Children are curious learners. At a young age, they start to ask many questions about the world around them. However, as they grow older, much of that initial inquisitiveness tends to wane. Some may find it hard to ask questions in a classroom setting as they do not want to embarrass themselves in front of their peers. Learning becomes more passive and less fun. Because of this, many opportunities to learn and grow confidence are lost.
However, encouraging your child’s curiosity is important for their development. Plus, asking questions is a good habit that will stick with them when they are older.
Why should I encourage my child to ask questions?
- Asking is the best way to learn
For children, asking questions is a way for them to understand and interact with the world around them. It stimulates their critical thinking skills, trains their brain to think logically and builds upon their analytical skills. These skills are particularly useful as children grow up and encounter more challenging questions in school.
2. Asking builds confidence
Being vocal about their doubts helps children to build up confidence. When children are rewarded for asking questions, it motivates them to continue asking and makes learning more engaging for them. In addition, learning to voice out their doubts teaches them to ask the right questions to get the answers they need. This is great in the long run as they can develop these good habits into adulthood.
3. Asking build communication skills
Asking involves interacting with others. The more children ask questions, the more they learn to communicate effectively about what they do not understand. Children can not only ask about “how” something happens but also “why” it happens. As they converse with their parents, teachers and peers, they are developing their social interaction skills as well.
How can I encourage my child to ask questions?
Teachers have many ways to encourage inquisitiveness in students at school, but how can parents hone their child’s curiosity at home? Here are a few tips below:
- Encourage open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are the way to go. If your child finds something that interests him or her, ask them open-ended questions that stimulate their thinking. For instance, instead of asking “How many legs does a spider have?” You can ask your child “Why do you think a spider has so many legs?” This will encourage longer and more thought-out responses from them, and motivate them to ask such questions themselves. Do not limit yourself to questions that only require one- or two-word responses. Encourage questions that ask “Why” and “How”.
2. Set up a Question Wall at home
Incorporate asking questions into your child’s routine by setting up a simple Question Wall in the house. It can be as simple as sticking a large piece of mahjong paper on a wall, so that your child can write down whatever questions they have. Then, spend time going through the questions as a family. Your child will appreciate the family time and get to learn at the same time.
3. Use flashcards
Flashcards are a brilliant way to stimulate learning. They are easy to use and can help to encourage question-and-answer sessions with your child. Come up with simple questions or activities, such as a memory game, that you can do with your child using the flashcards. If you are a busy parent, having a nice set of flashcards will definitely come in handy!
Books are a great way to pique your child’s curiosity. Books introduce children to new ideas and concepts, and naturally stimulate their inquisitive minds. For younger children, use picture books with interesting images. You can also use learning resources like STEAM magazines that encourage creativity and innovative thinking. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, and these magazines are great tools for motivating your child to ask questions through their fun activities and interesting articles.
5. Celebrate curiosity
Children may get discouraged to ask questions in class. They might not want to draw attention to themselves by asking the “wrong” questions. Parents can help their children at home by praising them constantly and celebrating their curiosity. A nurturing environment at home goes a long way to developing confidence in a child.
As the above instances have shown, there are many ways for parents to motivate their child to ask questions. It may take time, but learning to ask questions is an important step in your child’s education journey, and providing a safe and nurturing space at home for your child to grow goes a long way.