Enriching The Mind Of A Curious Child

“What good questions did you ask today?” was Albert Einstein’s mother Pauline’s greeting to his genius son as soon as he gets home. This one question may not have been the lone reason that shaped the genius that he was, but there's a great possibility that it contributed a lot.

Children are inquisitive by nature.  They ask a lot of questions because of their thirst for knowledge.  They want to explore and discover new things.  Their questions range from the most trivial to the sublime.  Through the acquisition of answers, they become confident.  Well, that is if they are given the right answers or at least given an answer.

The never-ending “why’s” can be a bit overwhelming especially if the adult is clueless as to what the answers might be.  Some will answer a child’s question with, “because that’s the way things are”, “it has always been like that”—or worse, “that is such a stupid question”. 

These answers can hamper a child’s curiosity especially if the answers come from someone they regard with the highest authority such as their parents.  They will simply accept the given answer as truth.  With these answers, their sense of curiosity is thrown out the window.

What can one do, especially the parents, to enrich the curious minds of their children?

>Answer each question in a matter-of-fact approach is a good start.  If you don’t know what the answer is, be honest and follow it up with, “I’ll search for the right answer”; or better yet, “let’s look for the answer together so that we both can learn.”  I applaud parents who are honest and humble enough to admit to their kids that they have limited knowledge of things.  By doing so, their children will grasp the idea that learning is endless and ageless. 

>Asking your children questions after you have answered theirs is a good technique as well.  They will be forced to think.  Asking questions such as, “why do you think it’s like that?” will prod their minds to work further.

>Be patient in answering the endless questions.  If you feel that there’s just too much of it and you’re starting to get irritated, tell your child, “let’s take a break for a while.”  Better that than giving him false answers just for the sake of answering.

>Take each question seriously no matter how shallow they may appear to you.  We were all once like that anyway.  Act like it was the best question you’ve ever been asked.

>Go the extra mile and show him/her books and pictures about a certain topic that they're curious about.  Knowledge is acquired better with this technique.

Children’s unwavering curiosity is natural.  The difference lies in what parents and other adults can make of it.  Honing this natural-born ability can make a child grow from better to best, from good to great, and maybe, just maybe, from smart to genius. 


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