“Mom, why is the moon round?”
“Mom, why are my teeth white?”
“Mom, why do I have to take my bath?”
“Mom, why this…mom why that…mom!!!!”
The funny thing is you might start out answering each question with elaborate answers and enthusiasm but as they go on and on with no sign of stopping your response can go from few words to shutting down the line of questioning.
It’s exhausting and also one of the most beautiful things about being a parent and watching your child grow.
Asking So Many Questions is Good
According to a report by Harvard-based child psychologist Paul Harris, a child can ask around 40, 000 questions between 2-4 years of age.
Other studies also show that some 4-year-olds ask as many as 200-300 questions daily.
Asking questions for children is a good thing that indicates growth and curiosity. As soon as your child is big enough to explore the outside world, they can get overwhelmed by the things around them. They will want to figure things out, know how things work and this spark of curiosity leads to naturally asking about everything.
Note the part where we say this comes to kids naturally and as such when your child doesn’t get the answers they need they continue asking and even rephrase the same questions.
It’s important to nurture this curiosity in your child to help them develop mentally and birth great things in their future.
Aside from this desire to learn and understand the world around them, kids can also ask questions to get your attention or act stubborn in doing something.
Whatever the reason for your consistent share of preschooler questioning, here’s how to handle all the whys:
1. Answer plain and simple
When your child asks a question, they often expect a straight and simple answer that satisfies their curiosity. Hence on most days when you can, provide the clear answers your child needs.
2. Become the asker
Can’t keep up? Then turn the tables around to ask your child why. For example, if your child asks why they have to brush their teeth, you can ask them why they think they have to brush their teeth. Turning the question on your kids isn’t you been a sneaky parent. It actually helps your little one develop critical thinking skills.
Although you might have to clarify their answers in the end. Be sure to use the right tone to get the right results. If you sound annoyed while asking then your child will interpret this wrongly.
3. Postpone the inevitable
Trust us this is a good one. Depending on when your child asks the questions you can postpone answering for later. For example, if your little one asks the questions during dinner or while you are working, you can say you’ll answer later after dinner or work is finished. This gives you a break but don’t expect your child to forget because they won’t so plan to answer at a more suitable time.
4. Find the answers with them
We’ve all been in that position where your little one asks a question you don’t have the answer to. Rather than try to brush it aside or just say you don’t know, research the answers with your child. Grab a book or computer together and let your child know the answer. This encourages the habit of reading and researching to get accurate answers.
5. It's okay not to have all the answers
Yes, there are times when admitting you don’t know is best. It’s okay to admit this to your child. You can then promise to find out and tell them the answer later.
6. Keep your promises
“I don’t know baby, I will find out,”, “we will talk about it after dinner,”, “just ask me later okay?”.
These are not escape routes, they are promises and while it’s not right to break so little a promise to your curious preschooler, know that they will remember to ask again. Be sure to always follow through.
It can be hard to do this smoothly but patience is key. Remind yourself of how these questions are proof of your child’s growth and can improve their learning. Need help? Hire an experienced tutor to take on all the answers.