As soon as most kids start talking, we often hear this question: “Why?” I’ve heard my parents tell me how when I was a kid between the ages of 3 and 5, all they ever heard me say was “Why?” This question is the basis for how all children seek knowledge. As your child is growing older, he is curious about the world around him and strives to learn more about it. It can definitely become tiring to hear your child repeat the same question over and over, but if you take a second to think about it, all your child is asking for is information. So how can you nurture this curiosity and the great “Why?”
Listen. When your kid asks “why” to every single thing it can seem tedious and unnecessary, but usually they are genuinely curious or confused. Take the time to listen to the question and understand what they are really asking about and where it stems from.
Answer to the best of your ability. Sometimes kids ask questions that are silly or may not even have an actual answer. Humor them and answer the best you can. This shows your child that you care what she has to say and are willing to engage with her growing mind.
Be a role model. Asking questions is how all of the greatest minds came to be. If your child does not seem curious in a subject or idea, ask them some questions about it yourself. Showing them that even an adult has questions and wants to learn will make them want to do the same. Your child looks to you to dictate their behavior and the more curiosity you show, the more they will display.
Make these teaching moments. Not every single “why?” needs to turn into a great discussion, but every once in a while, your kid will ask something that could lead to a greater teaching moment. Keep an eye out for these questions and turn them into conversations with you child that allow you to develop a great rapport and love of learning.
Follow up. If your child shows a deeper interest in a certain subject he keeps asking about, consider buying him a book, an interactive game, or even a TV show that covers that subject.
The great “Why” is an exciting, sometimes tiring, sometimes funny time in your child’s life. Embrace it and see how it can allow your kid to grow into a curious, active learner.