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General Tips On Answering A Child's Questions

Updated on May 6, 2010

Children are naturally curious and tend to ask a ton load of questions as soon as they begin speaking. From simply pointing to something, and asking "What is this?" to more mature and difficult questions of "Where do people go when they die?" or "Where do babies come from?". In fact, some of these tough questions are those that we still aren't sure what the answers are. That fact goes to show how important it is for parents to answer the questions of their children in the best way that they can. Here are some general tips to give and find answers for the questions from your very curious child. 

Illustration by Palto (istockphoto.com)
Illustration by Palto (istockphoto.com)
  • Only give your child answers that you are sure about. Avoid the 'probably' and 'maybe' kind of answers. Remember that your word to your child is like gospel.
  • Avoid giving your child fairy tale like answers. It is easy and quite common to use answers given through unrealistic fables. While fairy tales and other fictional stories have their place, your child deserves answers that are based on facts.
  • Avoid giving responses that are simply to have your child be quiet. Being asked question after question can get annoying, especially the incessant never-ending "Why?", but for the sake of encouraging your child to learn and grow you may have to learn to be more patient. The 'shrug off' method of keeping your child quiet will discourage that natural investigative spirit of your child.
  • Direct your child's inquiries into an exciting experience. Research the answers together through multimedia, a trip to the museum, involving other children or other creative ways of finding answers. Children love adventure. Make it fun to find answers.
  • There are times when the place and time may not be convenient, conducive or appropriate to answer certain questions from your child. In such cases, you can promise to answer those questions at another time, but do remember to fulfill your promises.
  • Remember that young children learn in concrete ways, meaning that they are more likely to understand and remember concepts that they can relate to physical things. Answer his/her questions using simple and short sentences bearing in mind that young children have a short attention span.
  • Be prepared to repeat your answers again and again. Children will remember your teaching better if they hear it repeatedly. Be prepared to hear the same questions asked in various forms, and be patient in answering each time. As careful as you may be with your answers, your child may not grasp your explanations even though he/she may think that they have. Using the same principle - take the time to correct him/her by explaining again in a more comprehensible way.

In answering your child's questions, you may be able to find some answers to questions that you had as a child that weren't answered. Build the bond and be the great first teacher of your child by taking his/her questions seriously and answering them with willingness, patience and intelligence.

"You can learn many things from children.  How much patience you have, for instance." Franklin P. Jones

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