(Goblin is 4 years old)
Kids ask questions to help them make sense of the world. Giving a full and truthful answer helps them to learn about their surroundings.
Kids also ask questions as a way of interacting and having connection with a parent. So brushing off a question with "because I said so" is saying "I don't want to connect with you right now".
A good question shows an appetite for knowledge and will usually be followed up with another good question or a hypothesis. On the other hand a repetition of the word "why" may show an appetite for connection rather than necessarily for knowledge. Either way, a good answer shows you are engaged and care about your child interests.
Often Goblin asks questions that I don't have the answers to. I don't lie and make up an answer, I don't dumb down and I don't claim something happens by magic just because I don't understand the science. I admit I don't know. We theorise on what the answer might be, and we agree to look it up later. This plants the seed of learning how to research things. It empowers my child to know where to seek his own knowledge.
It drives me nuts when parents at the zoo answer a child's question of 'what is that animal?' with a made up answer - looking at a gopher and saying its a rat - or dumb it down by calling it a 'kitty cat' when its a Leopard! There is a sign next to the cage, you can teach your child by reading the sign. Otherwise why go to the zoo?
The other day we were playing with Goblin's tanks. He asked me what kind of tanks they were. I didn't have a clue having exactly zero knowledge of tanks. So he went and found his tank spotter guide (purchased by Hublet after a trip to the Imperial War Museum) and we looked up the shape of the tank and estimated what the tank might be. This was a lesson in research and in estimation, and also in the fact that Mummy doesn't always have the answers.
I was reading articles about Reggio Emilia educational philosophy the other day. In one by Interaction Imagination the following struck me
"Moss (2007,p.136) writes that a previous mayor of the city claimed the Fascist experience had taught the citizens’ of Reggio Emilia that people who conformed were dangerous and that this is why the parents so desired critical thinking for their children."
It is healthy to questions and challenges the world, and as parents we can foster and nurture our child's curiosity by answering their questions effectively, and showing them how to answer them themselves.
Some posts from last weeks link up that I recommend reading include:
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