Hands up all of those mums and dads out there who have heard those three little words a little bit more than you would like.
Perhaps you even pretended you hadn't quite heard properly, or you were desperately busy doing something else, or maybe you just hid behind the sofa.
Everyone with a toddler knows that "why" is a favourite word, and can drive every parent to distraction.
But WHY do they ask us this question all the time?
Let's put ourselves in their shoes for a moment.
You are three years old. You don't know very much about the world, everything is so amazing and so new. You want to know ALL about it. So what do you do?
You ask the person you love the most WHY things are like that, or WHY that is happening, or WHY is snow white?
How can we deal with the why syndrome? Both my children were, and still are, hungry for knowledge about the world about them. I have dealt with it, and I have the bent ears to prove it. There are, I promise you, some great way to ease the pain:
Ask your child what they think
It's easy just to answer your child's questions and hope that's the end of it. However, it won't be, will it? They will ask another question linked to your answer...and another...and another, until you need a sit down. So, why not turn it around? Ask them what they think about their question. So if they ask; "Why do I need to eat my cucumber?" Simply say, "Why do you think you should eat it, honey?"
I have employed this tactic on many an occasion and it really does stem the flowing tide of "whys" as you really get them to think for themselves. And that's good for them anyway, isn't it?
Answer the questions
I know, you don't actually want to answer, they are hard, possibly even ridiculous questions. You simply don't have the time. However, answering actually:
- Shows that we are listening to them and value what they are saying to us
- Helps them to question the world around them, and encourages an inquiring mind
- Gives them information about their surroundings and other people to help them learn.
So I know it's annoying, and it drives us all nuts. However, our kids' questions really do matter to their development. So go on, give it a go and answer them as best you can!
And if all else fails...
If you don't know the answer, find it out together!
Sometimes you get thrown a question you can't answer off the top of you head. So if you don't know the answer, stop what you are doing and go find out.
It's fun for the kids, and it's a big distraction from the next question. It's also important to show that mummy and daddy don't know everything. In fact, it's OK to be wrong, and not to have all the answers.
You can look it up in a encyclopaedia to get them used to using books to answer their questions. You could use the internet to find the solution. Even better, show your child a video which gives them the answer. We live in a multi-media world nowadays , so why not use all we have at our fingertips to help answer those incessant whys?
Just accept it
The why syndrome is inevitable.
Accept it, answer their questions, and when they have gone to bed, go have a well deserved lie down, perhaps even with a nice glass of wine! I find that knowing it's going to happen makes it just that little easier to deal with.
Does your child ask lots and lots of questions? How do you deal with it?