You realise how little you know and observe when your child starts asking you questions.
A child asks about 40,000 questions between the age of 2 to 5. By the age of 11, most children stop asking questions. Research done by Harvard Child Psychologist Paul Harris.
My four year old loves to ask Why? His conversations begin with some random observation followed by “but Mumma Why?”. I also observed recently that my older son who is seven does not ask so often as he used to. I started to wonder what changed and WHY?
My conclusion was that my younger one is learning to read, observing his surroundings more, developed a vocabulary for conversation and has no other means to get information besides from us. My older son reads more, aware of his surroundings and learnt and accepted the information on various topics discussed at school.
I discovered this recently when he asked me for help with his computer homework. He wrote a coding program and made some complex patterns and got stuck with one code. While we fixed that step I asked him why he was learning computers and making patterns but he had no answer! I knew then as a parent that I need to fix this error in my parenting.
Why do we stop asking questions?
Like an ideal Millennial Mom, I did a lot of reading and found this-
1. After the age of 5 the brain starts to trim some of the neural connections that expand so quickly in the first few years of the child’s life. This can explain why children begin to wonder less about their surroundings.
2. As we develop we get better at categorising things. We have enough information and facts to draw conclusions.
How to encourage kids to question more and ask WHY!
1. Talk more. Have a conversation. Our busy schedules often limit our conversation to school and our daily activities. Ask them questions they can relate to and spark curiosity.
2. Keep it real. Invest in experiences like taking them for a picnic, nature walks, gazing at stars than feeding information only through books and visual teaching methods.
3. Ask them what they are being taught at school and why do they need to learn. How this will help them when they grow up.
4. Talk to them about their toys. Why you bought them, how they play and how this will help them.
5. If you don’t know the answer or a bit busy to explain. Tell the child that you will find out and talk about this soon. Keep your promise.
6. Family Mealtime- Dinner table conversations are key.
7. Don’t overload kids with activities and information. Expose them to new things but keep the balance of free play and education.
8. gives space to independent thinking.
9. Encourage questions and let them know asking questions is not a bad thing. It means you want to understand something better.
Raise Kids who ask WHY. They will grow up to be people who don’t accept the given blindly, think out of the box and spark a change for the better.