By: Blessing Adedimeji Adeyanju.
Updated on August 7, 2020.
Children are amazing and usually curious. They always want to understand the reason for everything they come in contact with. You must have wondered why your children (between age 1- 5) ask questions relentlessly. Regardless of the socio-economic status of their family, children feel there are so many things that they have to know. Sometimes, they may ask amazing questions, and sometimes, they may ask questions that sound not too smart to us.
After dedicating our time to answer our children’s questions, sometimes, they are unsatisfied with the answers they get. Children may refuse to accept what they hear from adults as absolute truth because they are considering other information that makes what they have heard unsatisfying. They may repeat some questions that you have answered, or they may ask them in another way. Children who consider other information before concluding if adult statements stand true or not are usually critical thinkers who are good problem solvers. The act of questioning encourages children to engage in critical reasoning (Chin & Osborne, 2007). If asking questions can make a child become a critical thinker and a good problem solver, then we should encourage children to ask questions because they would be of great relevance to their community.
When children continue to question adult statements, it may appear as if they are being doubted, and adults may be provoked if it appears that they are being doubted by their children. Then, adults may punish the child and refuse to engage the child in discussions. Adults need to reconstruct the way they view children who question everything. Rather than seeing it as a sign of doubt, parents should see it as a positive part of a child’s development. Parents should welcome a child’s curiosity and encourage it.
Sometimes, we may feel children ought to know the answers to some of the questions that they ask.In a case like this, instead of leaving the questions unanswered, we can help children figure out the answers themselves. One could help them do some simple analysis that would make them gain insights. By doing this, they would learn that some simple analysis can help them arrive at the answers to some of their questions.
Sometimes, the so-called irrelevant questions we feel our children ask may be pointing us to something we are not paying attention to. Sometimes, children may consistently ask us questions not because they are curious about getting information, sometimes all that they need is their parents’ attention. At this point, parents need to be sensitive to children’s needs and pay enough attention to them. Parents can also teach children a better way of asking for their attention instead of them asking the questions which we tag “irrelevant.”
Children may not consider how stressed you are before they bombard you with questions they sometimes want to get immediate answers to. It’s best when we understand children’s nature. Rather than getting angry because we are stressed, we can assure our children that their questions would be answered later. This statement would keep the child calm, wouldn’t kill their curiosity, and would help the child understand when to ask questions. Telling a child that his or her questions would be attended to later, shouldn’t be a way to avoid the child’s questions. Attending to their questions just as we promised, can help them trust us more.
Most times, we reward children for knowing the answers to questions, but we give little or no reward to children who ask good questions. Asking questions is a way children gain insights and understand their world. So, encouraging children to question things would help their growth.
Chin, C. & Osborne, J. (2008). Students’ questions: a potential resource for teaching and learning science, Studies in Science Education, 44:1, 1-39, DOI: 10.1080/03057260701828101
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