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My 3-year-old keeps asking me 'why'. How can I answer all his questions?

Anything that we tell him is met by the same response: why? For example: Why is sugar sweet? We do like explaining him but sometimes it gets way too much for us. How do we deal with this? Is this common among kids of that age?

Seeking Opinion Child Development , Child Behaviour , How To 4 years ago

5 experts and 4 parents have answered

Tom Baker writer
Tom Baker Staff Writer Derby, UK

I'm tempted to recommend the Louis CK approach to answering the constant badgering of 'why?' but I'm not sure that's totally age-appropriate.

My actual answer would be: embrace it! Nay, encourage it! Try your best to answer his questions and, if you can't, encourage him to try and figure them out for himself. Clearly he's a curious, inquisitive kid; that's something you want to foster, rather than hinder. It's certainly something that most children go through at some point, and for some the fascination with the world might drop off at some point, but for others it can lead into a lifelong interest in the pleasure of finding things out.

6 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
David Rhodes expert
David Rhodes Director of Technology Education US
Education expert

Curiosity can't be nurtured enough in a child. It's the root of learning - and the word "Why" starts it all. I know it takes great patience, but answer your child's questions one at a time.

When the questions get to be too much, go in another room, close the door behind you and let out a good loud scream. Then go back in the room where your child is and answer the next "Why" question - with a smile!

5 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Priya Desai expert
Priya Desai Speech and Language Therapist London, GB
Language expert

Some great answers here already. When a child asks why, you must stop and listen - your child needs to know you are there for them. For a question that's easy to answer, give an easy to understand explanation, and take the opportunity to model a nice sentence structure to help support naturally developing language skills e.g. "The bus is late because...." (sentence extended with because) or "We need to get to supermarket early so..." (sentence extended with so).

For a more complex question, answer as best as you can: "I think..." - we can't answer everything, but we can certainly give our ideas.

I think it's wonderful, when a child is naturally inquisitive - when we question, we open up our minds to more possibilities. For a child, this will help them become more flexible and imaginative in their thinking, which will support them in their learning at school.

3 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Roberto Catanuto expert
Roberto Catanuto Teacher, Club Instructor CH
Education expert

Why don't you try out a remix of the SOLE learning approach of prof. Mitra ?

You could give him a few easy-going tools to interact with, to get closer to the answers. Try also to inspire a sense of good or better answers rather than the stress of "correct" answers.

Scientific research rarely has correct and definite answers, if ever. He would slowly acquire the pleasure of discovery.

And let him make mistakes !

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Mrunal Nayak
Mrunal Nayak Mrunal. Customer Service Manager India

Congrats!!! Your child is very intelligent. Since he is only 3 years, obviously everything he looks around is new to him. Its good that he wants to know, he wants to understand. Please be patient and give right answers to all his questions.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Anthony Flower
Anthony Flower Father of three & web developer Christchurch, GB

This is great and definitely something to encourage. For now all you can do is keep trying to answer, even if they don't really get it. As they get older you can then encourage them to look it up themselves. Our daughter is a 'why?' child, it was constant. We now have a bookcase full of books on history and science and she spends a couple of hours each day just reading them.

From an incredibly unscientific sample of just my brother and I, I was the one to ask 'why?' constantly, my brother was not, he just accepted everything. Fast forward 30 years and we are exactly the same, I still crave knowledge and enjoy learning new things. He does not, he simply accepts the world and questions very little.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Andrew Weekes expert
Andrew Weekes Techy engineer, father of two. Sevenoaks, GB
Technology expert

Never discourage this, it's the essence of childhood and something that should stay with people throughout their life, but often that spark gets lost somewhere along the way.

You don't have to have the answer straight away either, but make sure you do follow up and don't forget to answer if you've promised to do so.

Also don't be afraid to say you don't know, but use that opportunity to find out together the answer to their question, that way you let them know there's no shame in not knowing an answer, but there's always a way to find out.

You'll set your child up for a lifetime of learning if you're lucky, I value those inquisitive questions from my son so much, I hope that thirst for knowledge never leaves him!

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Dr Dylan Arena expert
Dr Dylan Arena Chief Learning Officer US

A great first response is often, "Why do you think?"

I've written a blog entry on my company website ("Ask children why") that gives more details, and I'll be following up with a second entry soon ("Tell children why") that expands on many of the great points raised already in this thread.

The short version is: If you help your son find answers, he will learn that questions have answers. If you help him find those answers not just by telling him but by scaffolding his inquiry, he will learn that questions have answers that he can discover. This belief is the source of all scientific exploration.

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Experience 3 years ago
Jessica Alley
Jessica Alley

Every parent had experienced these type of situation in their life. Sometimes, we don't know how to answer their questions. I have faced this situation in many times and I have taken the assignment help website review to answer the questions logical manner. This decision really helped me a lot.

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Opinion 5 months ago

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