by Ryan Gunnigle

Previously posted on LinkedIn

06 May 2018

We are in a new era of parenting as more and more millennials begin starting and growing families. And while encouraging children to want to learn about new things and exhibit a sense of curiosity may not be new, recent research suggests millennial parents value curiosity above other traits in their children, a deviation from previous generations. As more within this generation begin raising families, key studies suggest millennials will approach parenting differently, with a key difference being a stronger desire to raise children who are curious.

At Kids II we couldn’t agree more.

First, let’s consider the perceived value of curiosity. Baby Einstein, one of the brands within the Kids II portfolio, in collaboration with Wakefield Research, recently released a survey examining the importance and desire of parents to raise curious children. Some of the most compelling statistics and findings include:

  • 90% of parents agree that their child is interested in toys that encourage curiosity for a longer period of time than toys that don’t encourage discovery or exploration.
  • Nearly all (97%) parents note that nothing makes them feel more confident in their parenting skills than watching their child explore something new.
  • 94% of parents believe the more curious children are, the more likely they are to be successful as adults

Nearly all parents who responded did so in a way that affirms the belief that having curious children is one of, if not the most, important attributes to raising children. Unlike generations before them, who focused more on intelligence and being overly-involved parents, millennials want to ensure their children have experiences that propel curiosity and the benefits it provides throughout childhood and adolescence.

Millennials are a generation who value experiences over objects; travel over home ownership so it should come as no surprise that they strive to raise curious children versus more regimented approaches as previous generations have. To encourage and inspire curiosity within their children, research found that parents sparked it through a number of ways, including:

  • Reading together
  • Watching educational videos together
  • Coloring or drawing together
  • Doing outdoor activities together

Research from the Pew Research Center suggest millennials are more educated than past generations and part of that education is rooted in travel and global exposure. As the first digitally native generation, with access to all the world’s information at the tip of their fingers, it’s the experiences and interactions that offer more impactful and meaningful opportunities.

It’s clear parents’ emphasis in fostering curiosity is successful at least to some degree, but is it actually paying off? Is curiosity a trait that leads to more success in the future? We believe the answer is yes.

The Harvard Business Review quantifies the impact of curiosity as a way to explain the fact that IQ alone doesn’t predict success. Successful people are almost always those who have lived their entire life with a healthy sense of curiosity about the world, and how things work, validating the idea that curiosity as a trait onto which Millennial parents place the most weight.

While we will continue to watch and see how millennials approach parenting with the same unique ways they’ve lived their entire lives, the Baby Einstein brand is embracing the growing want from parents to encourage curiosity and will continue to innovate and be an aide for all parents who celebrate curiosity for their children. Power to the curious, indeed.

Ryan Gunnigle is the CEO of Kids II and the co-founder and partner of Be Curious Partners, a venture capital fund.