Is there a way to make sure your children are never bored? To the delight of all the tired parents whose activity idea banks are fast running dry, there is! However, the answer is not what you might expect.
Curious children are never bored. Even without a given activity to do, the cogs of their brains are constantly at work, wondering about the world around them. Curiosity is the inherent drive that spurs them to explore and learn, and they often find ways to satisfy their thirst for knowledge, be it through reading voraciously, active experimentation, or asking a lot of questions.
Apart from keeping them engaged, curiosity is also a valuable quality as it promotes deep cognitive skills like critical thinking and creativity. So, developing a curious mind seems like a wonderful thing to do!
Now that your child is at home, the full responsibility falls on you, the parent, to keep your child’s curiosity alive. Does your child need a little push to keep them motivated to learn more about the world? Pick up some tips here!
Frame problems as learning opportunities
Got a toy stuck in a tree? Or has their toy train stopped working? Rather than lament that they can’t play anymore, guide them to see the problem in a different light. Frame the problem as an opportunity for learning. What can they do to solve the problem?
You can give them a little head start by suggesting some things they can try. Soon, your child should be able to think of more solutions themselves and try them out. Taking them through this problem-solving process gets them to question and explore how things work, and apply creative ideas to arrive at a workable solution.
It has probably happened many times: Your child won’t stop asking you questions! Finally, you might ignore your child altogether, or tell them to be quiet. Indeed, children sometimes ask the weirdest questions at the most inappropriate times. However, parents need to be careful about the signals they send when they dismiss their children’s genuine acts of curiosity.
If you want your child to retain their sense of curiosity, you should be rewarding curiosity by acknowledging and answer their questions. If they asked a question that impressed you, tell them, “That’s a brilliant question!” If you are in a situation where you can’t answer their question immediately, acknowledge the question and promise to return to it again at a more suitable time.
Look for answers together
Children often ask parents so many questions, because they expect the adults to have all the answers! But when that’s not the case, what can you do?
Have your child realise that curiosity and learning is a lifelong process. You might not know the answer, but you can find ways to learn about it. Explore resources like books or the internet together so you can equip your child with the skills to learn independently as they grow.
Provide avenues for open-ended play
Not all play is created equal. While there is a time and place for toys and games with set instructions, constructive play is also crucial for developing a child’s curiosity and creativity. Open-ended toys like building blocks, play dough, and dolls are beneficial for encouraging a child to wonder ‘What can I do with this?’ or ‘How can I make this using these materials?’
Through tinkering, kids discover how things work and how they can manipulate tools to creative ends. It might also get them curious about what will happen when they use different materials, or use materials in different ways.
One of the best things you can gift your child when they are young is a curious mind. Make good use of your time at home this week to spur on your child’s curiosity!
Having a school that is on the same page with this goal will benefit your child leaps and bounds in nurturing their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking as well. One international school in Singapore worth looking at is the International School. From the IB PYP level, children are led in an inquiry-based learning environment to encourage independent thinking and discovery. These thinking skills will continue to serve the students well even as they embark on conquering the IB diploma subjects in high school.
So, if you’re keen on nurturing your child’s curiosity, you now know what to do!