5 Responses When Kids Ask 'Why?'

Why do I have to wear a coat? Why is the moon up in the daytime? Why do I have to get a shot? The questions can be endless, but they are important to the development of a child.

Kids are born curious.  As they grow, they try to make sense of the world.  The question ‘why’ is fundamental to fostering curiosity in children.  In fact, curiosity is a fundamental part of being a scientist.  Scientific advancement happens on the edge of what is known.  Teaching kids to be unafraid of that edge is important for the development of scientific thinking.

Although parents may not know the actual reason why something happens, here are five responses to try instead of “I don’t know.”

1. Tell me what you think is happening.
2. That’s a good question, let’s go try to find the answer.
3. I’m not sure anyone knows the answer but it’s a good question to ask.
4. Tell me more about what you are noticing.
5. Why don’t we try to find someone who may be able to help us understand?

Allowing curiosity to grow is the best way to create future problem-solvers and scientific thinkers. By validating the question and encouraging them to find the answer, they gain confidence in their own abilities.  This is important groundwork to lay before kids become teenagers. This is a critical time, when students tend to look outward for validation.  Parents can be a role model for their kids as to how to ask questions, search for answers, and trust their abilities.  The world is full of questions waiting to be investigated.  Ask good questions and seek proof!

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