What did you ask at school today?
As parents, we are equal partners in our child’s learning as a teacher. Along with the teachers at school, we can make a big difference in how our children look at the world, and their emotional, mental, and psychological development.
The first question that we usually ask our children after they come back from school is “what did you do/learn at school?” how about we twist that question a little bit and make our children agents of their learning, and ask them, “what made you wonder today?”
Asking questions is not only about clearing fundamental doubts, but also sharpening higher-order thinking skills. When a child comes up with questions, they are vigorously thinking through a problem while investigating the problem from various angles.
It helps them develop communication skills, encourages listening skills, makes them open-minded to others’ opinions, leads to discoveries, polishes decision-making skills, and more.
In this ever changing world, one skill that will always stay relevant is curiosity/asking questions. Here’s how you can support your children’s questions.
- Celebrate each question – A lot of times children are afraid to ask questions, mostly because they feel scared to ask the wrong question. The best way to solve this problem is to celebrate all the questions and bring children to answer their questions.
- Present Thought Provoking Prompts – Learning experiences should promote thought as well as curiosity. The skill of asking questions is more important than getting answers! Present your children with thought-provoking questions that get them on the hook and push them to think.
- Avoid setting a limit on the number of questions your child can ask and avoid saying no to questions – To encourage curiosity and asking questions, it is important to not set a limit to how many questions your child can ask per day, however, you can park the question, using a “parking lot” and come back to answer these questions later.
- Create a safe space for asking questions – Children often avoid asking questions due to fear of judgment, creating a safe space for them to ask any questions they may have helps them feel comfortable asking questions.
- Ask them to find or explore for possible answers – As parents we often tend to answer all the questions that our children may have, rather than giving them answers to encourage them to find their answers, you can guide them through the process of finding the answer, but avoid answering the questions yourself.
- Be Curious yourself – Children observe their parents and the values they hold and follow their footsteps. So as a parent you need to be curious about the world around you. Ask them questions that ignite curiosity and make them think beyond what is being taught.
- Share the answer with your child and also show them how you arrive at the answer – use language that they understand and can relate with, ensure your answer is age appropriate and factually correct . Additionally you can also add a follow up question for which they can find the answer.
- Thought-partner with your child to find the answers – irrespective of your knowledge about the answers, you can always think through the answer with your child. It will be a fun process to come up with the answer together.
Know that it is okay to not know the answers, and it’s okay to tell your child that you don’t know the answer. All that really matters is making sure that your child’s curiosity is harnessed.
One additional tip, rather than asking your children – “what did you learn today?” try asking “what did you ask at school today?”
Here are a few interesting questions, learners at Ekya and CMR have asked…
- Why are some corals soft but others are hard?
- How do coral reefs protect the lives of people during storms?
- Can we go to another city from Bangalore in Rockets?
- Why aren’t farm animals as colorful as unicorns?
- Why is 70% of the earth covered with water?
- I want to go to space, how can I go there?
- How can such tiny seeds grow into huge trees?
- Why did planets decide to revolve around the sun?
- Why are we not moving when the earth is rotating?
- Why do whales not live on land?