Not letting them ask.
Kids usually have a million questions about everything around them. I met my childhood friend after ages and before we could finish asking each other “How have you been,” her adorable 7-year-old boy wanted to know how I was, why was I at their place, who will take him for his swimming classes, can he have biscuits, why can’t he eat right before leaving, why is my hair so curly and so on and so forth.
Of course, the barrage of questions can get exasperating but that’s how we all are wired! We all were born like that: naturally inquisitive, with adorable curiosity. Somewhere along the line of leading the adult life, we let go of that natural curiosity. We began finding out the answers to our questions on our own.
If you are from the age when the internet and “Googling everything” was not a norm, you would know how this transition from being inquisitive to self-reliant occurred organically. However, we now stop our kids being inquisitive because we simply do not have the time to answer them patiently.
Why is that a problem?
However, in the busy age that we live in, everyone sitting with their mobile phones is a norm in most homes. Kids do this as well. Mumma is on Whatsapp, papa is browsing his phone, while the little ones are playing games on their phones. Out goes quality time, as technology takes over our lives. No harm in embracing the new life as long as we let our kids be kids.
If we are inadvertently killing their natural habit of asking us numerous questions and learn, that’s a red flag. We are in turn curbing their interest in things around them.
Things that intrigue our minds, help us open up and learn. We are curbing that trait from developing when stopping our kids from asking a lot of questions. So let them ask whatever they feel like!
Here are some practical ways to help our kids ask questions and for us to help handle them:
If your kids are not all that naturally inquisitive, discuss little stories with them. After you are done telling them stories, ask them casual little questions about why they feel the characters acted in a certain way, if the situations were different, how would the story have ended, and so on.
This eventually will encourage them to ask. When your kids tell you about their friends, school and the everyday occurrences from their experience, ask them a lot of questions! Don’t annoy them (wink wink), but do show genuine interest. This will temper them towards the attitude of asking questions.
When you are tired and your kids are being cutely inquisitive with their dozen questions, after answering a question you can request them to hold on for some time and then tell them when can you sit with them to talk. Don’t put them down. Simply be honest and tell them when is it that you can honestly pay attention and sit with them. Tell them you love their questions but just that you are genuinely tired. But do stick to your commitments. 🙂
When you don’t have the answers to all their questions, tell them that you can together find the answers! That would be fun and would show that you are genuinely interested and involved. Your kids need that.
Finally, although it can get on your nerves, find some mantra that calms you down and doesn’t ever tell those little inquisitive minds that their thousand questions are inane or annoying. That will break their hearts and kill their genuine interest in learning “with you.”
If you need more tips on how to go about encouraging your kids in asking questions and helping them out with the answers as best as you can, watch our video on Ability to Ask Questions from our parenting program!
If you have your set of questions on parenting, do not hesitate and ask us anything at all!