We know that kids learn by asking questions, but wow, can they make you a little crazy with them sometimes! Don’t worry, we’re sharing our number one parenting tip for answering all those “Why?” questions without losing your mind! You’re going to love how easy it is!
Before I had kids, when I heard people talk about how overwhelming it was to have a talkative or inquisitive child, I thought it was a shame they weren’t more excited to engage with their children. Oh, did the universe get me back for that line of thinking!
While my older child talks a lot, she’s good with it being a monologue. My younger child, on the other hand, is in constant dialogue mode. He has a lot to say, and he is full of questions. Shortly after the “Why?” questions began, my husband hit upon the secret – answer with a question!
Why our #1 parenting tip for “why” questions works so well
At the time, answering with a question was the quickest way to diffuse the chain of “Why?” questions, and the surest way to keep from losing our minds. Little did we know then what we know now – our method of sanity is actually the best way to respond! WHY?
- It teaches deductive reasoning and critical thinking. If I simply parrot a response back to my child, it doesn’t involve him in the answering process. By asking him to participate, I’m giving him the tools to reason for himself. Let’s say he asks why we have to take our dog to the vet. Rather than saying, “Because she is sick,” I could say, “Well, the vet is our dog’s doctor. When do we take you to the doctor?” He would respond, “When I’m sick.” I would then finish with, “You’re right! So, why do you think we’re taking our dog to the doctor?” And he is now able to answer his own question!
- It sets the stage for school. It can be overwhelming for a child to start school and navigate answering questions in an educational setting without feeling anxious. By working with your child early on to answer questions, you are setting her up for success when the time comes that she has that experience in a classroom.
- It demonstrates that not knowing the answer is okay. When I pose a question to my son that he can’t answer, I suggest that we research it These days, that usually means turning to Google, and we talk through what and how I’m searching. I then read a snippet of what I find to answer our question. Not only does my son learn that no one has all the answers, but he also witnesses how we can find information when we don’t already have the answer.
While these parenting tips are a great way to engage in a conversation with your child, you might not always have the time or energy for a lengthy conversation. At the very least, try to answer the initial question so your child knows her words carry value. Say something as simple as “Sweetie, the answer is ___. I’d like to talk about that more with you, but now is not the best time because ___.” This answer will help her feel important but hopefully will put the conversation on-hold until it’s a better time for you.
Kids are naturally inquisitive, and fostering their creativity has many positive outcomes to help shape the person they are becoming.