Children and Questions

Some Questions are Not Fun to Answer

There are many different types of questions. Some questions are to see if a child knows the answer and others are asked to encourage discussions. The latter type often has many answers, with no one answer in particular being the “correct” one.

To ask questions is often an ignored skill, the focus is often on teaching children to answer questions. Yet, in science, innovation, and design the person who asks the most fruitful questions is often the most successful person. A good question helps to focus the attention on what information you should look for and it helps to describe the problem.

Questions are often asked to young children where no answer is expected. Talking to a baby and asking he wants some more mashed potatoes is a way to model questioning and to help a child to associate questions with a more and friendly atmosphere. Yet, later children’s questions can be ignored or not taken seriously. Part of the problem can be difficult to understand what they are asking. Yet, taking time to help your child express the question and to look for answers is a valuable life skill.

Can and Could and Maybe Should

Young children often ask question that are related to an immediate needs, such as “Apple?” or “Can I have a dog?” From the beginning, a child asks questions by using her face, voice or pointing. Often parents and siblings interpret the questions and later when he learns to talk, certain types of questions are answered while others tend to be ignored. However, rarely to we explicitly teach a child to as questions.

The famous “Why What, When, How, Where, and Who” are often taught.

But words such as “Can” and “Could” open doors to explore the world as well. “Can we change the colour?” “Can we add something? Even the negative loaded “should” can be explored.

Open up the Question box

Open-ended questions invite a child to think and explore a subject. By using their knowledge and looking for information, children can come up with answers without worrying about finding the right answer.

These question often motivate and exploration of the subject and the challenge thinking. Creative solutions to the questions are encouraged.

  • I wonder if…
  • What could we do…?
  • What would happen if…?
  • What do you think that happened…?
  • What did you notice about…?
  • Tell me about…?

Have some fun and ask questions after you have read a book together or seen a city dove walking around.  And let your child ask questions! Why not have a box with different questions and then every now and one out and have a Question Time. Or even notes with questions words and pull one out and make up a challenging question.


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