Answering the big questions

As the “what’s that?” phase passes, it may be replaced with another type of question, asked with just as much frequency and urgency: “Why?”

The stream of questions from Baby can feel exhausting sometimes. But these questions are a sign that your little one’s mind is growing right on track. While the most urgent questions used to be him asking you to identify objects for him, which helped to expand his vocabulary, he may now be asking “why” as a way of making sense of the confusing world around him. After all, for young children, even some very basic ideas are brand new.

Some questions have simple answers, while others are more challenging. Baby may start asking about God and religion, body parts and babies, the connection between animals and the food you eat. You get the picture.

Here are some tips for fielding the big questions from your little one without breaking a sweat.

Keep it age appropriate

The good news about tough questions at this age is your toddler will generally be satisfied with some basic information. He may want to know how the baby will get out of your tummy, you probably have a few more years before you have to explain how it got in there. Offer simple answers to Baby, and expand on your explanations as he grows.

Admit you don’t know

Sometimes, Baby is probably going to ask questions you don’t have answers ready for. When it comes to questions about the nature of the universe, for example, you may find yourself as puzzled as he is. In these cases, it’s perfectly fine to tell Baby you don’t know, but you will find out.

Offer solutions, not just answers

So he overheard that you’re having turkey on Thanksgiving, and wants to know if that’s the same turkey as the wild turkeys that you saw in your yard last week. In this case, it can be tempting to fib, but telling the truth is probably the best policy, as long as you keep the details age-appropriate. If he doesn’t have much appetite for dinner as a result, let him know it’s fine for him to skip the meat while he digests the information.

Remain calm

You are Baby’s number one source of information, and you want him to feel comfortable coming to you for answers. When he asks the inevitable body parts questions, don’t fret. Calmly respond in a way he will understand, and go about your day.

Redirect

If the questions get to be too much, feel free to redirect Baby’s attention to another area of focus. To do this in a way that doesn’t discourage his curiosity, you can start by asking what he thinks the answer is, or ask him to think of his very best question of the day, and save it for bedtime. This will get the wheels turning, and will give your mind some time to recover before the big question of the day!

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