Monday 7 March 2011


How to Handle Your Child's "Why" Questions?

I read that from around the age of three - sometimes earlier - children will begin to see the world through new eyes and start asking the "why" questiosn. It is a wonderful age of discovery, but also a nail-biting time for parents. Joshua is turning 3 years old in a year's time, so I am starting to prepare myself for this. Overall, the strategy would be:

The answer: Teach the child to find answers himself and when the child is older, make him the teacher to teach you the answers he has researched :-)

It really helps me to feel much better to know that I do not need to feel that I always have to know the answer to every question. I can teach my child to find the answer himself. Rather than being given immediate answers to his questions, he will learn to observe and wait, as well as to understand teh processes involved. This will increase self-esteem, because your child will learn to find out the answers to his own questions.

Here are some ways how to deal with it:

1. Invest In a Set of Encyclopedia

Keep a set of encyclopedias by the dinner table. When your child asks a question, help them to look up the answer on the spot. If they are old enough, ask them to look up the answer on the spot themselves. This way also encourages children to love learning, and relieve you from not knowing the answers.

2. Internet

Use the internet as a source of information (use parental controls once he is capable of 'surfing' himself), but not during dinner time. Do it during specific learning time, or after dinner. While at dinner, use the first method instead.

3. Library

Take him to the library to find answers. This also helps to instil in your child a sense of the value of books and you won't accumulate loads of books he'll grow out of!

4. Montessori Activities

Look for Montessori-inspired activities that will engage his imagination and set him on a voyage of discovery that has many pathways.

5. Make Your Child the Teacher

I am getting a little stressed about this questioning stage and my own low general knowledge level. Then on the way to work, this idea hit me. Since being a working mom, I have very limited time to do research and read broadly, why not get Joshua to do all these for me. When Joshua is older and can read and write, I will say to him that I don't know the answer to his question and would appreciate if he could do the research and teach me his findings in a summary report and lecture.

The best way to lean is to teach others. Since I am someone very shallow on general knowledge, this would be a good chance for me to learn, having Joshua does all the research and summaries, ha ha. This idea really helps me relax and rest in the fact that I don't have answers to every of his questions.

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