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Young boy and girl looking at river with magnifier.

The Wonder of Childhood

Have you ever wondered what a child was thinking? Young children are naturally curious. They approach the world with a sense of wonder. We can use their inquisitive nature to our advantage and help them develop the abilities they need to be successful in life.

One of my favorite things to say to a child is, “I wonder ...”

  • When a child’s emotions are intense, they might have a tantrum or push a friend. We can calm things down before addressing the behavior by saying, “I wonder what happened.” The simple statement shows compassion and a desire to connect and help.
  • When a child is learning about the world and how they work in it, try saying, “I wonder what will happen next.” Wondering is a powerful way to show interest and join their world with curiosity. This is particularly helpful when doing a science experiment, engaging in messy play, or playing in nature.
  • When a child is talking about a challenge they are experiencing, try saying, “I wonder how you will handle that? I wonder how you will solve that problem.” This shows a child that you are listening and that you have confidence in their ability to work through difficulties. With a little guidance, or not, they often figure it out.
  • When a child makes a mistake avoid blaming and shaming. Take the many opportunities that come up each day to teach. Open the conversation by saying, “I wonder what you could do differently next time.” This lets a child know that it is OK to make a mistake and to learn from it.

What experience might we as parents, grandparents, educators, and providers have if we spent more time wondering?

About Michele Tryon, CCLS

About Michele  Tryon, CCLS Michele Tryon, CHKD community outreach coordinator and parent educator has worked with children and families for 30 years, providing services in the hospital, home, school and community setting. Michele is a Certified Child Life Specialist, a Certified Positive Discipline™ parent educator, a nationally recognized trainer/consultant for Nurturing Parenting Programs™ and co-author of The Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Special Needs and Health Challenges©.