Contributor Dr. Elise Herman
There are characteristics we hope to see in our kids such as kindness, intelligence, and perseverance. We may not put ‘curiosity’ high on this list, but in fact it is crucial to a child’s success in learning and school—and maybe, even in life.
Research has shown that those who are curious tend to be happier, less anxious, and have a greater sense of well-being. In children, studies connect curiosity to higher academic performance, and in adults it is tied to greater achievement at work. When people are highly curious about a subject, they are more engaged with it and more likely to remember what they have learned. General memory is also improved for information unrelated to the original area of interest. It seems curiosity primes the brain to absorb and retain new information better.
Being curious has been shown to improve one’s patience. Those who are very curious seem willing to do the work themselves to figure something out as opposed to needing an answer immediately. Curiosity can lead to increased creativity, more original ideas, and a willingness to ‘think outside the box’. It also translates into greater empathy and stronger interpersonal relationships.
So despite the sometimes endless “why?” questions from our kids that can be a bit much, curiosity is a very good thing. There are lots of ways we can encourage this important trait:
And enjoy being a bit of a kid yourself as you marvel and explore the world we live in with your child!
more about The contributor
Dr. Elise Herman
Dr. Herman is passionate about community health outreach, school programs, and child/family health and wellness. She has more than 31 years of experience as a pediatrician in Ellensburg, Washington, the last 3 with KVH Pediatrics. In 2022 Dr. Herman retired from practice and continues to contribute blog posts and remain a visible advocate for kids in the community.