Why did I research this?
Yes, questions encourage curiosity and thinking but if I receive 50-150 questions an hour and I try my best to answer some of them, am I really encouraging my child to think for himself? “How far does rain travel?” “How many beaches would a tsunami wipe out?” “Who made up words?” “What comes after the number one billion, five hundred million and six?” Arghhhh… I know you need information but ‘m so tired of questions!
What did I find out?
Encouraging children to use sources from outside the home will give them the chance to explore the answers for themselves first. (Faber and Mazlish).
“Why is my rabbit so sleepy all the time? Is it sick?”
“Hmm, I wonder if the vet would have any suggestions?’
“Why do other children not have to wear a helmet when they are on their bikes?”
“You wonder why other children don’t have to wear helmets and you wish you didn’t have to wear one.”
“I wonder what a policeman or an ambulance officer would say about that?”
Not rushing to give the answer can help your child to rely on himself rather than upon us.
“How do you make trees?”
“You wonder about how trees are made… What do you think?”
“Why is self raising flour called self raising flour?”
“That’s an interesting question. Why is it called ‘self raising’. Why do you think it has those words, ‘self’ and ‘raising’?”
Of the questions that are answered for children, new words and new concepts can be acquired. Information given to questions will build language and curiosity but a combination of both will encourage autonomy and build language and curiosity.
FYI – Children have approximately 292000 opportunities to learn new information through questioning before they are five.
What about the questions you want to ask as a parent?
You haven’t seen your child all day and you have tonnes of questions. There are ways to ask questions so that you get an answer but sometimes this abundance of questions can be experienced as an invasion of one’s private life. Children will talk when they want to talk.
Have a try at answering in different ways to questions to encourage autonomy, create a question box and answer them all at once, create a question wall and teach your child how he can find some of the answers with you or by himself, use your neighbours and the experts around you to help your child learn to draw on the information from others.
The info from this article comes from Faber and Mazlish (1980). How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk. New York: Harper Collins and How Kids Learn (2015), retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/how-kids-learn/6999332