Many parents who are currently raising young children or have raised children in the past recall the “why phase” many children go through. As the name entails, during this phase children continue to ask lots of questions. When parents are busy with housework and other tasks, receiving question after question can be really annoying. However, asking questions, especially “why” questions is very important for children’s development. In this article, we will introduce the characteristics of this phase and how parents can better handle all the questions.
The mechanism that takes place during the “why phase”
“Why is the moon round?”, “What are trees made of?”, during this phase children ask question after question. Most children go through the phase between the age of 2-6 years old and ask questions about the world around them. In the field of psychology, this phase is called the “questioning stage” and the first stage is said to take place between 2-3 years old and the second stage between 4-6 years old. When children are this age, their brains are developing and they absorb the information around them at a fast pace. The “why phase” encourages children’s curiosity and love of learning. So, it is important that adults answer children’s questions whenever they can.
What are the characteristics of this phase?
Children start asking “what is this?” when they begin understanding words and the “why phase” starts a little later. During the “why phase” children start out by asking questions about what they see around them and then move on to more difficult questions from there. As soon as you answer one question then they come out with the next question and asking the same question over and over again is not unusual. Questions are never-ending so it can be annoying to parents but it is important to accept the questions and not get angry.
Sometimes parents are busy and have trouble answering their child’s questions. For example, when asked “Why is the sun hot?”, if you answer “the sun has infrared rays and visible rays”, young children will not understand what you are saying and sometimes you do not have the time to answer in such detail. Children will be happy enough to hear an answer like “the sun is hot to keep you warm”. It is important for parents not to ignore the question or make up a simple answer just so your child moves on.
Try asking “what do you think?”
Once in a while, it is a good idea to ask your child what he/she thinks the answer to the question is. This will help them think for themselves and not rely on others to find the answers to their questions. While thinking, they may come up with the answer on their own which will help them feel accomplished and gain self-confidence.
Try suggesting that you research the answer together
It is OK to say that you do not know the answer. Then suggest that we can research the answer together later in a dictionary, encyclopedia or even on the Internet. By showing your child that you look the answer up when you do not know what it is you will teach him/her to do research on his/her own.
After a long, busy day, parents often do not have the time or energy to answer all their child’s questions. However, please keep in mind that asking questions is very important for your child’s development. It is a good idea for parents to expand their child’s curiosity by taking them to early childhood classes. Let’s help our children become interested in the world around them and answer their questions when we can.