“Why is the sky blue?” “Why does my belly rumble when I am hungry?” “Where does lightning or thunder come from?”
“Where, how, why do we…” If you are a parent, at some point your child likely has followed you around and peppered you with questions.
While sometimes these moments can make you want to pull your hair out, you might be relieved to know that your kids wanting to investigate and get answers is actually a good thing.
According to a 2018 study that focused on kindergarten students and was featured in Pediatric Research, the more curious the child, the more likely he or she may be to perform better in school — regardless of economic background.
“Curiosity is characterized by the joy of discovery and the desire for exploration and is characterized by the motivation to seek answers to the unknown,” says lead researcher Dr. Prachi Shah, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital and an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development in a press release. “Promoting curiosity in children, especially those from environments of economic disadvantage, may be an important, underrecognized way to address the achievement gap.”
It’s a good time to help kids be curious, no matter their age.
The goal is to keep fostering your child’s spark to explore — and you can help them by engaging in hands-on, sensory activities.
For example, head to the nature center or your local park system to identify the wildlife and flowers. Has your child expressed an interest in a certain activity or sport? Why not have your child give it a try? Or, pick up a book about that subject, do a craft or talk to a professional in that field.
Curiosity is not limited to kids. Parents can set the example by exploring their own new interests this year, or maybe even revisiting some favorites.
With the ending of my favorite TV series, going to my kids’ sporting events and attending graduate school, I have been feeling a little disjointed when it comes to my own creative outlets.
I decided to write poetry, as it was something I loved to do when I was a kid. While most of my verses seem to be about my family — and likely will never see the light of day — it helps me to get energized.
Embrace the “why” moments for both you and your kids.
By feeding your child’s curiosity, it’s essentially aiding them in their development and learning — even if you have to answer a million questions to get there.
A version of this column appeared in the July 2019 print issue of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine as the monthly “Editor’s Note.”