Science says *this* surprising trait will help your kid succeed in school

We all know kids who started reading (as in full books) at 18 months. Others had the gross motor skills to ditch their training wheels at four. One friend’s son plays Mozart on the piano and devours Harry Potter books. (He’s six.) And while all of these achievements are amazing—and debatably innate as opposed to parent-directed—they’re not necessarily concrete predictors of academic success. Want to know what is? Curiosity.

For a new study conducted at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, pediatricians with expertise in developmental behavior analyzed data collected from 6,200 children over the course of their lives, from nine months old through kindergarten. They conclusively found that “greater curiosity was associated with greater kindergarten reading and math academic achievement.” Regardless of gender or socioeconomic background, added the researchers, “Curiosity may be an important, yet under-recognized contributor to academic achievement. Fostering curiosity may optimize academic achievement at kindergarten.”

Interestingly, the kids’ efforts and their ability to sit still and listen in class had less to do with academic success than you might guess. (PSA to the parents of kids who run around like crazy during circle time: Now is your cue to rejoice.) Explains Science Daily: “U-M researchers factored in another important known contributor to academic achievement known as ‘effortful control,’ or the ability to stay focused in class. They found that even independent of those skills, children who were identified as curious fared well in math and reading.” Clarifies lead researcher Dr. Prachi Shah: "These findings suggest that even if a child manifests low effortful control [or in-classroom focus], they can still have more optimal academic achievement, if they have high curiosity."

So the next time your kid fires off “why?” faster than you could possibly formulate answers (Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs sweat from their tongues? Why do I have two eyes instead of one? What are s’mores? Can I have one? Can I have 10? Why?), celebrate it like the sign of genius it surely is. Then take them to a museum or library to investigate, stat. Curiosity! It won’t kill cats. And it just may land your kid on the honor roll.

Popular baby names below!

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Popular babies names for 2018
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Popular babies names for 2018

AIDY

Thanks to SNL’s breakout star, this nickname for Aiden or Adele has class, sass and serious staying power.

COCO

Whether you’re channeling the classic (Chanel), the modern (Pixar’s latest blockbuster) or the Cox-Arquette, this one (a derivation of "cocoa") has good taste on lock.

GIGI

Just like its sister names Lulu, Mimi and Lula—this super-stylish mini moniker is simply irresistible.

KAI

Meaning “sea” in Hawaiian and “forgiveness” in Japanese, this unisex name was among the top 100 U.S. baby names last year and is up 11 points since 2016, according BabyCenter.

JASPER

Safer than Jagger, fresher than Jaden, the fifth most popular name of 2017, meaning “bringer of treasure,” continues to “rocket up the U.S. ranks,” according to Nameberry.

SAVANNAH

The Today host could use a hug, and possibly your child named in her honor. And since this is the 40th most popular girl’s name in the U.S., it’s both unique and uniquely recognizable.

GREY

Leave it to Molly Sims to make an eternally cool yet utterly refreshing choice.

LEVI

Conjuring classic denim and the children of both Matthew McConaughey and Sheryl Crow, the 29th most popular name of 2017 is steadily climbing the charts.

RONAN

In Celtic it means a pledge, or a promise. In 2018 it means deserving of an Oscar—and a Pulitzer.

QUINN

Of Irish origin meaning “wise,” it works for both boys and girls, as either a first or a middle name. Pretty smart indeed.

BODHI

While Patrick Swayze’s Point Break surfer will always be the original Bodhi to us, Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder made waves when they gave this increasingly popular name to their baby daughter.

KENNEDY

Attention-grabbing and presidential, experts predict it will become one of the top five most popular baby names next year—for girls.

FINN

Predicted by some to be the number one name for boys in 2018, it didn’t even crack the top 100 last year.


 

AURORA

Ever since Rachel Bilson named her daughter Briar Rose, and Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz gave their son the middle name Mowgli, Disney names have been fair game. The experts at BabyGaga predict Sleeping Beauty’s given name—already the eighth most popular of 2017—will be a sleeper hit again next year.

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