Inside: Teach Your Children To Be Inquisitive In Life.
I was interested in many things growing up and found myself to be an inquisitive child. I’d often ask my dad questions about the type of work he was doing around the house. “Why do you wrap all the outdoor Christmas light plugs in electrical tape”? (So water doesn’t get inside and short the lights). I’d ask mom why I can’t stay up as late as they do? She’d tell me something along the lines of children needing more sleep than adults because kids are busier. Now the older I get the earlier I find myself going to bed.
Most children are born to be inquisitive, curious, and ask tons of questions. Children like to explore and use their imagination. An empty refrigerator box provided days of entertainment when you were a child. Oh, the things you could build with just one refrigerator box and a little imagination.
Inquisitive children love to use the word “why” and do incessantly. It can be one of the most annoying things we have to deal with as parents. As annoying as this stage can be in your parenting life, it’s best to embrace it and understand this is a pivotal time in your child’s development.
You have two choices as a parent when your child becomes inquisitive. Are you going to be the parent who is dismissive and says, “why in the world do you collect all these toy cars” or the parent who says “tell me more about each of your toy cars”?
Here are some ways to teach your children to be inquisitive.
Create an open dialogue and ask them questions
No topics should be off-limits if you want to create an open dialogue and an environment where children want to speak with you. The more questions you ask them the more they will learn that asking questions is how they get answers and learn. Start conversations that will make them think and offer an opinion.
Don’t always answer their questions
Most times if your child is asking a question they already have a feeling or a thought about what they are asking you. Don’t avoid your child’s question and walk away but instead, ask the question back to them. “Why is the sky blue, Dad?” ” That’s a great question, why do you think the sky is blue?”
Once you’ve listened to their answer you can share your thoughts as well. This will encourage your child to speak with you and share their opinions while also showing them that they might be able to find the answer on their own.
Point them in the right direction and help them find the answer to their question
In “ye olden days” when I was a child and my inquisitive mind was working overtime, I’d search through an encyclopedia (which even now is online) for an answer to any question I had. It was knowledge right at your fingertips in 26 huge volumes with each book representing a letter in the alphabet. Anything you wanted to know you could find. Now we have the internet and our friends Google, Siri, and Alexa to help us answer questions.
When your child asks a question that you don’t know the answer to, ask them where they think we could find an answer to that question. Sometimes it might be a book at the library, or sometimes it’s a trip to the computer. Either way, get your child involved in searching for the answer. This will also teach them that’s is alright if you don’t know everything and to not be embarrassed to ask for help.
Read with them and ask questions
Reading with your child is important for many reasons. Asking questions while you read will help keep your child inquisitive, curious, and involved. “What do you think will happen next”? “Why do you think he/she feels this way”? By asking questions as you read you will keep the child invested in discovering the outcome while helping them think more about what they’re reading.
A fun exercise is to ask them how you would have ended the book if you had written it. Ask this question and sit back and wait for the answers.
Encourage them to try new things and experiences
Trying new things and experiences can consist of new games, food, a sport, adventure, anything that is outside of the norm of what they are used to doing. Let them know that you enjoy trying new things as well so they know they aren’t in this new adventure alone. Join in when you can with them while you can and take a new class.
Let them explore
Sometimes we just need to let our children be children and explore. We don’t need to constantly hover over them. There will be scraped knees and bruises. It’s all part of growing up. Children need a routine but it’s also nice to occasionally let them have some random time to just explore.
Unfortunately, creativity has been lost or to some degree has shifted gears. With the advent of technology at every child’s fingertip going outside and discovering has been replaced with creating Tik Tok videos. Climbing trees has been replaced by speaking to each other via a Snapchat filter. It’s creative but not the same as building a fort in the woods or just riding your bicycle all day.
Spend time playing along with them
There are no better teaching moments than when you get the chance to play along with your children. My girls used to have a Barbie Hotel set when they were young and I would spend hours playing with them and that hotel. I’d be the front desk person while they were checking in to the hotel. Odd I know, but it taught them to ask questions, learn their name, and many other things.
We also had numerous tea parties and American Girl Doll parties and played endless games of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. I’ve been stuck in molasses swamp more times than I’d like to admit.
Be interested in the things your children are interested in and ask them to tell you more about it. If it’s baseball get your glove and have a catch and let them tell you about the sport. If it’s cooking, then let them cook you a meal in their Fisher-Price kitchen and go with it! An Easy-Bake Oven can make a cupcake and it might be the worst cupcake you’ve ever tasted but enjoy it for their benefit.
In my opinion, it’s always better to raise inquisitive children that ask questions. Being inquisitive and curious is how they learn. Create an open environment where they are willing to ask questions and can talk freely about all topics. Inquisitive children will grow up to be inquisitive adults and love to learn. The conversations might change when they get older but the concept is the same. In the end, all we want is to raise the child that gets older and asks “tell me more”.
What do you do with your children to make them inquisitive? Comment below.