Why does my kid always ask ‘why’?

They’re not trying to challenge you. They’re just naturally curious

Father and daughter reading book on bed.

Wonder why your child asks “why” so often? “Why” might start to be one of the most common words you hear from your child. Children ages 2-3 ask questions for the same reason you do – to get answers and to better understand.

Why all the questions?

Asking “why” typically starts about the time children are 2 years old and continues through the age of 5 years old.

At this age, children have limited life experience and their brains are developing rapidly. In an attempt to make sense of the world they live in, your child is naturally very curious about everything. This all leads to a thirst to understand, which causes the continual “why” questions.

Asking “why” is your child’s way of seeking to understand what they are seeing or experiencing. This behavior means your child’s curiosity is developing and your child wants to know more about things by asking you for the answers.

How to answer ‘why’ questions

Hearing and responding to the continual “why” questions can be exhausting. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when responding to your child’s “why” questions:

  • Ask your child “what do you think …?” to help develop your child’s critical thinking skills
  • At times, it is OK to say, “I don’t know. Let’s see if we can find the answer together” and do some book reading or web browsing research together. This helps further develop your child’s quest for learning.
  • Simple answers are best. At this age, your child doesn’t need a long explanation. For example, your child might ask, “Why do you wash my blankie?” The simple answer, “To make it smell nice for you.” Children this age can’t understand abstract concepts such as germs they can’t see.

Encourage your child’s learning

By continually asking “why,” due to their natural interest, your child is fueling their learning.

If you repeatedly ignore your child’s questions, you can actually discourage your child’s desire to learn.

To continue encouraging your child’s critical thinking skills, provide your child play in which they:

  • Need to figure out how things work
  • Use art tools to create something while seeing how various tools work
  • Experiment with cause and effect such as water play, in which some things float and some things sink

Patience is the key at this age. Do your best to answer your child’s many questions and their natural drive to learn.

For more tips on encouraging your child’s curiosity, attend the class “Why I Do What I Do.”

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Posted In Children's, Family Medicine, Parenting