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CURIOSITY II

Children are curious beings. Their job is to figure out how the world and the people in it work so kids are curious about everything.

Every child is curious. Parents cannot make a child curious or more curious but they can turn the curiosity off by not cheerfully answering all of the zillion questions a preschooler asks. Another turn-off is to always answer the child instead of sometimes saying, “What do you think?”

You can also enhance curiosity by asking questions of your child. “What does that red sign say?” “How many dimes do I need to make a dollar?”

Don’t rush your child or encourage quick answers. Give him or her time to think. Knowing that the sign says “STOP” can result in a quick answer so you reward the child by saying, “That’s exactly right!” But your goal is to lead your child’s natural curiosity on the path to critical thinking and it takes time to weigh all the possible answers to some questions.

Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know. Let’s go look it up together.” Take young children to the picture dictionary (every house should have one) or a child’s encyclopedia. If you can’t finds the answer write down the question and the next time you go to the library ask the librarian for other references and involve your child in finding the information.

Show older children how a search engine works on a computer and, if you really want to make a 10 year old feel grownup, ask the child to do a search for you. It’s good for children to learn all the ways we have of getting information before they have to do a research paper at school.

Curiosity has another component besides getting a quick answer. That component is persistence to find out more about a subject you are really interested in. Everybody does research. You may be looking for the cheapest place to buy tires or a good repair person to fix the dishwasher. You ask people, look in the newspaper, check out the yellow pages, go on line. You make notes of the information you collected, weigh the evidence, and make a decision. This is the same process your child will use in school and in life. So let your child see what you do and involve the child in what you are doing whenever possible. Sometimes children don’t see the connection between school work and real life. Point the way using your child’s natural curiosity and pride in helping you do an important task.

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