Babies are born curious. “Where do I end and the world begins?”
During the first three years of life, children are curious about everything. Whatever they see, they want to touch, turn over, stroke, taste, and throw. They want to figure out all they can about everything within reach.
Curiosity is the anticipation of learning. Curiosity urges your child to learn about what is in their world. When they are curious, the hippocampus, a part of the brain stores the information in long-term memory. Without curiosity and the testing your child does, they would be short on memories.
These memories will be tapped later to learn more about these subjects. All these memories are like hooks that they can hang need information on. Without a rich store of memories, your child would have a hard time learning in school.
Curiosity releases the pleasure chemical, dopamine, in their brain. This is the chemical that is related to reward and pleasure. Just being able to explore and satisfy their curiosity gives them pleasure. That’s why they find it so hard to leave one thing they are playing with to do something they think is less interesting.
Parents and child-minders can do much to help your little one prepare for later learning.
- As much as possible, allow your little child to investigate whatever they are concentrating on. That means providing many things that are safe and interesting for them to explore. They may go back to the same things many times before their curiosity is satisfied.
- Show you are interested, too, when they bring something to show you. Ask questions. Point to different parts or different ways it can be used. Your interest will stir their curiosity.
- Talk about whatever they are doing or playing with. Before they are talking, they are still relating certain sounds with corresponding objects or experiences. You are helping to build their auditory vocabulary.
- Don’t push learning about something they are not interested in at that time. Frustration and anger do not help learning.
During these early years, curiosity is natural and leads to learning that provides the basis for all learning throughout life.
Have fun watching your baby’s curiosity!