Asking questions plays a crucial role in your child’s development and how they learn and make sense of the world. And while it can be a bit overwhelming when our little ones come to us with a big question, (hello the dreaded ‘where do babies come from?’) we should avoid the temptation to give them all the answers right off the bat – or worse, to deflect and say you’ll tell them when they are older. Avoiding the conversation essentially shuts down question time and discourages them from feeling safe and comfortable asking other questions.
In partnership with LEGO® DUPLO®, and with the help of parenting coach Genevieve Muir, we’ve got 5 simple ways you can break down big questions into curious jumping-off points for your little one through play. So the next time they come at you with a, ‘Why doesn’t the sky fall down?’ you’re prepared and ready to have some fun.
1. Acknowledge the question
Instead of panicking and trying to skirt around the question, or simply saying ‘I don’t know’, try saying, ‘that’s a fantastic question’, or, ‘I love that you asked that’.
This does two things – it lets our kids know we are ok they asked but it also gives us a breather to think of our answer!
2. Wonder out loud
Don’t feel like you need to gather your thoughts internally, feel free to wonder out loud as this will help you to get more info on what your little one actually wants to know. ‘I’m wondering what you think the answer is?’ Or, ‘I’m curious what you mean by that, can you tell me more?’
This helps to clarify the actual question and also stops us from launching into a full description of ‘the birds and the bees’ when what our child wanted to know was actually not that detailed.
Tip: When your little one asks these curly questions, boost their cognitive skills by diving into their imagination and playing out the answer together with toys such as the LEGO DUPLO Wild Animals of the Ocean set. Use the toys to engage their cognitive skills by asking them questions too, and getting them involved in finding out the answers.
3. Ask your child what they think the answer is
Asking your child what they think the answer is gets their minds working and often, they already know the answer so they get to feel empowered! Or, if they don’t know the correct answer, it’s great to encourage them to have a go and get their mind – and imagination working.
The best part? Their answers are usually adorable!
4. Keep your answer short and sweet
Short, sweet and direct is always best. When you answer the question, use correct words and truth statements – but keep it as simple (and age-appropriate) as possible. Use your discretion when it comes to answering questions, it’s never a good idea to lie, for example, if they’re asking about death or an uncomfortable subject. But it is important to tailor your answer to their age and what they can process.
5. Answer the question with connection
We lead busy lives but when we get asked a big, tricky or complex question, it can be easy to want to brush it off or give them a simple answer and move on. However, stopping to really connect is so powerful for our relationship with our child and it means they will be willing to come to us when they are older too.
Tip: If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest! It’s important for our kids to remember that we don’t know everything, but make a moment of connection around that, ‘that is such a great question and I don’t know the answer but I’d love to find out, shall we do some research together?’
By taking away the need to simply answer our children’s questions and move on, we can provide added layers of learning for curious little minds. Making your child feel safe and secure to answer the big questions, which right now might simply be, ‘why is the sky blue?’ will allow them to feel comfortable to one day come to you with the big questions in life.
When we engage with our little one’s big questions, making conversation and moments of connection, we are encouraging them to form new questions and ways of thinking – which in turn boosts their self-confidence and critical thinking skills.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred and LEGO® DUPLO®
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