but will also stimulate curiosity within your child, who learns by example.
Exercise and experiment– Allow your child to take part in activities such as cleaning, gardening and baking, of course with their safety being paramount. These are prime opportunities for experimenting and making discoveries. Draw your child’s attention to interesting things around them. Listen and chat about the observations they make.
Follow the leader – If your child expresses an interest in a particular subject, follow up on this. Provide as much learning material as you can and take relevant trips that will enhance and enrich their joy and wonder. If you’re stuck for ideas, the internet will always have a wealth of possibilities waiting to be discovered.
With curiosity being so beneficial, I’m beginning to wonder if it really did kill that cat - perhaps it was more a case of old age!