“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein.
As children grow up, they will encounter experiences that will further spark their curiosity and drive the streams of questions parents may be getting. There are several reasons why children inquire: because they want to know the answer, to seek their parents’ attention, wanting to learn a different answer to the same question, among numerous other possible reasons.
Regardless of the reasons behind such innocent inquiries, parents should embrace their children’s questions as this is one way to nurture and develop curiosity in children. Likewise, having teachers at school who entertain children’s endless streams of questions will help them build inquisitiveness, an invaluable skill to have as it motivates them to self-learn.
For some, it may not be gratifying having to answer all your children’s neverending questions. However, responding to them nicely will increase their desire to explore further. On the contrary, overlooking or shutting down their questions will make children passive and bury their willingness to learn new things.
As a school principal of ABC Kids Elementary school at Depok, Ms. Asih shares her thoughts on how to respond to a child’s inquiry. She observes that children are curious about things they don’t know and are likely to ask questions like ‘what,’ ‘how,’ and ‘why.’
Ms. Asih suggests that parents can respond to their children’s questions and curiosity by offering them simple & straightforward answers or asking them what they think before replying with a solution. Another way to encourage curiosity is through exploration by utilizing human senses such as touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing.
For example, parents can encourage children to ask why ants often come to candy and answer by telling them that sweet candy or sugary products are high on energy, which is essential for ants to consume. By responding correctly to their question, they will get more excited to learn and gather more information about a specific topic, in this case, ants.
Aside from responding to the questions using explanations, parents can reply by conducting experiments. For example, when a child asks a question about a volcano eruption, parents can do a DIY science experiment as a response. Such a response activates some of the child’s five senses and allows them to use their imagination & creativity, which would translate to a better understanding of a science concept.
Another example is if your children ask various questions about animals, you can respond by taking them to the zoo or similar places. That said, curiosity is one of the most important aspects of a child’s learning development. It drives most of their early behavior to learn and solve problems. Thus, keep this in mind when you respond to their endless streams of questions.