Starting with the innocent “why is the sky blue?”, “how do the birds fly?”, “why is the grass green?”, to the difficult-to-convince “why do I need to sleep early?”, “why can’t I eat junk food?” and more such questions are constantly fired at parents by intently curious children. While this situation is faced typically by parents of toddlers aged between 2-3 years, the questioning doesn’t necessarily stop after that. There must have been a time in every parents’ life when they were impressed with their child’s thinking and questioning ability and were happy and proud to answer anything they asked. And then there are also times when the parents wish that the kids would give questioning a break.
Asking Questions is a part of learning
While it may appear exasperating, and for obvious reasons, it is important to understand why kids ask questions. It is essential to realise that asking questions and seeking satisfactory answers is a genuine attempt on the kid’s part to learn, understand and grow. Knowing that they’re trying to get to the bottom of things and not really trying to stretch the conversation, will help you handle the questions in an efficient manner without getting too worked up.
As they are still young, the children find everything around to be fascinating and baffling, even confusing at times. What is easier for us to understand as an adult is not so obvious for their curious minds which is trying to reason things out. It can be overwhelming at times to answer each and every one of their questions, no doubt, but let’s also try and see the world through their eyes? Remember how puzzled you once were by seeing and experiencing new things and how you needed someone to explain what was going on? If you can relate your growing-up experience with their questioning-spree, it might ease the frustration and weariness caused by all those endless “whys and hows” thrown at you.
Activities to Boost Your Child’s Developmental SkillsPlease select the age group of your child
More Question is a positive sign, encourage kids to ask more
Studies show that kids who ask a lot of questions are more likely to become strong and independent thinkers. Questioning & being listened to will help build up their confidence to speak their minds out without fear or hesitation. By answering their questions, you’re showing respect towards them. By keeping the dialogue open, you’d assure them that their ideas and thoughts are valued. So, encourage your child to ask questions, it’s the best possible way you’d help them gain control over their worlds by thinking independently.
Once you understand why kids ask questions, handling them gets easier. You can answer all their whos, whats and whys without getting weary.
How to handle kids’ questions
1) The first thing is to consciously try and be patient in listening to the child’s question, as an voluntary/involuntary harsh reaction from you may discourage them from questioning forever. This must be consciously practised especially when you are in the middle of something or are tired after a long day. Politely tell the kid to hold the question as you will answer them as soon as you finish the work at hand.
2) Understand the question well before you answer so that you do not give a random answer which might simply confuse them.
3) Start your response in an encouraging manner, conveying the message to the child that their questions are welcomed. Start your reply with something like “that’s a very good question”, or “that sounds like an interesting question” etc.
4) Sometimes, all that is needed is a simple, direct answer to their questions. As most kids have a shorter span of attention, lengthy details might be too much to handle for them. Of course, if they are interested in learning more on the topic and if you have time and knowledge on the subject, you can go ahead and share it with them.
5) If the child displays interest and curiosity about a particular topic or subject, please respect their interest and help them learn more about it by answering their questions. It will also boost their confidence.
6) This is a very useful way to get the kids to think independently. Sometimes, turn around the question and ask them “what do you think?”. That way you’d encourage them to learn to think on their own and come up with their own answers too. Of course, you can gently correct them and provide with the correct answer if needed.
7) If you do not know the answer to a question they asked, do not hesitate to say, “I don’t know, but let’s figure it out together”. At no point, should you give them incorrect or inaccurate answers as these would confuse them when they learn the correct answers at a later point in time.
About The Author – Yogini Patil
Yogini is a Creative Writer by profession and a part-time traveler. During her travels, she works with free schools in the remote pockets of the country and teaches the kids through games and activities.