By Blake Herzog
Curiosity is an essential skill for learners of all ages, one that is innate but must be developed throughout childhood for students to realize their full potential.
There are plenty of suggestions out there for fostering that trait in both children and adults. Here are a few places to start:
Break out of routine (occasionally)
Everything you’ve heard about kids needing, even craving, routine is true. But having them move outside the box from time to time stimulates their curiosity and opportunities for discovery.
For little children it can be something as small as introducing an unfamiliar food at breakfast; school-age youth can try a different physical activity for their workout or spend an afternoon shadowing somebody at their job.
While you’re at it look for ways to change up your own routine.
Point out ambiguities, uncertainties
Whenever something doesn’t go according to plan or confounds you or your child’s expectations, talk about it and ask them what they think caused things to go on a different path. This will help them answer questions for themselves during the day and seek out problems they might be able to solve.
Remember it’s OK to be uncomfortable
Many kids feel uneasy with a change in routine or struggle with answering a question or understanding a subject, so you’ll need to point out how monotonous life would be if everything went according to plan and they already knew all the answers.
Help them appreciate the adventures inherent in learning about themselves and the world, and never forget to take this lesson to heart.
Be ready to answer their questions
It’s hard to know exactly when your kids are going to hit you with which question, but you know them better than anyone. Being able to give them valuable feedback on whatever might be on their mind will encourage them to keep looking for more answers through you and everywhere else.
Try to anticipate what they’ll ask and how you’ll answer. This will obviously build your own curiosity, too.