There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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When early humans were evolving curiosity must have been a useful trait. “I wonder what there is on the other side of that hill? What if I climb this tree and pick that pretty round thing. What if I taste it?” (Of course, curiosity had to be tempered with caution or humans would not have survived!)

Curiosity is still is a useful trait. My dictionary defines curiosity as “a desire to know or learn.” In order to become a mature individual a baby must learn millions upon millions of things. A savvy parent helps this process by fostering curiosity so their child will develop and maintain that desire to learn.

How? Even though it is virtually impossible to stop a young child from learning during childhood, which has been referred to as the learning years, parents can enhance curiosity.

DON’T TELL, ASK! When your child is first learning to talk you point to things and say the word. After a while, change this tactic. Point to something and ask, “What is this?” Give the child time to figure it the answer but before frustration sets in give a hint or tell the answer and ask something easier so the child likes this game.

When your child asks you a question say, “What do you think it is?” “How do you think it works?” Give hints and the answer if necessary and make a big deal out of good answers.

When your child asks a question you can’t answer, look it up together. Ideally every household has a child’s dictionary, a good adult dictionary, and an encyclopedia or on-line access. Finances an issue? Start with a child’s dictionary. Hint: check out used book stores as children’s dictionaries get outgrown as do children’s clothes.

As your child grows up, questions shift from asking about a FACT to promoting thinking about a subject. “What would you do about global warming?” “What can you think of to help the homeless?” The idea is to help your child begin to think critically. Children living in today’s complex world need more than facts or they WILL be left behind.

Promote reading. I met a woman in her 90s the other day who never went to college. But she was highly educated and still intensely curious about the world from her lifelong reading.

Be curious yourself and share the results of your curiosity. “I read in the paper today that it is possible to make gasoline from sugar cane. Do you think that could help the environment?”

Let your kids see YOU look up things in the encyclopedia, be willing to change your mind after you hear an opposing argument that makes sense, try new recipes. Curiosity leads to knowledge and knowledge can lead to critical thinking.