Encouraging your middle schooler's curiosity: Here's what to know

Curiosity involves asking questions, finding answers and creating solutions, as well as not being afraid of failure.

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By Michelle Balani

Curiosity involves asking questions, finding answers, and creating solutions, as well as not being afraid of failure. Children who are curious are more open to new experiences, more comfortable dealing with anxiety and obstacles, and more resilient. If you encourage your child to be actively curious, you are championing her quest for discovery and helping her to better-navigate through any obstacles in life.

Teach your adolescent to be resourceful. Resourcefulness is a key aspect of curiosity, as it involves finding creative ways to solve problems and meet challenges. When children are resourceful, they use their imagination to come up with solutions to problems and apply their perseverance to overcome obstacles. Being resourceful also involves making the best use of one’s time, and it is important to discuss time management with your adolescent. Ask about her activities and responsibilities and come up with a schedule that helps her manage all of her responsibilities effectively. If she feels overwhelmed by any of her tasks or activities, have her come up with ways that she can better-manage her time to complete everything or talk to him about which items she can remove from her calendar.

Help your middle-schooler develop her interests. One way to encourage your child’s sense of curiosity is to direct her energy toward an activity or subject she really likes and help her develop any passionate pursuits she may have. When you are responsive to your teen’s interests, you are providing opportunities for her curiosity to flourish. For instance, if your child likes to dance, ask her to get creative and come up with a dance routine to perform in front of family or invite a few friends over to a dance party. Activities like these can help spark your adolescent’s imagination.

Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Judy Willis, Neurologist, Teacher, Author, International Lecturer, University of California, Santa Barbara; Jennifer Miller, Author, Confident Parents, Confident Kids; and Michele Borba, Author, and Educational Psychologist.