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Dos and Don'ts of Answering Your Child's Questions

Updated: May 14

Professor Marc de Rosnay is a Professor of Child Development at the University of Wollongong who says we know from developmental psychology that questions are one of the most potent ways for children to learn about the world. Answering child questions is one of the most important things a parent can do.


It is a way to build trust and a strong relationship with your child. It can also help them develop communication skills and understand the world around them. Here are some dos and don'ts of answering your child's questions that should be taken into consideration.


Dos of Answering Your Child’s Questions


1. Be Sincere and Honest

Additionally, When it comes to answering your child's questions, be sure, to be honest, and sincere. It is important to be honest and open when answering your child's questions. Answer them candidly and matter-of-factly, avoiding sentimentality. This will help build trust and a strong relationship between you and your child.


2. Provide Age-Appropriate Answers

It is also important to make sure to answer your child's question in an age-appropriate way. This will ensure that they are getting the right information and understand what you are saying. If your child is too young to understand certain concepts, it's best to provide simpler answers so if your child is asking a difficult question, take the time to explain it in a way that they can comprehend.


3. Listen to Your Child

It is important to give your child your full attention when they are asking a question even if the question seems simple or silly, your child may be trying to understand something important. This will show that you value their opinion and that their questions are important. Make sure you're really listening to your child and not just responding. Ask follow-up questions, and don't be afraid to go into more detail if your child wants to know more.


4. Use Positive Language

When it comes to answering your child's questions, it is important to use positive language and avoid using negative language or shaming. This will help your child feel safe and secure when asking questions.


5. Ask Questions

Asking your child questions can help you better understand what they're asking and why they're asking it. It also helps to encourage critical thinking and reasoning skills. Encouraging them to explore their curiosity will help strengthen your bond and make them feel heard.



Don’ts in Answering Your Child's Questions


1. Don’t Overexplain

When answering your child's questions, it is also important to avoid giving too much information. Try to keep your answers short and to the point. If your child has follow-up questions, they can ask those but over-explanations can be confusing for your child and can make them feel overwhelmed. Try to respond only to the question asked, giving your child just the information they ask for and can handle.


2. Don’t Lie or Avoid the Question

Don't lie or try to whitewash facts, your child will be able to tell if you're withholding information and it could damage their trust in you. Be honest and open about the answer, even if it's a difficult conversation to have. But don't feel you have to go into every topic completely, especially for a young child.


3. Don't be Too Quick to Give an Answer

Before responding to your child's question, take the time to think about your answer and make sure it's the right one. Answering child questions should be a balanced approach between patience and understanding. Don't just give them a one-word answer; instead, explain the concept to them in detail and try to make it fun and engaging.


4. Don’t Be Judgmental

Don't judge your child or the questions they're asking. Your child may be simply curious and your response should be respectful and encouraging. It is important to avoid scolding or criticizing your child for asking questions.


5. Don't Make Assumptions

Don't assume that you know what your child is thinking or why they're asking a certain question. Try to be open-minded and consider all possibilities. Don't brush off your child's questions or make light of them. Your child may be genuinely curious and your response can have a huge impact on how they view the world.




In conclusion, answering child questions is a great way to build communication and trust. Make sure to remain patient, honest, and age-appropriate when answering their questions. Encourage them to ask questions and reward them for their efforts, questioning will help them understand the world around them. Answering child questions can be a challenge, but with the right approach, you can be a better parent.


FAQs


How Do You Answer A Child's Question?

Ask clarifying questions to understand exactly what your child is asking. Offer simple, straightforward answers. Be honest, it's okay to admit you feel uncomfortable or don't know exactly how to respond.


Should I Answer All Of My Child's Questions?

Dr. Neha Chaudhary Dr. Purosha, a child psychiatrist, says that by answering and asking questions, parents play a vital role in the child's learning. By paying attention to this sometimes annoying phenomenon, parents may help shape their children's development and better prepare them for long-term success.


How Do You Explain To Kids How They Were Born?

You might ask your child how she thinks it happens, and use that as your starting point. For example, if she thinks, as many children do, that the baby comes through the belly button, you could gently correct her by saying that she's close, but the baby comes out of a different hole. Also, you can read a children's book on the topic, You Were Born on Your Very First Birthday, by Linda Walvoord Girard, which does a good job of explaining birth without going into too much detail.


How Should I Answer a Child’s Question about Sex?

You can answer their questions honestly while still explaining that sex is something only grownups do. For example, if they ask what the word sex means, you can say something like: “Sometimes when two grownups like each other, they want to kiss and touch each other's bodies.


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