So, let's assume that your preschooler really does ask an excess of 400 questions a day. If it's not 437, it sure does seem like it is, doesn't it? Little kids ask so many questions, and it wears on us, right?
"Why do you put make-up on?"
"How does the chicken get into the egg?"
"Will I have wrinkles like that when I get older?"
"Will I always be a girl?"
"Can you fall asleep with your eyes open?
"What about standing up?
It's cute at first, but the truth is, we have things to do. We've got to take a shower, put gas in the car, answer emails, wash dishes, make lunches, answer the phone. The list goes on. We can't be bothered by answering questions all day, can we? So, we get to the point where it just gets to be too much and we tell them to stop, to go away and do something else, to watch TV or play with Legos.
And, eventually they grow out of it, right?... Or do we just chastise them out of it? Do we tell them to stop enough that they eventually do, and that sense of wonder begins to fade?
I teach third grade, and at times my students have questions that I can't address immediately. I have to be sure we cover the material. There are also times when I want them to so badly to ponder and ask and wonder, and I get nothing. I have learned in the classroom that instead of squelching their questions, that I have them jot the question down for us to address later. Or, at times, I have them find their own answer on their iPads (we're fortunate to have one for every student at my school).
We want kids to wonder. We want kids to ask. Kids who ponder are kids who think, who want to know, who crave data entry. It's our jobs as parents to give it to them.
Can we answer 437 questions a day? Of course not. But, let's shoot for twenty-five. When we can't answer because we're on the phone or just need a break, ask your child to draw a picture of what they think the answer to the question is. This does three things: it gets them thinking about their own thinking. It gives them time to concentrate on one question for awhile as they are drawing, which means you contend with less questions during that time. And, finally, it gives you a record of the question and their thoughts on it, something you can come back to at the end of the day in bed.
We have to live our lives. We can't answer 3,000 questions a week, but we also don't want to stop our children from thinking, asking and exploring the world. The kids who think are the kids who prosper.
image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/abu