We definitely don’t want to raise kids that are only good test-takers, purely motivated by grades or solely memorizing information. Read all about some ways to get your kids’ attention and stimulate their curiosity for learning and understanding.
Raising kids who understand the world around them and who are critical thinkers, are also kids who can pay attention and have a curiosity for life. How then can we do this? How can we keep our child’s attention, raise them to be curious, and foster a love for learning?
Well, first, it isn’t easy. Motivated and goal-driven parents like you and I know the need to train our kids in the way they should go. With technology, movies, smart devices, and video games, everything your child needs is fed to them. It is laid out on the platter for them to absorb and maneuver through.
With these techie tools so prevalent today, parents need to find other ways to get kids engaged and discover new things.
A quick note before moving on:
I am going to give you some advice that my son’s early learning teacher gave me before I started homeschooling. Mrs. H took me aside one day, and told me my son was showing signs of what they would call ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
She told me there were a few things I could do to help him pay more attention in class and get him more focused. The first thing was to put him to bed early. Then she explained how sugary treats and food with red food dye had been known to cause this hyperactivity and attention deficit.
So, I kid you not. I committed to putting him to bed early (which helped me as well). I also cut out processed sugar and food with red food dye. As time went by, his teacher raved how he was literally like a new kid. Therefore, before we can stimulate a child’s curiosity or get their attention and focus, it is wise to take away things that are getting in the way of improvement.
Consider these things first, to maximize your child’s ability to focus and think constructively. (I am only speaking from my experience here.)
Now, here comes the fun stuff.
Some of these ways seem simple to you or obvious even, yet are we actually putting them to action?
Let’s explore some ways to get your kids’ attention and stimulate their curiosity:
Read, read, read.
There is nothing that builds more curiosity than reading a book that requires a child to “think” and make connections. For instance, when reading The Giver by Lois Lowry (my favorite youth book), kids are introduced to a dystopia.
The book makes kids wonder about what happens when a government is more involved in our daily lives or even given full control of it. While a child is reading books, they are curious about what happens next. They try to evaluate what the ending will be. Remember to pick reads that are at your child’s grade level.
Questions invoke curiosity.
Question everything. OK, maybe not everything. Asking your kids questions that make them think is the precursor for attentive and thinking minds.
Even as little ones, stop while you are reading to them and ask questions about what you have read. When they know questions are coming, they are paying attention to what they are hearing/reading.
To keep your kids intrigued while reading, ask them what they think will happen next in a text. Encourage that eagerness to learn more. Being a parent who asks questions to get kids thinking, is raising a child who grows up to ask questions on their own.
Use STEM and STEAM in your homeschools periodically, if not often.
I think by now we have all heard about STEM or STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). If you know anything about them at all, you know that there is no wonder that they both grab a child’s attention and stimulate curiosity.
Besides integrating knowledge through many subjects, STEAM activities tap into a natural curiosity built into our kids. They create, explore, examine, evaluate, and so much more.
Here are some excellent, simple, and FREE resources to get kids involved with STEAM from home.
Explore escape rooms.
OK, yes, escape rooms may totally just be on-trend right now. However, we can not deny the benefits of them in our homeschools. Here is the deal with escape rooms.
They provide your kids with a problem-solving, full-blown brain workout. Escape rooms offer a way for your kids to think, pay attention to detail, and inquire about their surroundings critically.
Doesn’t it just make you want to try one too? Here are some escape room ideas to use in your homeschool:
FREE Mad Scientist Classroom Escape Room | Crazy Easy STEM
Digital FREE Escape Rooms for Kids & Adults | Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
How To Create An Escape Room For Teaching | Teach Beside Me
Delve into country unit studies and cultures.
When we allow our kids to explore different countries and cultures, we are opening up their minds to diversity and other people from around the world.
A child’s curiosity in other cultures and countries can pique their interests and help them unequivocally appreciate God’s creation.
With technology, no matter where in the world they are studying, there is a way to investigate all they want to know about a country, and it’s people. Here are some resources that can help:
Google Earth Project Scavenger Hunt | ER INtegration
The above are some full-on ways to be intentional about building a curious and aware child. However, there are some other ways we can support a child in these areas and a few honorable mentions. Don’t go just yet.
Here are more ways to raise curious kids and get their attention:
-Discuss current events. Don’t underestimate the impact the role events have on kids. Talk with them about it, or they will hear it from others.
Discuss world events, ask them questions, let them ask you questions, and listen to their views on them. Most of all, point them to Christ and God’s sovereignty in it all.
-Use games in your homeschool. This is especially so in subjects that they have trouble with to get them interested and connecting dots. Try these FREE Worksheets, Games & Resources to Teach Multiplication and Division, or try Homeschooling with Game Shows.
-Respect the way your child learns differently and work with it. Check out this article on How to Homeschool High Energy Boys Who Cannot Sit Still.
-If they have questions, sometimes guide them to how they can get an answer themselves. Instead of telling your kids the answers to all their questions, task them to research solutions online or better yet, showing them how to do things does wonders for them.
-Praise their curiosity. BE glad when kids are curios and have paid attention to something you didn’t think they did.
If you have a curious child at home, cheer them on and build on that. These 100 Educational YouTube Channels For Curious, Creative, Gifted Kids can help.
-This is my favorite. Let kids get bored. Boredom has born the curiosity in my son more than other things, hands-down.
See, in my home, the words “I am bored” are not allowed. Why, you ask? It is because I have a remedy for boredom —> chores. Someone is washing my car or folding the laundry, as soon as those words come out of their mouth. It is a win/win, really.
My kids have learned to occupy their time. Letting my son get bored has led him to explore, create, and develop a great imagination. Raising attentive, aware, and curious kids will develop amazing followers of Christ.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!