Question Time: 4-year-olds
I relate entirely to this, as will all other parents who’ve been through, or are experiencing this phase. My boy is as curious as they come, and during this phase would fit in maybe ten ‘why’s per simple request. He’s still asking, which I believe is a good thing for his future, although thankfully thinking more before asking ‘the next one’. One moment he wants to be a scientist, the next a journalist, a pilot and (thankfully!) a marine biologist.
Encouraging curiosity can only be a good thing; while you sometimes may feel like banging your head against the steering wheel, take a deep breath and be damn thankful that your child isn’t sitting there mute and disinterested in all around him. Don’t brush off those questions, however frustrating they get, after all it’s part of your job as a parent and you did sign up for this. But as there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel, I’ve borrowed the below snippet from a website that I find very accurate in terms of developmental milestones (link below).
“Conversations can sometimes feel like interrogations with curious, chatty 4-year-olds. A particular favorite now is the “wh” words: Where are we going, Mom? When will we get there? Who are we going to see? Why isn’t Dad coming with us?
As part of her new mental abilities, she’s getting all the connections put together. She wants to see the order of things. Another reason for the nonstop questions is that your child’s vocabulary is exploding, and she wants to practice using words to probe her world. Intellectually, she’s beginning to understand that there are reasons for things — and she wants to know what they are.
Try not to brush off questions, relentless though they may be. Keep your answers short and sweet. She doesn’t really want a long-winded scientific explanation of why the sky is blue. When you get tired of answering, ask questions back instead: “What do you think?” If you notice a persistent theme to questions that show your child is really curious about something — say, clouds — visit the library together and check out a few books that fuel the interest. Who knows where her questions may take you? At the very least, you’ll learn how to tell a cirrus from a cumulus.
‘Why is this a tomato, Auntie Alex?’ (!)
Your life now
Perseverance is an important trait to model for your child. Studies show that people who are persistent — rather than those who have high IQs — tend to achieve greater success in life. Let your child see you going the extra mile, whether it’s fixing something around the house or sticking with the same project such as a big book or a painting night after night.