A curious child is a happy child. One who is imaginative, playful, open-minded, and a critical thinker.
As adults, we should play our part in encouraging children to be more curious and ask more questions about the topics that interest them: from everyday things like why the sky goes dark at night to bigger concepts like why some people look or speak differently than others.
If you’re raising a child, here are four useful ways in which you can help encourage them to ask more questions and continue to learn about the world around them.
- Take the time to answer
Taking the time to answer carefully and thoughtfully is one of the most important things you can do to teach your child that asking questions is a great thing. If a child sees that you’re interested in answering their questions, and that you’re taking the time to do so, they’ll feel like what they have to say is important and adds value to your relationship.
Children don’t always have the best timing, but this shouldn’t mean that you should simply brush them off because you’re too busy to engage with them and their questions.
Showing a child that you’re annoyed by their questions can discourage them from mustering up the courage to do it again in the future and they might start to associate asking questions with being a nuisance – something you don’t want to see happen.
- Applaud their curiosity
Another great way to encourage your child to ask more questions is by celebrating the questions they’re already asking. Congratulate them for wanting to learn about something new and reward them for wanting to expand their knowledge.
Also, make sure that your child understands there is no thing as a silly or “wrong” question to ask, no matter how difficult some of them might seem to answer at the time. This is especially important for shy, introverted children who have a harder time than their counterparts when it comes to speaking up and expressing their feelings and thoughts.
- Ask them questions
I’ve talked about the importance of answering a child’s question with a question before when I wrote about developing critical thinking skills. By answering their questions with a question, you’ll be pushing them closer to formulating their own answers and understanding things on their own.
Plus, when you ask questions yourself, children also begin to understand that there’s nothing embarrassing about wanting to learn more about a certain topic. After all, their role model (you) also asks questions!
- Make it fun!
Lastly, you can allocate a certain time during the day where you can sit down with your child to ask and answer questions together. Turning this into a game and a fun activity will also show your child that formulating questions and looking for answers can be fun and exciting instead of intimidating.
When your child begins to associate asking questions with a good experience instead of something that makes them feel anxious or afraid, they’ll be more likely to pose questions at home, at school, or in other environments.
Asking questions is a part of growing up
Asking questions is an important part of developing critical thinking skills and problem-solving capabilities that will be extremely useful later on in their lives.
Parents and guardians should always strive to encourage their children to be curious, ask questions, and look for meaningful answers.
What other ways do you know to encourage children to ask more questions? Share some in the comments 🤔