I’m an Encyclopedia Mom. Will my kid ever stop asking me questions?
“Why can’t I go to school today?” (AKA the first words out of our kid’s mouth every weekend morning)
“Why is the sun sleeping? Can you wake it up?”
“Why is it snowing? Can you make it stop?”
“Why is that bird red? Can you make it blue? I don’t like red.”
If your days are filled with whys, you’re not alone. Most days, I think our son asks why at least five times in the first 15 minutes he’s awake. I’m sure for you it starts off fine, too. It’s heartwarming to see your little one excited about the world and anxious to learn more about how it works.
Well, at least the first time.
But there will be a second time. And, let’s be real. Probably a fiftieth time. The further you get away from the first mention, you’re not the only one who starts to lose a little patience, with the answers getting shorter as you pray they’ll just move on.
Why all the whys you ask?
- In many ways, it’s logical. They’re still so small and the world is so big and mysterious. By prompting you with one simple word, they can get tons of information back from you on any topic that strikes their fancy. It’s not too important to them if they’ve asked you once or a thousand times.
On the hunt for consistency.
- They’re trying to see how you explain the answer every time. Just like with any question, assuming a bit of time has elapsed you’ll likely say something slightly different by using a different example or different words. Either way is a win for them. When you explain something the second time, it confirms your first explanation or provides them with another set of context.
Trying to comprehend the big unknowns.
- This is the tricky one. If you are tackling some of the biggies early on (like death, illness, sex or religion) those will understandably take some time for your child to understand, especially because we have to be sensitive in our messaging.
Testing your limits.
- There’s something magical about the age. They really do believe you know everything. Relish it. But also, don’t feel like you literally have to know everything. At this age, you’ll likely know most. And the rest might only be a Google search away (bless the internet.) It’s okay to tell them when you don’t know the answer to something!
They might just want to talk.
- If your child is inherently chatty, they may just want to talk and familiar concepts provide them with talking points! If it’s bedtime, they may have figured out that this is a smart tactic to get you to stop and chat—as well as earn them a few more minutes before they have to close their eyes.
So what can you do to make this phase as manageable as possible?
- For the big concepts, it can be helpful to chat with your partner and choose terms to focus on. Plus, agreeing on the methods you want to use to explain these tough ideas can help your mini understand faster. Them hearing the same from both of you should help make the challenging topics easier for them to grasp.
Return the quiz.
- Just because they’re young doesn’t mean you can’t test them back! Can they explain back to you a fraction of what you’ve shared with them? Ask them and see. If not, it’s a great opportunity to discuss listening and encourage them to take in more of those answers you’re giving them.
Paused to just breathe.
- Such a simple piece of advice that requires minimal time, resources and effort. Yet we as parents so often forget how helpful taking a moment can be. It’s easy for their questions to wear you down and this might just be the reset you need.
In the meantime, know it’s a phase. Like all phases, it’ll pass and you’ll find yourself with an all new parenting challenge to battle!