3 Reasons to Let Your Preschooler Ask ALL THE QUESTIONS
If you are the parent of or the caregiver to a preschooler, our next statement will not come as shock…
Children of preschool age ask a lot of questions.
From the moment they wake in the morning until their heads hit their pillows at night, those related to, caring for, or who encounter young children must navigate a barrage of questions that can range from the practical…
How do I make this zipper work?
To the abstract…
Would you eat the moon if you found out it really was made of cheese?
The truth is, fielding a non-stop stream of questions can be exhausting, so we’re hoping our next statement provides a modicum of comfort…
All the questioning is perfectly normal.
It’s important to remember that a child’s brain develops at a lightning-fast rate during their first five years of life. In fact, the development that takes place from age 0 – 5 is faster than any other development at any other time in a child’s life.
In fact, the rate at which preschoolers fire out questions is quite representative of the rate at which they are piecing together information and making new connections. For those of us with a deep love for children in this age group, it’s thrilling to watch their little minds turn on and their knowledge deepen. And that’s why we’re sharing our top 3 reasons to let your preschooler ask all the questions.
1. It Makes Them Better Communicators
We’ve all watched as an excited preschooler struggles to get their question(s) out. It’s almost as if you’re watching in real-time as the thought develops in their head…as if they can’t get it out fast enough.
Putting their thoughts into spoken word is a learned skill, and it’s easy for parents to want to help by supplying the words they think their child is searching for…but your child will be better off if you allow them to craft their question independently. Once they’ve asked their question, you can rephrase it to make sure you understood what they were asking…
Are you asking me why we can only see the stars at night?
Allowing your child to find their own words will make them more articulate and improve their communication capabilities.
2. It Encourages Curiosity
Usually, when a child asks a question, it’s because they are genuinely curious about something, and curiosity is inextricably tied to learning because it is the way children receive information and begin to make sense of the world around them.
As parents or caregivers, the way you respond to your child’s questions is important because it will affect how they feel about learning in general. If your child’s curiosity is met with eye-rolling or annoyance (either displayed or verbalised), they may begin to view the act of learning about their environment in a negative light.
Try to remain enthusiastic as you field questions from your child, even if you must postpone your answer…
What a great question! I’m so glad you asked but because it is bedtime, you’ll have to wait until morning for the answer.
As Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
3. It Teaches Them That Not Having the Answer is OK
Just as much can be learned from our failures, so, too can knowledge come from asking questions to which we don’t know the answer.
Children ask questions of the adults in their lives because they are certain you know everything…and because they trust you implicitly. So, it is quite the gift when they ask you a question you don’t have the answer to because you can discover the answer together.
When your child asks you a question, take it as an opportunity to research the answer together. While the internet will likely provide the fastest answer, consider other opportunities like going to the library and researching books or conducting experiments at home. In doing so, you’ll show your child that not knowing is okay, and you’ll model how to discover answers on your own.
A Few Extra Guidelines When it Comes to Answering Questions
- It’s okay to have boundaries – Not all questions are asked at convenient times. If you are taking a call or in the middle of a conversation with someone, it is important to let your child know they may have to wait for an answer. This is also an important social skill that children must learn.
- Try answering a question with a question – This is a great way to engage a child’s critical thinking skills. If they ask why a spoon falls faster than a balloon when dropped, reply with a question of your own…What is different about a spoon and a balloon? They may say that a spoon is heavy, or a balloon is filled with air. By placing the question back in their court, you draw them closer to coming up with their own answer.
Hang in there, parents and caregivers, and remember…all those questions really are good for your little one’s brain!