hoe to handle the 'why's... help!!(9 Posts)
my 3yo was fairly late talker but since he started hasn't stopped. and now.... the constant whys. I love that he is so inquisitive and most times i have no problem at all explaining things to him. but then there are the times it just drives me mad, he doesn't take in the answer and asks the follow up why almost before i've finished explaing the first thing. one 'why' can easily produce 20 more and can end up with me <frustrated voice> just because ok! any tips on dealing with the whys without stifling his curiosity or loosing my sanity...??
Oh its difficult - mine suffer from the "but whys....". Although my Mum tells a story
over and over again about how when I was little I was very concerned about why our buses were blue. For about a year all she heard from me was "but why blue?, why not yellow etc"
Sorry no tips apart from or , and early bedtimes
He's maybe a bit young for this, but when's he's a bit older, I recommend the 'Let's look it up on the Internet.' Teaches them how to search, and stimulates their curiosity to follow on from one question to another (though it sounds like he doesn't have much trouble with that bit!).
Note: this strategy may backfire. Recent conversation with 7-yo DD1:-
Me: DD1, why are you behaving so horribly to your sisters and me?
DD1: I don;t know Mummy, shall we look it up on the Internet?
I read somewhere its actually about learning about how conversation works as much as understanding the world - I think once you have done a few then because it is is a completly fine answer -or I liked ask Daddy - or my dad actually loves answering kids questions and will go for longer than they will ever want
My great gran used to answer any whingy 'whys?' with the answer: "because Y is not a Z."
No idea what she was on about (God rest her soul) but it did shut us all up for a few seconds
I have a few strategies - if I think he's doing it for attention/bored etc I just ignore the question completely, especially if I've answered it fully and expanded. Or, I ask him 'why what?' so he has to ask a full question rather than just the auto-response. Or I ask him, 'why do you think X might be?'
Mostly I feel the why? is an attempt to keep conversation going and get/keep my attention as it often starts up when I'm busy in the kitchen, if possible turning to him and giving a full undistracted blast of attention is enough.
Inserting the odd "Why do you think?" can help.
I often get an endless string of "why"s from my nephew (who's 3). I am usually quite happy to answer him (probably because I am not subjected to it on a daily basis) and we have long involved (although slightly one-sided) discussions about why you can't walk over that particular piece of wood, or why there are clouds in the sky.
However, sometimes enough is enough, and there are a couple of things I'll do to move the conversation on to more interesting areas.
If the "why" conversation has come back to one of the original questions, I'll say "I've already answered that question. Can you remember what I said?" and more often than not, he'll remember, repeat what I said (occasionally slightly amusingly paraphrased - it's interesting at these times to find out what meaning he took from the long stream of questioning) and the conversation will move on.
If it's something I know he knows the answer to (such as "Why has that lady got her umbrella up?" when it's raining), I'll ask "Why do you think?". Often this causes a reply of "I don't know", but at that point I'll ask a couple of questions to help point him in the right direction of the answer (using the example above, "Why might you put an umbrella up?" and following from the response "Because it's raining", "Is it raining right now?", and following from the response "Yes", "So why does that lady have an umbrella up?" which gets the reply "Because it's raining")
This seems awfully long winded, and possibly awfully smug too (as I don't have children, and my experience is solely based on interactions with my nephew, my much younger sister and the children at a church crèche I helped to run) but I really enjoy chatting to my nephew and find that he has such a lot of very interesting takes on ordinary things that a few rounds of the "why" game seem worth it.
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