How Do You Keep Your Child’s Sense of Wonder Alive?

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
– W.B. Yeats

The greatest gift nature gives to us when we’re young is our sense of wonder that fills each and every waking moment. As children, we are naturally fascinated and curious by those things around us that we eventually take for granted as adults—things like a spider web glistening with the early morning dew, a mound of busy ants, or some cardboard boxes that we turn into a fortress. What happens to us as children that causes us to lose our sense of magic and wonder? Is it biological, or is it because society tells us that we are supposed to put up all of our foolish notions and grow up? Once we lose our sense of wonder, is it forever gone, or can we ever find our way back to that awe-inspired life, and in the process, help teach our little ones how to keep theirs?

When the Novelty Wears Off

I don’t believe that one day, like a light switch, the magic of our childhood just instantly disappears from our lives— I think that it is a gradual and systematic process that occurs after all of the novelties of childhood wear off. When we are little, our mantra is, “What do I do next?”

Between birth and six years of age, our brains move between two highly imaginative and programmable brain wave states known as Delta and Theta. At these highly suggestible periods of our lives, everything is a mystery, and our curiosity is like an itch that constantly needs to be scratched. Once we conquer one mystery, we then move on to the next one that needs to be explored and mastered, and so on.

If you don’t actively keep the sense of novelty alive, one day kids will wake up no longer filled with a natural curiosity to go out and explore every little nuance in their life.

While it may be argued that there are plenty of adults who never lose their sense of wonder, it can also be argued that wonder shouldn’t be confused with ambition, and a need to succeed for the sake of financial gain or accolades.

True wonder isn’t born out of ambition, or with a thought-out plan to reach a pinnacle. It’s a genuine and magical curiosity that children possess as they explore this new experience called “life”. Once most of us have mastered the myriad of novelties in the early years of our lives, we eventually get bored, and many of us then get jaded. And while we may still continue to create goals and challenges in our lives, it might become more mechanical and no longer motivated by a genuine sense of wonder.

Keeping the Mystery Alive

How do we keep our children full of wonder all throughout their lives, and how do we rediscover our own sense of wonder if we lost it somewhere along the road to adulthood?

  • Keep wondering: Even if we stopped finding novelties in our lives, that doesn’t mean that we can’t look for some new ones. Wonder is like a magical elixir that we can take at any point in our lives. When our children see us constantly in awe of the little things in life, and they unconsciously learn to hold on to their own sense of wonder. 

  • We don’t have to answer everything: One way that we can keep our children’s sense of wonder alive is by not answering all of their questions every time that they ask. As parents, we feel like it’s our job to teach them everything, but sometimes, when they ask us a question, it’s perfectly okay to say “That’s a good question, I wonder…”, and just leave it as a big, dangling question mark.

  • The master becomes the student: Our children don’t just learn from us, we also have so much to glean from their raw and honest presence in our lives. If we open ourselves up to the teachers that they are, we have an opportunity to see our lives through their wondrous eyes. By doing so, we’ll also recognize that our wonder isn’t just a novelty that gets spent up in youth – it’s a conscious choice that can fill our entire lives with magic and awe.

  • Grow young: We don’t need to look any further for the fountain of youth than in the innocent eyes of our own children. They can show us how to grow young by opening the portal back to our childhood. How many times have we said, “If I only knew then what I know now”? If you really think about it, that doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?

When we continually seek out new experiences in our life, we teach our children to never to lose their sense of wonder. It doesn’t matter how old we are.

How do you keep your child’s sense of wonder alive? Share your thoughts with us!

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