In this world that is getting more and more competitive, people are always looking for ways to get an edge over others who are vying for the same opportunities. For parents, instilling the right values and attitudes in their children can be the most logical way of gaining that advantage from a young age. However, one strength or ‘soft skill’ many people may be overlooking is curiosity.
Because modern educational environments tend to be somewhat hyper-competitive, parents and teachers prioritize the ‘hard skills’ — teachable abilities such as reading, writing, mathematics, or technology. While it is all well and good to focus on these subjects, a balance between hard and soft skills such as curiosity and creativity can be the most ideal approach to develop a healthy learning mindset in children.
Learning mindset is one of the most important mental factors to think about regarding your child’s education and schooling. As a student, your child’s learning mindset will affect how he views learning and all the other aspects that come with it, such as work, challenges, persistence, etc.
When you try to observe younger kids, they tend to pay more attention to what people are saying because of curiosity. When applied to kids in school, curiosity will allow them to stay attentive in class and retain information more effectively. As a testament to this, researchers have observed that when children are in an interesting class, they are stimulated and inspired. When they move to a less-interesting class, their brains remain engaged and receptive to the information in the second class despite the lack of interest.
In the renowned ‘marshmallow experiment‘, business school students are pitted against kindergarten students in a contest that involves creating the tallest structure using dry spaghetti, some tape, and a marshmallow. Surprisingly, kindergarten students consistently outperform the business students — making the biggest and most interesting structures as well.
Much can be said about the results of this experiment, but it is a concrete example of how curiosity can be helpful when finding success in tasks and challenges. Compared to the systematic, calculated, and time-consuming approach of older people, the children created better marshmallow towers because they engaged in active learning — a process where individuals learn and improve as they go. Younger children may not know the engineering and physics behind balance and structure-making, but because they are more curious, they tend to find innovative solutions to tasks they are faced with.
When children are curious, their learning mindset also improves. They engage in active learning, are more attentive, and become agents of innovation. Develop and nurture the innate curiosity that is common in young children as they grow. By doing that, your child will have a good balance of hard and soft skills and is better equipped to handle the challenges of the future.