What makes children ask “Why” repeatedly

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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

A friend was desperately looking for help . Her little one was challenging her with a constant” why” when she wanted the kid to sleep. Here is how the conversation went.

Anaya, please sleep!

Why???

Because it’s night!

Why???

Because the sun has set!

Why???

Because that’s what sun does!

Why???

After patiently answering the why so far, my friend cried for help. She could see no signs of the why stopping and Anaya going to sleep.

As parents I can relate to what my friend was going through. My son would continue asking similar questions and challenge my patience with his never ending curiosity. There were times when I would switch of the night lamps with the fear he may wake up and start his “Why”in the middle of the night.

Encourage the Why.

A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer- Author unknown.

Children make sense of the world around them with their constant curiosity and therefore the question Why. Helping them understand and respond to the Why is an excellent way to foster their learning and development. It is natural for them to get curious about the world around them. For parents and especially for mothers it is a daunting and exhausting task ,but it is also a matter of pride when you see your tiny tots gaining knowledge.

Honoring the child’s question and answering them to the best of our ability is something which each of us as parents do. When my child was young , I did not have the luxury of googling the information as there was no world wide web available then, to help me search for the answers. I therefore bought books .

I would buy books and urge him to read and then we would discuss. The activity not just helped him to quench his thirst for knowing more, but in many ways was a good learning experience for me. Sometimes while teaching children, as parents we get to refresh our knowledge. Learning never stops!!

Organized problem solving

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” ―William Arthur Ward

However annoying the questions asked by children may be, they do showcase their ability for problem solving. Children would never be satisfied with your response to their why, they would continue the questioning and dig deeper and deeper.

The 5 why technique developed by Sakichi Toyoda, and used in workplaces for problem solving and issue resolution, helps in exploring the cause and effect relationship underlying a particular problem or issue, be it technical or otherwise.

By repeatedly asking “Why” one can peel away the layers of symptoms which can lead to the root cause of a problem. The why here is similar to the why from the children. It helps them to be better problem solvers.

Why do we need to prepare our children for problem solving

It is not what you do for your what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings- Ann Landers

It is difficult to imagine what kind of a workforce our children will have to work with, but in the rapid technology growth era , their cognitive skills like problem solving, remaining curious, critical analysis, attention , mathematics, certainly requires a lot of focus.

In the increasingly technology world, our children will always be challenged to think and solve problems. As parents , inculcating these skills in them and preparing them for the future becomes our prime responsibility.

Children pickup problem solving skills even by observing how elders solve problems. I would often invite my son to help me solve problems which I thought would be good examples for him.

At the beginning of the school year, I would spend time in putting brown paper covers to his text books. Once I ran out of brown paper sheets. And so I asked him , I have run out of sheets, do you think we can wait till tomorrow or you have any suggestions? After some thought, he quickly pointed out that some of his story books have brown paper covers and we could remove them and use for his school text books. This is a very simple illustration of how we can provide opportunities for small kids to think.

Today because of technology advancement, there are children friendly computer games available. These games can help develop their cognitive skills. Online maths and word games are interactive sources of learning for children.

But enough play time should also be provided to them, specially away from the screens.Allowing the children enough play time and taking them away from the screens, helps them to develop their mental and emotional states. It also helps them improve their social and communication skills.

Life can throw many challenges, and our children should be ready to deal with them. Start them young on some of these skills.They would always be grateful to you.

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength- Maya Angelou

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Executive Coach & Management Consultant. I write about Self Improvement, Travel, Life and share my experiences from the corporate world.

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Shubha Apte

Executive Coach & Management Consultant. I write about Self Improvement, Travel, Life and share my experiences from the corporate world.