Toddlers have a battery of questions prepared for adults. They may suddenly ask, “Why does corned beef have no corn?” “Why is the blue sky so high and the ocean so deep?” or “What do ants do during winter?” Their genuine, never-ending inquisition is charming, but adults run out of answers and they get exhausted, too.
The Bottom Line
The reason why kids ask questions is very simple – they need answers. As they cultivate awareness, they get curious of movements, structures, colors, of the mere existence of things around them.
This reaction can be considered a natural human tendency. When people see something new, they raise questions until they are cognitively satisfied. This principle is applicable to toddlers, too. For them, the sound of an electric fan, the sight of a rainbow and the concept of heaven are simple wonders worth investigating. Adults may consider them trite, but since kids have just started to explore the world on their own, everything appeals to their senses.
Dealing with Questions
Asking questions is a form of communication. Hence, when tots start to get inquisitive, take it as an opportunity to explore what’s in their mind. If the questions have underlying implications, don’t just let them slip away. Do they seem too preoccupied with the cartoon characters they see on television? Perhaps their attention can be diverted to games that promote social interaction. If they ask, “Why does Daddy always come home late?” evaluate the time you and your spouse spend with the kids.
Patience in providing truthful answers is another good way of dealing with curiosity. The University of Michigan researchers had found out that kids who hear a good explanation would most likely agree or make a follow-up question. Those who feel dissatisfied repeat their original question or provide an alternative answer. This finding suggests that adults must not deprive kids with the process of active learning.
The next time kids ask you a question, stay cool and answer it in a manner they will understand. Your effort and gentleness will be greatly appreciated.