By Melodie Veldhuizen
Usually parents cannot wait for their toddlers to start talking. However, we forget that speech development is accompanied by difficult and sometimes uneasy questions. Children are curious by nature and endless questioning is an essential part of their development.
According to Dr Miriam Stoppard, author of “Questions children ask and how to answer them”, the first golden rule is to answer children’s questions as honestly as possible, so that they will feel confident to in future ask questions again. She recommends that you start with a simple answer and then establish whether your child is satisfied with your answer. If she continues with what she was doing, accept that for now your answer was satisfactory. Should she however still appear to be unhappy or unsure, ask if she wants to ask something more. If so, try to answer her question to the best of your ability.
The most common questions young children ask, with possible answers
Where do I come from?
Often this is the first question young children ask. The simplest and satisfying answer is, “You were made in Mommy’s tummy and grew their safely until it was time for you to be born.”
Questions about people with disabilities, such as, “Why can’t that man see?”
Children usually accept differences more readily than we realise. Tell her that people’s bodies’ are different and that people who are disabled were born that way or that the disability might have been caused by an illness or accident. Cultivate empathy.
Why is that lady so fat?
Once again, a simple answer should suffice, for example, that people have different sizes and shapes. It is unnecessary and insensitive to say that it is because the person eats too much (which perhaps might not be true).
Why does Daddy no longer live with us?
To protect your children against the hurt of a divorce is difficult for parents. Say there are too many things about which Mommy and Daddy disagree and that it is better for you to no longer live in the same house. Don’t malign the other parent, no matter how negative you feel towards your former spouse. Reassure your child that she is not the cause of the separation and that both of you still love her very much. Emphasise that she will still see both her parents regularly.
Am I going to die?
Children younger than five years do not yet have a proper sense of time, which is why a simple answer like, “Everything that is alive will die sometime, but you will live for a long time”, is sufficient.
Why may other people not see my private parts?
Tell her that we use them for things we don’t do in front of other people, such as having a bath or using the toilet. That is why we call them private parts. We may not allow anyone except Mommy and Daddy or a doctor to see them and nobody may touch us there. Also use the opportunity to warn her that she must tell you, should anyone try to touch her private parts.
Why does my friend have more toys than I?
Parents may decide on what they wish to spend their money. Your friend’s mommy and daddy spend more money on toys for their children than we do. Perhaps you feel jealous, but to have more toys will not make you a happier child.
Why do I have to go to bed earlier than you?
Children must get enough sleep so that their bodies and brains can rest because they work so hard during the day. You learn more than Mommy and Daddy during the day, which is why you have to go to bed earlier so that you can learn even better tomorrow and your body can work even harder.
The questions your child might ask are endless and will also differ from child to child. Remember, you need not have all the answers. Be honest if you don’t have the answer immediately; say that you will find out and get back to your child as soon as possible with an answer. If you forget, she will most probably remind you. Sometime you have to follow your parental instinct or belief regarding a matter to answer a question. On questions that require knowledge about a subject, information is usually available. Google or visit your local library if you don’t know the answer.
Consult the sources below for more questions with which your child might bombard you, and possible answers.
Enjoy this phase in your child’s life. You might also learn something new or discover the world anew through your child’s eyes and questions.
Made for Mums. http://www.madeformums.com/toddler-and-preschool/how-to-answer-your-toddlers-embarrassing-questions/1672.html
Smart Parenting. https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/parenting/real-parenting/11-tough-questions-from-kids-and-how-to-answer-them