Help Your Child Explore Science
Set High Expectations
What you say to your child is important. But what may be even more important is what you don’t say.
Parents often convey their attitudes and expectations in indirect ways. If you tell your children, “I never liked science in school” or “I got my worst grades in science,” you convey the expectation that science classes will be boring or difficult, or worse, that you would accept low performance in science. On the other hand, if you say, “I wish I could do that experiment with you” or “I’m so glad that you are having opportunities that I missed,” you will open doors for your children.
Not every child, of course, is destined to seek a career in science. But every child should be able to become a scientifically literate adult, and all children should know that if they choose science as a career, they can succeed. Parental expectations can encourage positive attitudes and personal best.
Don’t forget, too, that girls are every bit as curious as boys are about science. Buy your daughter that tool kit. And remember that science is often “messy.” Recognize the difference between clutter that comes from enthusiastic activity and the sloppy piles that result from neglect.
Other Helpful Tips
- Encourage your child to take things apart! Old toys, clocks, and household appliances are great lessons—and don’t worry about putting them back together!
- Don’t forget about safety. Supervise young children as needed.
- Discuss science and technology careers. When you encounter people in science-related careers, encourage your children to ask questions about these jobs and the training needed for them.
- Explore informal education sites. Science centers, museums, and natural science institutions give children the chance to make independent discoveries and participate in scientific processes while having fun.
- Check out science-related library books and read them together. NSTA publishes a list of outstanding children's science trade books for kindergarten through 12th grade students selected by a book review panel appointed by NSTA and assembled in cooperation with the Children's Book Council (CBC).
- Encourage children to explore awards programs and competitions that bolster science learning in the classroom.