How to Raise Miss (or Mr.) Curiosity

If anyone knows Michael, I’m sure you can only imagine the curiosity with which he lived life as a child. It seems that our oldest has inherited his questioning ability, as well as his ability to remember. I wanted to make sure early on that we did our best to foster this passion for learning new things—and for her to know that she is taken seriously, especially if she has a question. There are lots of “What’s that?” and “Where are we going?”—sometimes over and over and over and over… The other day we were talking about a new movie that they had been watching in her class over the week—that may involve lots of snow and songs and a snowman. I’ll let you figure that out. Anyway, I had said a certain phrase that happens to be the title of a certain song from the movie. Abby: “Oh! They sing that in the movie!” Me: “Oh yea? How does it go?” Abby: “Ummm….I don’t know. Let’s find out!” And for one split second, I thought we might be doing this parenting think all right. I am not a pro—I only know how to go to age 2 years and 10 months so far. But, practically, there are a couple of things that I think are priceless in raising a curious child.

  1. Patience. Let them ask the question over and over. Repetition is important in learning. That’s how we do it in medical school…
  2. Turn the question back around. Once you’ve told them “what that is” five times, ask them! “Well what is it?” You’d be surprised how much they really are paying attention.
  3. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”. I think it’s important for my daughters to know that I, in fact, do not know everything.
  4. Follow through. Make “Let’s find out!” an automatic follow-up to not knowing…and then look it up together! If you can’t in that moment, write it down or put it in your phone. Then take the 2 seconds to look up what “giraffe” is in Arabic.
  5. Let them experiment. Take the time to let them “help” you or to learn what you are doing. Cooking, cleaning, doctoring…You never know what passion you might ignite along the way…

Miss Curiosity Again, I’m not a pro. I don’t have a degree in child development or anything awesome. These are just things we’ve picked up along the way. Anyone else have ideas? Please share!