Whether it’s through dance, art, music, writing, or whatever is your passion, it’s always important to teach our kids to express their creativity so that they can truly find out who they are.
But you know what’s equally important to encourage our kids that often goes unnoticed?
Hence the purpose for today’s blog post. It’s a topic that intrigues me.
I find myself researching more and more ways to ensure I am always sparking the curiosity corner in my children’s brain. I also endeavor to share my tips and trips on encouraging curiosity in children on my blog, ThinkBaby.org.
The curiosity to ask questions, to ponder, to try something new, to be motivated to learn, and the curiosity to figure out who they are.
I honestly didn’t realized how important this was with my first child until it was brought up to me by a mom friend of mine who had begun teaching her kids to read and write. She talked to me about how pondering is key for the proper development of their cognitive abilities.
Who knew, right?,
But don’t feel bad if you didn’t know this (I didn’t either), because believe it or not, this is something that frequently goes unnoticed to most parents because it’s something don’t really think about it! This is because we often assume it is learned naturally, but in reality, it is best taught to them as any other skill in their life.
I know, I know, it sounds so easy to teach them this, so why am I even writing this post, right?
I’m writing this,
Because it can actually stump a lot of parents on the proper way to do it (yes, including me), and can be incredibly hard when you have the most difficult children in the world (aka, my children) or if you have a shy child. I share more about whether it’s normal for your toddler to be shy, what might be causing their shyness and how to overcome it on my blog also.
I brought creativity up in the first part of this blog because my husband and I have found very creative ways to teach them these things that don’t become boring to them or make them frustrated (which is nearly impossible when you have a toddler!). I dove into a little more research on this topic as well and found several other very effective and easy ways you can incorporate this into your child’s everyday life that I want to share with other mamas who may be struggling with this as well!
Also check out this blog post (and it’s printable) about Kids Activities That Promote Creativity. Cheryl, the blogger behind, empoweredmomsandkids.com shares in this blog post over 85+ different ways to get the creativity flowing with your children. Definitely check it out and let me know what you think!
So, grab your pot of coffee (yes, pot. Not cup), and let’s begin!
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Encouraging Curiosity in Young Children
1 ♥ Always Challenge Their Abilities (And Make It Fun!)
Okay, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that anybody that stays in the same routine for too long will become bored and stagnant in furthering themselves in whatever it is.
A perfect example of this is when you’re really committed to the gym (I use the world ‘committed’ very loosely). When you only do certain exercises, you start to lose interest, your body begins to adjust to the exercise you’re doing, and you’re just not truly learning anymore (all around it’s just a big hot mess!).
It’s the same thing with our kids when they are learning new skills.
For this reason, my husband and I always put our kids in scenarios that challenge their abilities in fun and different ways.
- Something we started trying recently is reading to them and having them read back to us out in public. It doesn’t sound difficult, but it makes all the difference for them in recognizing how to do this outside of their comfort space at home (and will help them better transition when they begin school). Also, Angel, a children’s author, has a wonderful resource full of ways to get your children’s curiosity and imagination going. Check out her blog here for all the information you need, including, this blog post about stimulating your child’s brain. Now I’ve found her blog, I am a regular reader of her as she has some awesome tips and viewpoints on ensuring our children’s imaginations are lost in the world of technology and electronics.
- I’ve started pointing out road signs and labels in the grocery stores when we’re out and about, and asking them to tell me what it says.
- My husband also likes to write words on colorful balloons and have them read it. If they get the word right, they get the balloon and a piece of candy as a prize (although, I swear he’s eating them too because that candy is disappearing a little too quickly…).
Simple scenarios like this that just incorporate something other than sitting at a desk help to truly stimulate them and have been the most effective for my husband and I. And when they get something right, it encourages them to keep wanting learn more and more, which leads me into my next tip!
Sidenote: And whilst I’m talking about my husband and how much he has really stepped up lately due to some time-off with work, I read this really awesome and quite funny (& so true!) article by Jaq Muller the other day about her husband helping around the house, which you can check out here 🙂 If you have some time, her blog is amazing!!
2 ♥ Encourage Them (Especially For Little Accomplishments!)
Honestly, the most important thing I’ve learned as a mom is the importance of encouragement. I’m not even just talking about in learning, but in all the little silly things our babies do.
Think back, did your parents ever forget to encourage you for something when you were young and you kind of lost interest in it after that?
Parental approval is so important when we’re young, and failure to get it can make them not want to try as hard (trust me, I know.).
- Before my husband and I really started trying to encourage curiosity in our first daughter, we never thought to praise her for the little things she did, as we assumed it was just naturally understood (but step number one, don’t ever assume!).
- But because of our lack of encouragement, over time, she started to not put in as much effort when we first started teaching her real-world things, like reading, for example.
She wouldn’t focus,
She wasn’t willing to try,
And she would get upset constantly about it.
We were so confused by this and thought we we’re doing something wrong, but thanks to this website that I with pleasure would like like to feature, Curiosity Encouraged, we were able to understand why. This website is written by a kind and inspirational woman that has a passion for helping kids of all ages to learn. Thankfully, I stumbled across her many articles about helping children to stay motivated in learning, and this helped us to understand what we were doing wrong!
For this reason, we have now started encouraging her and all our kids for the little tasks that they accomplish, and this, in return, has made them show excitement towards learning (a miracle, right?).
Just remember, it’s always the little things that make the biggest difference.
3 ♥ Strut Your Stuff And Model It, Mama!
One of the best ways to teach anybody something is to show them how to do it yourself. Whether that’s at your new job, learning to ride a bike, or even in academics. This especially makes a huge difference for kids who are new to everything and need to learn everything.
I remember one time when my husband was trying to teach our first born simply how to draw, he did so by picking up the crayons and creating his own masterpiece first (rather enthusiastically, I might add), and once she saw him actually do it, she picked up the crayons and became obsessed with drawing as well, but she wouldn’t do it until he actually showed her.
While this is just a simple example,
It is going to be so effective throughout the rest of your life with them. All the way from potty training, to algebra, to driving.
My husband and I are in the process of teaching our kids to read, and while it isn’t without it’s tantrums of course, actually having them see us do it first while sounding out the words is a huge help to fueling their understanding.
I truly believe something as simple as this has the biggest effect, and I have seen it make all the difference in every one of our happy little beans!
In conclusion, there’s tons of ways to get your little ones mind buzzing, but perhaps the most effective way is helping them begin to wonder about every little thing in life. Encouraging them, challenging them, and modeling it to them are my biggest 3 go-to ways to truly help any little one to develop this curiosity, courage, and willingness to try new things. I would highly suggest you try this if you have a child who is uninterested in learning, as it may be the key to what your they’re missing in order to excel fully in every little thing!