Curiosity is a vital element of learning, and something most parents want to encourage. Nurturing and supporting your child’s natural instinct for discovery is a combination of structured design and spontaneous actions.
Great ways you can support your child’s curiosity and instill a lifelong love of learning.
- Encourage questions: Children ask great questions, such as, ‘Why do dogs make different noises than cats?’. Phrase your answer in a way that prompts more questions and discuss them further. That way, even if you don’t have a definitive answer, you can explore the possibilities together, so leading to further queries and increased learning.
- Try to understand the meaning behind the questions: For instance, when you’re asked, ‘Why d’you have to go to work?’ is probably more about wanting to spend time with you, rather than a desire to understand that you have to pay the bills, keep your boss happy, meet deadlines etc. Answering constructively, rather than simply reeling off a list of reasons, will bolster your child’s confidence.
- Ask questions too: Conversations should always be a two-way street, so ask your child questions. This is an excellent method of sparking curiosity, plus their answers can be great fun. Questions like, ‘If you could have a superpower, what would it be?’ Or, ‘If you could create a brand-new animal, what would it be?’.
- Let them be a child: This is so important, and one that can be quite difficult to accomplish at times, thanks to your natural caring instinct to correct and show the ‘right’ way to do things. But the key to learning is, quite simply, an educational journey. And the ultimate way to do this is to make mistakes, therefore determining what not to do in the future. This in-bred ‘risk assessment’ feature is curiosity working at its best and, as long as they’re not in any danger, let them explore the world in the way that makes sense to them.
- Be interested yourself: Nothing encourages further exploration for a child than seeing mum or dad (or caregiver) being enthusiastic about something. Point out possums in trees, beautiful plants, that bug crawling across the footpath, the way the sunlight shines through the leaves, bird song.
- Encourage role play: Carry out a pretend phone conversation with your toddler, get them to play at being a fireman, make a ‘car’ at the table so they can drive – in short, get them to play out experiences to promote curiosity in day-to-day activities.
- Surprise them: These do not have to be monumental events, because little surprises work just as well. For instance, slip a note into their lunchbox, bring someone they love over for lunch, organise a tea party for all their favourite toys, arrange to take a neighbour’s puppy for a walk.
- Get messy in the kitchen: Baking a cake is a wonderful method to show children how raw ingredients turn into a yummy treat. Children love seeing results, and the transformation from flour, sugar, butter etc. through the sticky texture of cake batter to the end product, with its smells and delicious taste, is a great (and highly enjoyable) experience for all involved.
- Visit places: Many, many places. Trips to the park, to the coast, local pool, café, cinema, station to look at the trains, airport to see planes take off… Getting out and about with your child is fun, opens up their world and, as you can see from these suggestions, need not cost a fortune.
Encouraging curiosity is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child, stimulating the desire to become a life-long learner.
When it comes to trusting others with the most precious person in your life it’s essential to know that not only is their physical security well-served, but that the psychological aspects are also well addressed.
From encouraging their curiosity to the ultimate standard of premises and safety for their charges, it’s no wonder the name of Nido has become synonymous with the pinnacle standard of childcare and development. Find out more at www.nidoearlyschool.com.au or pop into your local Service to see their team in action.