Friday, February 26, 2010

Why answer your child's 'why'?

My son came home from school yesterday and told me that the supervision aide who helps watch the kids on the school grounds when they're playing during recess or lunch, told him and his friend to stop digging little holes in the sandbox. He told me he didn't understand the reason behind her request. I told him that he could first tell her that he'll stop, and then ask her why in a respectful way. He said he did ask her why, and that she only repeated, "Stop digging those holes," and ignored his question.

When children are little, one of the first and often annoying questions they ask is, "why?". When our kids were small, both my husband and I tried our hardest to answer all the 'why's and refrain from shooting out a sharp, "Because!" We want to foster our children's curiosity, and most of all, we don't want them to take things at face value all the time or to feel as though they can't challenge authority. In short, we want them to think for themselves.

So, answer your children's 'why's. Why? Because it encourages their curiosity, gets them thinking, and keeps us as parents, teachers, caregivers on our toes!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hear hear Emma. In the end, there were some whys that simply got the "Because I say so" answer, but for the most part I used to answer as many questions as I cound, find out those I didn't know and sometimes, admitted I simply did not know. Incidentally, I'd like to know why no holes in the sandbox-thought that's what they were for, as long as the sand didn't get dumped outside the box. Let us know......

Emma said...

For sure. I am guilty of barking out a frustrated "Because!" once in a while, but I do try to answer to the best of my ability, even if sometimes the answer is simply, "I don't know."

Anonymous said...

Kids and their questions are beautiful! The comments in your blog brought to my mind the kids song by Anne Murray. Lyrics are below

Why oh why why?
Why why why?
Because because because
Good night good night

Why does a camel drink water?
Why why why?
Because a camel gets thirsty just like you and me
And everybody else does
Good night good night

Why can't a mouse eat a streetcar?
Why why why?
Because a mouse's stomach isn't big enough to hold a streetcar
Good night good night

Why can't a cow have kittens?
Why why why?
Because well um God
Because cows have little calves
And cats have little kittens
And besides dear it's easier that way
Good night good night

Why won't you answer my questions?
Why why why?
Because I don't know the answers
Good night good night