Curiosity is a sense of wonder and openness about the future. It comes partly from the brain wanting to understand or make order out of something that doesn’t make sense. If you have a young child at home, you know that they see the world through the lens of curiosity. They have lots of questions. Curiosity is associated with the release and flow of dopamine and seratonin in the brain, generating a sense of pleasure. Curious brains are also better at learning. Here are some ideas to encourage and help your child maintain a sense curiosity and wonder:
- Be curious with them. Respond to some of the questions with a question of your own.
“How come ice floats?”
“Hmmm… I wonder what else floats on water?”
- Enjoy their process of discovery. Guide them to help figure out the answers to their questions themselves. Children are natural scientists. The pleasure comes from the process of discovery, not knowing the answer.
- Share your sense of wonder. Ask lots and lots of questions using “what” and “how”. (Not as a quiz – but with genuine curiosity or with a sense of joy in helping them discover.)
- Help your children learn how to figure things out. When your child expresses curiosity or asks a question about why something is the way it is, help them find out – make a trip to the library or help think about how to get the answer online. Celebrate the process of figuring out the answer.
- Model curiosity. Muse out loud – let your children hear you wondering about something.
- Make reading interactive – stop in the middle of a story and ask what they think might happen or what would they do in the situation. Change a character and ask how it might make the story different. For example, what if the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t hungry?