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How to stay sane and calm when your kids ask “why”

“Why, mummy, why?”

Hands up all of those mums and dads out there who have heard those three little words a little bit more than you would like.

Perhaps you even pretended you hadn’t quite heard properly, or you were desperately busy doing something else, or maybe you just hid behind the sofa.

Everyone with a toddler knows that “why” is a favourite word, and can drive every parent to distraction.

But WHY do they keep asking questions all the time?

Just you wait for those incessant questions…!

Let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment.

You are three years old. You don’t know very much about the world, everything is so amazing and so new. You want to know ALL about it. So what do you do?

You ask the person you love the most WHY things are like that, or WHY that is happening, or WHY is snow white?

How can we deal with the why syndrome? Both my children were, and still are, hungry for knowledge about the world about them. I have dealt with it, and I have the bent ears to prove it. There are, I promise you, some great ways to ease the pain:

inquisitive child - How to stay sane when your kids keep asking why - article on

Ask your child what they think

It’s easy just to answer your child’s questions and hope that’s the end of it. However, it won’t be, will it? They will ask another question linked to your answer…and another…and another, until you need a sit down. So, why not turn it around? Ask them what they think about their question. So if they ask; “Why do I need to eat my cucumber?” Simply say, “Why do you think you should eat it, honey?”

I have employed this tactic on many an occasion and it really does stem the flowing tide of “whys” as you really get them to think for themselves. And that’s good for them anyway, isn’t it?

Answer the questions

I know, you don’t actually want to answer; they are hard, possibly even ridiculous questions. You simply don’t have the time. However, answering actually:

  • Shows that we are listening to them and value what they are saying to us
  • Helps them to question the world around them, and encourages an inquiring mind
  • Gives them information about their surroundings and other people to help them learn.

So I know it’s annoying, and it drives us all nuts. However, our kids’ questions really do matter to their development. So go on, give it a go and answer them as best you can!

And if all else fails…

If you don’t know the answer, find it out together!

Sometimes you get thrown a question you can’t answer off the top of you head. So if you don’t know the answer, stop what you are doing and go find out.

It’s fun for the kids, and it’s a big distraction from the next question. It’s also important to show that mummy and daddy don’t know everything. In fact, it’s OK to be wrong, and not to have all the answers.

You can look it up in a encyclopaedia to get them used to using books to answer their questions. You could use the internet to find the solution. Even better, show your child a video which gives them the answer. We live in a multi-media world nowadays , so why not use all we have at our fingertips to help answer those incessant whys?

Just accept it

It is inevitable that your kids ask why, it’s just a matter of when they’ll decide to ask. So, what should you do when it happens?

Accept it, answer their questions, and when they have gone to bed, go have a well deserved lie down, perhaps even with a nice glass of wine! I find that knowing it’s going to happen makes it just that little easier to deal with.

How do you deal with it when your kids ask why? Join the conversation on Facebook!

Note: This article first appeared on Yahoo Contributor network written by Helen Neale, but was withdrawn last year and publication on this site has been allowed.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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Friday 23rd of January 2015

Have two inquisitive kids here and often asking me things I simply can't answer-like the origin of nits from my 5 year old last night! Thank goodness for google. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts, please link back or add my badge. Thanks

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