7 Tips for encouraging curiosity in your pre-teen

A group of girls posing for a curiosity photo

​When it comes to nurturing curiosity in your child, there are some wonderful things you can do as a parent. As teens or pre-teens it’s an age where your child has a formation of a personality and is still open to being shown different ideas and is impressionable. By helping them find answers to their unending questions, you’re building the foundation for a lifelong learner.  To create the right environment for this little person, we suggest the following points. 

1. Exploration and play:

Start by creating a lively and safe environment at home filled with interesting toys and materials for your little explorer. Make sure they have uninterrupted play time every day, sans screens, where they can let their imagination roam. You can have them access the internet with limitations to help them easily Google questions. Today, there’s a trove of information they can consume. 

2. Ask open-ended questions: 

Engage in conversations with your child by asking questions that require more than a simple yes or no. This encourages them to think deeply and express themselves. When they ask questions, take your time to provide thorough answers, showing them their sense of wonder is valued.

3. Make learning fun: 

Learning doesn’t have to be boring. Be creative! For instance, if you’re teaching numbers, try counting games or puzzles. For the alphabet, you can make fun flashcards or sing catchy songs. The sky’s the limit when it comes to making learning an enjoyable experience.

4. Encourage their minds: 

Encourage your child to ask all kinds of questions . This not only shows that their inquisitiveness is welcomed but also helps them learn. Having a mindset that gets them to seek out information is valuable instead of accepting anything that’s given to them, and helps build a scientific temperament –something that we actively encourage at DPS Warangal..

5. Create hands-on experiences: 

Let your child dive into hands-on activities. These can range from science experiments to arts and crafts projects. These activities not only pique curiosity but also help kids learn through doing.

6. Praise effort and curiosity: 

When your child displays a tendency to explore or takes on new challenges, be their biggest cheerleader. Let them know you’re proud of their efforts. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in motivating them to keep exploring.

7. Be patient and flexible: 

It’s common for kids to become fascinated with different topics in phases. From dinosaurs, to whales, and everything in between –their interests might change. This is not only healthy but also a pattern adults follow often. Help them get immersed in each subject to the best of your ability by taking them where the information allows. Find what works best for your family and have fun. 

Building upon natural curiosity

Kids are just naturally adorable bundles of curiosity. Don’t be surprised if you find that at some point that curious streak begins to fade. It’s kind of natural –as we grow older that we lose our childlike wonder, and desire to explore the world through the lens of a child. They start noticing social norms, get busier with school and activities, and their interests evolve. 

Teach them that it’s absolutely okay to ask for help when they’re stuck. Whether it’s turning to a parent or a teacher for guidance or finding resources, knowing they’re not alone on their learning journey is a huge quest. In turn it also works to get rid of any self-consciousness they might feel. Teaching them that finding answers is inherent nature and as a result any sense of discovery is keen to staying informed. If they see you demonstrate it –when you can hold a conversation about any topic, they will be inspired to discover as much as you. If you’re able to respond to their barrage of queries, they will seek you as a resource, naturally. Instead our job is shepherding them towards finding their own answers. 

Identifying a curious child

Look out for these signs early on. Some kids are more curious than others, while others yet –have different ways of thinking altogether. There’s no right or wrong type of curiosity. But you can definitely aid or nudge them in the right direction. Curious children demonstrate some of the below behaviors.

  • They’re question machines.
  • They love to figure out how things tick.
  • They’re like little detectives, exploring everything.
  • They’re always up for trying new things.
  • They’ve got no fear asking for a helping hand when needed. 

Your role as a parent 

As a parent, you have got a big role in nurturing your child’s natural curiosity. It’s all about laying the groundwork for a lifelong love of learning. 

  • Chit-chat time: Set aside some regular moments each week to chat about things that pique your child’s interest. It could be during dinner, on a walk, or even just while chilling in front of the TV.
  • Question everything: When those little question factories start working, take the time to give them thorough answers. don’t be shy about encouraging them to dig deeper with follow-up questions. Overcome any shame, or discomfort you might feel with not knowing all the answers. It’s a good way to ask your child to find the answers and teach you. It’s a wonderful way to bond and communicate with each other.
  • Help them uncover answers: When they’re curious about something, be their detective partner. Read books together, hit up the internet for info, or maybe even plan a trip to a local museum for hands-on learning.
  • No idea is a bad idea: If they drop a new idea on you, resist the urge to squash it right away. Instead, help them explore it further and build on it.
  • Creative vibes: Curiosity often sparks creativity. Encourage your child to express their ideas however they like, whether it’s drawing, writing, or just gabbing about it. Help them build as many tools as possible to express themselves that go beyond the usual speaking, writing and listening. This helps not only their motor skills, cognitive skills but also their lateral thinking skills since they connect various experiences and ideas together.

Modeling curiosity

Do you remember being a child and feeling incredibly curious about the world around you? As we grow up, that sense of wonder often takes a backseat. But what if we could reignite some of that childhood curiosity? Turns out, one way to do it is by showing others, especially kids, how it’s done. Here are some tips:

  • Shared love for learning : While you might be on the receiving end of a lot of queries from your little one, it is helpful to also ask your child questions about why they think certain things happen. It allows them an opportunity to explore and come up with exciting responses. Don’t worry about accuracy here. The idea is to foster imagination. Ask questions about why people cross the road, or why the sun rises from the East. 
  • Peek inside your brain: When you’re making decisions, give them a sneak peek into your thought process. This helps them see how you use your curiosity and critical thinking to make choices. Plus, it nudges them to do the same.

Curiosity as a Superpower

Curiosity is like a superpower that helps us grow and learn. The next time you are itching to know something, make sure to share that itch with the people around you! 

Let them learn by doing

​What motivates a person to be more curious than others, you might wonder. Apart from the many aspects of child development, the most reliable way of helping your child is by immersing them in environments that support their hunger for knowledge. It’s worth mentioning that it’s equally easy to get lost in a deluge of information. That’s why it’s key to help them explore learning in a multi-dimensional manner rather than reading or watching something only. ? But what exactly drives this curiosity?

  • Learning mode: It’s like their superpower for understanding stuff around them. They ask questions, poke things, and figure out how everything works.
  • Problem solving: Curious kids are like little detectives, always hunting for answers. This turns them into awesome problem-solvers.
  • Social skills: Curious kids tend to be more outgoing. It’s easier for them to make new buddies and have a chat.
  • Staying active: Those who are imaginative and creative, tend to just remain more naturally agile, mentally and sometimes physically. They’re always exploring, moving around, and staying mentally sharp.
  • Lifelong learners: This love for learning sticks around. Curious kids often become grown-ups who never stop learning new things.

What kills curiosity? 

  • Fear of making mistakes: If kids are scared of messing up, they might avoid trying new things.
  • Lack of support: When they don’t feel supported, they might not take risks. Think overprotective parents or uninterested teachers.
  • Boredom alert: If things get too boring, they might lose interest and turn into little couch potatoes.
  • Not so great past: If they’ve had tough experiences before, they might be cautious about taking risks.
  •  Pressure to succeed: Feeling pressure to be the best can squash their creativity and curiosity.

With these ideas in mind, you can help supercharge your child’s mental development. Enabling this at early ages is the recipe to having a child that’s always excited to learn and that’s possible among the best gifts you can offer your child, as a parent.