This Form Of Interaction Is Vital To Your Child’s Development

One of the greatest qualities our little ones possess is their sense of curiosity.  They are full of wonder as they learn about the world around them, and their curious nature is key to their development and growth.

This curiosity manifests itself in constant exploration of their surroundings, learning cause and effect, and as they enter the toddler years, asking countless questions.

Experts say that toddlers and preschoolers can ask between 75 and 100 questions per day!  It’s no wonder parents are often frustrated and exhausted by this constant onslaught.  Many of these questions have simpler answers than others.  “Why is the sky blue?” is a much easier question to answer than “Why do we die?”

But with a little understanding, some thought and patience, we can give meaningful answers to our kids’ simple or silly questions, and we can also do our best to give them age-appropriate answers to those deeper ones we may not have an answer to ourselves.

LifeWay offers some tips on how to give a meaningful response to all of our child’s questions, big or small; showing them respect for their curiosity and realizing that each question asked is of great importance to them.

The questions preschoolers and children ask of their teachers and ministers go on and on. We know that throughout history well-known teachers have used questions as a tool for learning.

Answer the question that is asked. Find out why the child has asked the question. Do not assume you know why the child asked the question. Take every question from a child seriously. Answer the question simply and honestly. Never embarrass a child about his question. Once you have answered the child, ask an open-ended question back to the child.

Be a good listener. Real listening means listening without judging children for what they say. Children will then feel validated when you listen to them. As you listen, you are telling the child that her concerns are worthy of your time and attention. Children can now feel safe with you and will be more open to future conversations.

Make time for conversation. Time is always an issue in our busy lives today. Recruit enough teachers in your class/department so that there can be opportunities for one-on-one conversations.

Get on a child’s level. Remember that children ask questions from their own limited understanding and life experiences, not from an adult’s point of view. They need an answer that will make them feel good. They need to know that God loves them.

Whisper a prayer before answering a child’s question. We are God’s representatives. We are His arms, His eyes, and His voice. Anytime I have a teachable, spiritual moment, I whisper a prayer that God will direct my words as I seek to guide a child toward a better understanding of God.

While parents may feel they are under interrogation all day, asking questions is one of the most important ways a child learns once they start talking.  They are not only looking for answers to help them better understand their environment, they are putting together the concept of engaging in conversation with others.

Every day, they are learning a little more about how things work and why things happen the way they do.  They will physically explore their surroundings, but their verbal exploration by questioning everything they see is perhaps more important for development.

When our kids can depend on us to give them honest and thoughtful answers when they are young, they are more likely to come to us with tough questions when they are older.  We are not only providing the information our kids seek; we are building a relationship of trust with them.

The Independent reported:

Unsurprisingly, almost one third of the 1,500 mothers and fathers polled said the constant interrogation is exhausting, but four in ten did admit their child’s interest in the world around them made them proud parents. 

 “As children grow up it’s natural to be curious about the world around them. As parents it’s easy to forget just how much of our children’s knowledge comes from what we tell them. But it can be tough to address the trickier topics.” [one physician] said. 

 “Using educational and visual aids such as toys can help to soften the difficulty of broaching trickier subjects. Expressing complex thoughts and ideas through familiar items can often help children’s understanding.”

All these questions are also a result of a child’s sense of imagination, and they may increase their inquiries as they learn to model adult conversations.  Using books and educational toys and materials can help you provide basic answers on why things work the way they do.

Once children start spending time with peers, they will inevitably question the differences between themselves and others.  These inquiries may be in regard to culture, race, finances, or religious practices, and require complex discussion, pointing out that everyone is created differently by God, and our differences make us unique.

Of course, there will be those difficult questions that have us stumped as parents.  “What happens when we die?” or “Why can’t we see God?” have no easy answers.

In this case, we may have to concede that even we do not have all the answers, and there are just some things we cannot know or understand.  As much as we may want to tell them, “I don’t know,” this response is not adequate.  Kids need to understand that we take their interest seriously – and will help open a dialogue about concepts like faith.

Remember, as a parent, you are your child’s first teacher.  They depend on us for the majority of information they receive when they are young, and the question and answer process is essential for their development.

What are some of the tough questions your young child has asked you, and how have you come up with meaningful answers?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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