I hear the average 4-year-old asks about 437 questions per day. Being the mom of a 4 and 5 year old, I have my doubts on the accuracy of that figure. Personally, while I have a strong desire to fill my ears with cotton balls and stitch them shut from time to time, I love that my kids are full of questions. In fact, if they weren’t, I’d be a bit concerned.
So here’s a question parents might have…
What’s up with all the questions my kids ask?
The answer there is pretty simple, curiosity. Some kids do tend to get stuck on a particular question, such as, “why?” but in most instances any question is simply a sign that your toddler is interested in whatever the thing is. They want to learn and that’s an awesome thing. Some toddlers also note that asking questions results in attention and will continue to do so to receive attention. Other toddlers just ask questions when they’re bored. In any case, answering is a good idea.
What if you can’t answer your toddler’s question?
I have to admit. There have been times my toddlers have asked me something, and I have sat there scratchin’ my noggin’ because honestly, I have no idea. In the I-don’t-know realm, I find it best to look it up with my toddlers. I don’t think it s a bad thing for them to see that mom doesn’t know everything, but that I am willing to search for the answers when I don’t know them, which is a lesson all kids should learn.
There are other instances where I do know the answer, but I feel it’s a tsk to advanced to explain to a young kid. Things like, “where do babies come from?” fall into this category for some parents. In that case, I usually offer a brief and simple yet honest explanation and redirect the conversation to something else to fill my toddler’s curiosity. For example, in the where-babies-are-from quandary, I may say, “from a mommy’s belly” and then move on to tell an enrapturing story about when my my toddler was a baby in my belly.
What if you don’t want to answer any more kid questions?
Sadly, being a parent isn’t like being a celebrity or official of some kind, you can’t just say you’re not answering anymore questions at this time. Well, you could, but chances are it wouldn’t work (let me know if it does). Your toddler is just going to go right on feeding a million questions into your ear. In this instance, its best to find something that’s going to consume your toddler’s attention to fill their need for information, keep them occupied, and make them feel as if they aren’t being ignored. What that particular thing is will vary by the child. For one of my toddlers, for instance, that’s a learning game, for the other, a pen and paper with artist requests from mom.
Above all, try to remember that every single one of your child’s questions, no matter how annoying they may become, are a chance for you to help his or her brain grow and learn. For me, at least, those chances are one of the greatest perks of parenting.