Keeping Children Curious

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“I am sitting here thinking what to write about when suddenly my 20 month old starts playing with my lipstick collection with utmost curiosity. He picks each one up, opens it, and then shuts it, repeating the action multiple times. Its enough to keep him occupied for a good 5-10 minutes, the average toddler time span to remain engaged in an activity I presume. While I observe him I notice one huge difference between us adults and toddlers. Toddlers love to repeat actions, and don’t get bored. They also have so much curiosity that they repeat these actions every day without any realization that they have already done it yesterday and the day before, or even sometimes twice or thrice a day.

This intense curiosity is the main thing I believe wears off with time as we grow up. Once we enter elementary, middle, and high schools our thoughts are forced to be standardized and limited. Schools emphasize more on critical thinking than on creative thinking. It kind of suffocates the child in us, forces it to stop being curious and question everything around it. This may be a great way to raise machines that have only one kind of goal in life i.e. mechanically perform whatever function they were manufactured to do, but when applied to people not so much.

People have an innate desire to express and explore. This is directly linked to inherent curiosity and the desire to keep developing. I believe everyone should try to keep in touch with their creative side. Everyone has one, some people are aware of it while others are not. Its a common misconception that the only real forms of expression of creativity have to be related to arts. Yes, it is true that some people are great poets, writers, artists, performers, etc. and they are in the real sense connected with their creative sense in adulthood too but some people are great conversationalists, listeners, and empaths. These too are form of expressions that are not like conventional arts but people who have them are admired and cherished by others.

Children are a product of whatever environment they are exposed to. Today parents are more aware than ever of the perfect environments to raise mentally healthy kids in yet we still have a dearth of creative people more than ever. Historically, all great changes have been brought about by thinkers who became doers. The Renaissance is proof of one such time period. If we will keep on subduing our children’s natural instincts to explore and learn by trial and error we will eventually be stunting intellectual growth of humanity as a whole, and the world our children and their children will see will be stagnant in inventions, arts, and human development. On a similar note there is a reason why the cartoon Curious George is so popular amongst kids. They can relate to George’s intriguing personality.

Now back to my toddler who is too intent on wiping the carpet with one tissue, throwing it away, plucking out another one, and repeating this while the tissues in the tissue box lasts.”

Toddler playing

photo credit: Let’s play shop! via photopin (license)

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Showing 4 comments
  • Ruku

    While children are naturally curious, I do believe that as we grow older, and wiser, the curiosity does come back, albeit, in the areas that we mostly want to excel in – for instance, I’m constantly trying to learn more about writing, parenting, cooking, picture taking, and gardening because those are my interests :-). May Allah bless your little one for you, and make him among the righteous.

    • HD

      Ameen, thank you, Ruku, and same to you!

  • Foz

    My youngest seems to get bored very easily, but I guess that’s just her attention span…she is curious for such a short time before she moves on to something else.

    I agree with Ruku, I think it does came back.
    Foz recently posted…Project 356 – Days 242 to 248My Profile

    • HD

      Thank you, Foz. If we look at really old people then we see more of an attitude of knowing everything and not being curious to learn anything new. I guess its just a natural process. My LO is also very curious now and hope it stays that way :).

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