Your challenge: Watching your baby discover and explore is unlike anything else. Today, it may look like a bemused expression when they hear a new sound. Soon enough, they may be asking 300+ questions a day while trying to understand the world. Then, sadly, it seems like curiosity can plateau or even plummet as kids get messages about getting in line.
The solution: Curiosity can be a lifelong trait for your child, especially if you start encouraging it from the very beginning—and by signaling that you still enjoy learning, too.
Cheer them on as they meet milestones: Even young babies seek validation for their actions: Each time they press a button that lights up, or drop a toy or feed themselves—they will be encouraged (or discouraged) from repeating the action based on the feedback they receive from the most important people in their lives. (You!) By being a captive audience as your child interacts with toys, they will realize soon enough that you value curiosity.
Reward their progress: By four months of age, your baby is probably getting to be a tummy time master. By six months, sitting on their own opens up a whole new set of possibilities in terms of toys. And by the time they are one year, your not-so-little baby will probably be cruising by foot or crawl. Along the way, introducing new toys or activities that reward all this progress while helping keep baby encouraged—and moving forward.
Consider developmental interests: Those gross motor skills seem to get all the glory, but there is so much else going on with baby in the first months of life. Babies as young as two months old notice cause and effect ("when I press this button, it lights up") and they can catch on to subtleties of language not long after. By meeting your baby where they're at—like by reading developmentally attuned books or by offering interactive toys—their curiosity can take root.
Show you are curious, too: One of the best ways to encourage lifelong learning is by demonstrating you are still curious, too. Ask your child open-ended questions (yes, even when they can't answer!), make observations aloud (wow, did you ever notice that tree before?) and find ways to experiment in your own life ("I wonder how the brownies will taste if we add some mint flavor?").
Pro tip: As you are doing something new with baby in tow, narrate the experience—which encourages language, demonstrates you are still curious and, well, makes the whole experience more exciting for both of you.
You've got this.
Motherly + Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
The milestones presented are averages. Any questions you may have about your child's development should be shared with his or her doctor.
Return to Go2Guide: Raising a Curious Baby