4 Steps to Motivate Your Child With Curiosity (Episode 247)
How are we internally motivated? True learning comes from that desire and hunger to acquire a skill or knowledge based on an area of interest or need to know. As we dig into the concept of delight-led learning, it's looking at how we are internally motivated that is the best fuel for true growth and comprehension.
How can we foster delight-led learning in our homes? Remember, even if you aren't unschooling your children, you can still be an unschooling family; the world is your school, everyone is your teacher, and learning is a lifelong process.
We want to foster curiosity in our children, as we recognize that when there is delight in the discovery process, it not only encourages more growth and learning; it literally wires our brains to retain the information better!
But What About Screens?
Yes, screens are definitely a factor for most of us, and for many homes, it's an ongoing battle of too much screen time. The harsh reality is, most of the time it was created - and perpetuated - by us parents, not the kids! It's the amount we personally are on devices and screens, and what we're using them for with our family. Check out this video to really explore the "why" behind your screen usage in your home.
Special Screen Time Resources For You:
A Free Printable Highlighting the "11 Family Guidelines for Screen Use"
The Logsdon Family's Favorite Technology Resources for Young Ones
It can be hard to shut down things your children love. However, there are times we have no choice. If wi-fi is suddenly gone, we have to make do. If the video player is broken, it's not always an instant fix. And somehow, somehow, our children still survive. So if something is sucking up all their time and energy to the determinant of them exploring something else, maybe it's time to take a break. Maybe, at least for a while, screens are strictly for use as a tool, and not an entertainment option. Yes, it is possible, and yes, you'll most likely go through a not so fun period. Yet the other side is worth it for the doors it may open up.
Share your thoughts about Screen Time:
What does screen time look like for your family? What are your favorite ways to engage with technology? Hop over to the Unschooling Families Community and share!
Remember That Life is An Experiment
It can be really intimidating to say "no screens" or make a big shift in your lifestyle. In an incredible Ted talk by my friend Marianne Renner, she stated that we should view our goals as "experiments" vs. it being your next jail sentence. Try a red light green light approach in anything you are wanting to intentionally shift in your home. Remember that every step forward gives you new insights...which ultimately means you may need/want to course correct as you learn something new.
4 Steps For Sparking Curiosity
In the Unschooling Families community, one of our members posted a wonderful video full of insights! I've really enjoyed checking out some of the videos from Ruth's Straight Talk. Unfortunately the curiosity one I watched had the volume super low, so I really had to listen. On the flipside, I was super attentive for that reason! I took notes and wanted to share her insights with you.
In the video, Ruth shares about the importance of igniting curiosity in our children. How can curiosity open your child's minds to new insights and ideas?
#1: Ask Questions
I love the examples Ruth shared on her video. She helped lay out what type of questions. How many times can you open the door to conversation using these as leaders:
- I wonder...
- What if...
- How can you...?
Instead of, "do the laundry"! maybe it's "What if you tried out folding the clothes like how I've seen kids do in China - have you seen it?"
Instead of "eat your vegetables - you'll like them" maybe it's "I wonder how that food will taste for you - how does it feel?"
Instead of "clean up your room" maybe it's "How can we have fun while cleaning up the toys - any ideas?"
#2: Allow for Unstructured Time
Be careful filling your schedule so full there isn't space for new discovery and curiosity. Allow for downtime. Allow for boredom. Create space for them to explore, ask questions, and recharge. Recognize that if a child asks a question, it's important to them - your reaction lets them know if you share that value. A quick shutdown is not validating what your child is feeling or questioning as worthy of your time.
And, when your child comes to you with a question, that doesn't warrant a 2-hour lecture from you. Don't just give them an answer; allow them to explore deeper. What other questions can you ask them to keep them digging deeper for their own answers?
#3: Be Enthusiastic
We've been talking a lot about the power of positive thinking, toxic positivity, and selling in our 48 Days Eagles community. My father shared with me this blog post by Seth Godin, titled, "Cooperative Enthusiasm".
When someone shares a new idea, or makes a pitch, or describes a dream, what would happen if you were enthusiastic?
Perhaps positive thinking is contagious.
Perhaps egging on the other person will help them explore the edges.
And perhaps it will help them overcome their fear and share the very best version of what they have in mind.
You can always say ‘no’ later.
In this moment, your confidence and enthusiasm exist to make the idea better. No harm in that. For either of you.
Author & Entrepreneur, SethGodin.com
The more you demonstrate your own enthusiasm for discovery, the more curiosity you bring to it for others. Enthusiasm is contagious - and we all know how things can spread in our world! So pay attention to your own attitude as you are approaching new things and learning. Are you excited about the process, or grumbling all along the way? Pay attention to what message this sends your kids!
#4: Create Time To Consider and Reflect
And finally, you have to take the time to really sit with and assess what it is you are learning and discovering, and how well things are going. When we did our "When Adventures Go Awry" podcast episode, we talked about our process of navigating emergencies and unexpected situations we might get into.
- Assess the situation and clearly communicate what's going on.
- Assign roles - what is expected/needed from each person.
- Act - trust that everyone knows that part and do your part to help out.
- Activate Insights - reflect on what happened. What went well? What could we do better? What lessons have we learned? What are we grateful for?
It's not just when curveballs come. At this point, we typically start every morning with our daily ritual of 5 things we go through together:
- Everyone answers a good morning question (like, "what are you most excited about today?"
- Everyone talks about their Rose-Thorn-Bud (something going well, something that isn't, and something you're grateful for).
- Everyone describes how they are feeling (both how they feel now, and how they want to feel that day)
- Everyone says an affirmation of self-love (we have fun getting creative here).
- Everyone gives thanks or a compliment to another family member.
Now, these were taken from the BigLifeJournal, which is full of amazing printables of inspiration for your family to help foster a growth mindset in your home. I'm not an affiliate just yet; just a huge fan of them!
Think about how you're starting your day with your family. Are you making space to check in with each other and get on the same page? It can help so much to just allow for that time to reflect and talk together.
Yes, in our world, you're way more likely to get the beautiful opportunity to practice patience way more than you're landed a gift of patience. The whole world doesn't function on our timeline or agenda. And that includes our kids. Allow them to pursue their answers and allow curiosity to do its job.
Flip the switch on what you're thinking about. Instead of getting trapped in the frustration of your child not doing something on your timeline, pull back, take a deep breath, and pay attention to what lessons you may be learning in the process. Are you learning to pull back? To let go and allow their minds to process on their own? Instead of focusing on your lack of patience, pay attention to what you see going on in your child - can you see their little wheels turning? Maybe, by allowing your children to explore and discover - at their own time, pace and will - you may uncover a new passion or insight. Yes, there are times that it's completely unrealistic to wait for your child to get around to feeling like doing something. This isn't hands-off parenting. This doesn't mean we aren't challenging our children. It means we aren't creating all the answers, all the opportunities, and all the discovery for them. We're stepping back when we can and allowing them to march to the beat of their own drum.
This week, focus on reframing what you're asking of your children. Instead of just telling them what to do, try incorporating more statements that include, "I wonder...", "What if...", and "How can you...?"
Slow your pace a bit and pay attention the next time you're feeling impatient. What lesson can you be learning? What are you seeing your child working through?
Try these in your home and see how you can better connect, and, ultimately celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste