The saying goes, curiosity killed the cat. Many people have designed their lives around that. But they don’t know that the full saying is curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back. Curiosity is one of the skills that humans develop to make it easier to learn. It occurs naturally in babies and children. Some studies have found that children of pre-school age can ask up to 25 questions an hour. However, once they join the school system, these questions no longer happen. By the time children turn 6, their curiosity is tempered or only allowed to happen in certain occasions.
This could be because the adults put in charge of children’s upbringing discourage questions, and enforce structure that isn’t conducive to curiosity. For example, when children try to ask questions about something but a teacher refrains from answering because they want to stick to the syllabus. To keep kids, and eventually adults, curious, it’s important to encourage questions. This maintains a thirst and healthy respect for knowledge. It also keeps children’s mental health great. Five Tips To Help Improve Mental Health In Children
Children experience curiosity through novelty, complexity, surprise and uncertainty. It drives the need for understanding but has 5 dimensions.
This is exploring areas or things just for the joy of it. Joyous exploration has the highest reward for mental health, satisfaction and meaning. Under this dimension, curiosity is a way of life that keeps you proactive. In this, people also enjoy uncertainty and experience less anxiety in new situations.
This is essentially FOMO. In this dimension, people need to know what’s going on and not be left out. People who exhibit this believe that a good life means achieving goals. They are opposed to people who believe the journey matters more (joyous exploration) while those with deprivation sensitivity believe the destination matters more. They’re more likely to suffer from anxiety.
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These are people who are curious because they are independent. They can manage anxiety and have the highest tolerance for stress.
This is driven by a need to form meaningful connections with people. This dimension of curiosity promotes togetherness and socialisation.
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These are the most hedonistic of the curiosity dimensions. People under this live more under a YOLO mentality. They want to experience something for its own sake, not to learn, grow or form meaningful relationships.
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How to nurture curiosity
Knowing how many of the curiosity dimensions you or your child have can help you determine which activities are best to stay curious. If your children aren’t curious, you can also teach them how to be. In a group setting, it may not be practical to get every child’s curiosity dimension. The most effective way to cover all dimensions is to create an information gap.
Children should also be allowed to ask questions and indulge their curiosity. If in a classroom and the question is disruptive to the program, a teacher can set aside a few minutes after covering the lesson plan to answer questions. Parents should also let children ask questions and when trying to avoid the why loop, a parent can tell their child to ask a better question. Children should also be allowed to be wrong and uncertain. They shouldn’t be shamed or mocked for being mistaken.
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Rewarding curiosity is also a great way to maintain it. Teachers can encourage students to ask questions to do with the class material by giving stars or treats to everyone who asks a question. Growing older, it’s difficult to maintain curiosity. If you grew up with a reward system, doing pub quizzes, or crosswords can provide a sense of reward. Adults who grew up and enjoy reading find knowledge is its own reward.
The most effective strategies to maintain curiosity are:
- Creating knowledge gaps
- Making new information a rewarding surprise
- Drip feeding knowledge to let children want to find out more
- Encouraging expression of curiosity
Some social activities that can encourage curiosity include visiting libraries, and museums, going to new places and consuming diverse media. Travel: 6 Fascinating Museums To Visit In Africa
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