The Importance of the “Why?” Phase

For those of you who have or have had toddlers, and even for those that haven’t, this phase is probably a bit familiar. The “Why?” Phase is that stage toddlers hit when suddenly they want to know all the ins and outs of the world. They want to know why things are the way they are, and why they work the way they work. Arguably, this stage is the most curious a person will ever be because it’s when we first start figuring things out. And although after a while, it may get a little frustrating to hear “But why?” after “But why?,” try your hardest to remain calm with your toddler. Explain your answer in the best way you can – no one’s going to judge you if you have to whip out your phone and search for it.

Whatever you do, remember that this “Why?” Phase is crucial to your child’s understanding of the world and considerably critical to their development. Consider these tips to help develop your child’s natural curiosity.

Try to figure out exactly what it is they are wondering about.

At such a young age, their curiosity far outweighs their vocabulary to describe it. When answering their questions, do your best to figure out exactly what they are talking about, even if they lack the words to describe it. This way, you can give them an answer that makes the most sense to them. Watch as the gears churn in their head as they start to understand the rules that govern our world.

Give the best answer you can.

Sometimes, if not most times, you won’t have the perfect answer to any of your child’s “why?” questions, but try to answer the best you can anyway. Smartphones are a beautiful thing because the answer to virtually any question is at our fingertips, so don’t be afraid to look it up. Chances are they will be captivated by whatever you say, but if you take the time to figure out the correct response you’ll learn a little something along the way as well. Curiosity induces curiosity, and you’ll be surprised about how much your toddler can teach you.

Use your child’s questions as insight.

When children are this young, their thoughts are wild with imagination and curiosity about how our universe exists. Use these “why?” moments as insights into your child’s thoughts, interests, and future passions. Discover what they find fascinating and let that help you build on your child’s interest. Children need encouragement to be curious, so they can discover their passions as early as possible.

So, next time your toddler or someone else’s toddler won’t stop asking “why this?” and “why that?,” stay calm and remember this is a large part of their learning process. Have fun answering the questions and you may just learn a thing or two!

Jim and Bobbie PuryearThe Importance of the “Why?” Phase
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