Simple cues from parents help children learn in new ways, according to research from UT Austin. A new study published in Child Development examines the interplay of explanation and exploration as children work through scientific reasoning.
“Most research on children’s causal reasoning is conducted on individual children in laboratory settings,” says Cristine Legare, the study’s senior author and a psychology associate professor at UT Austin. “Our study examined parent-child collaboration in a real-world learning environment.”
In the study, parents were asked to give their children one of three directions — “explain,” “explore” or play as they normally would. Researchers found that when parents used explanation, their children talked about the play longer. When parents encouraged exploration, their children spent more time working through their play.