My daughter’s favourite word is “WHY”
“Why does the sun rise in the east?”
“Why do clouds pour rain on their whim and fancy? Why can’t we order them to rain on our command?”
“How does snowfall happen?”
“Why don’t stars fall from the sky?”
“Why is winter still lingering on when it’s time for summer to come?”
“Why did dinosaurs go extinct before I was born? I want to see them and play with them now!”
“Why is grass always green and why are flowers of different colors and shapes?”
“Why does heat turn food into soft stuff which we can eat and digest?”
When my daughter was 3-4 years old, it was easy to answer her questions, but now sometimes I suddenly get swamped with them. Yesterday she asked – “How do we make paper?” I gave her the obvious answer – from trees. Then came the next question – “A tree is so strong and huge, how is it possible to turn something so strong into delicate paper?” I tried to explain that they get processed in factories. Obviously her next question was, “What kind of processing?”
I then went into the details of papermaking – how raw wood is first cut into small pieces, then boiled with chemicals to make a soft pulp. That pulp is then dried out and after completely drying, it’s turned into a roll of paper. I also showed her a YouTube video which shows the whole process in a kid-friendly way. She finally felt satisfied and turned back to her routine play.
Kids and their questions are endless. When the questions are easy, we adults give answers instantly, but sometimes, these questions cause severe brain exercise for us as well! To think about a suitable answer and explain it for the child to understand is not an easy thing.
These are the things that I always keep in mind while dealing with my kids’ questions –
I try to answer the question instantly as much as possible in the same moment as kids lose interest if we delay answering the questions. They live in the moment and their curiosity fades away if they don’t get a satisfactory answer as soon as the question is asked.
I have lots of books from the “I Wonder Why” Series. These are very informative books which give answers to some of the big questions in a kid friendly language. Titles include – I wonder why soap makes bubbles, I wonder why camels have humps, and lots others. There is another series – “Mickey Wonders Why” from Euro Kids where kids’ favorite character Mickey asks questions and gets answers. For Eg., In the dinosaur book, Mickey goes back in time through a time travelling machine,sees and meets dinosaurs and explains all the dinosaur related facts in a fun way.
Questions related to death of loved ones are most tough to answer. Especially for the one they are attached to the most like grandparents. For explaining this most difficult topic, I suggest a book – The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffer. It’s a beautiful story of a little girl who place her heart in a bottle and forgets how to take it out. It shows kids how they can find their lost happiness again with the new people in their lives.
Every new question brings an opportunity for parents to teach something new to their kids. We can make the best use of it by first answering their and then asking more questions about the same topic to broaden their perspective.
When kids are young they think every question has an answer and they have every right to know more about that topic till their inner curiosity is satisfied. Their knowledge about topics when they grow up depends on how well these questions are answered. If questions are suppressed, soon they will stop asking more questions and will accept the fact that it’s OK not to know all things. This can stunt their growth as obviously we all want our kids to grow into individuals who think smart.
Answering their questions in an earnest way will definitely help us to bring up smart kids.
Rashmi Sehgal is the mother of two adorable kids, 4 and 1-year-old fondly known as Angel and Lil Prince on her blog. She wears the dual hat of mother and IT Professional who juggles between work and kids trying to maintain balance between both worlds . She is a voracious reader , avid blogger , Shopaholic, love to experiment different way of learning and unlearning things with her daughter and take pleasure in reading books to her daughter. She writes at rashworld.wordpress.com