Teach Your Child to Ask Questions
Teach Your Child to Ask Questions
Children typically have an innate sense of wonder and natural curiosity about the world. Some children will ask any question that comes to mind, with the possibility of repeating the question many times over. Other children may feel less confident and therefore more reluctant to ask questions, even among their closest family members.
Whether your child expresses their curiosity without hesitation, or they shyly keep their wonderings to themselves, teaching your child to ask questions is an essential developmental and social skill. By following these recommendations, you will not only guide and encourage your child to ask questions, but you may find some surprising answers for yourself along the way!
The Importance of Asking Questions
Asking questions is a skill that will benefit your child in numerous ways across their lifetime. This skill will allow them to expand their knowledge, make connections, and process complex ideas.
Here are some reasons to support the importance of your child learning to ask questions:
- Strengthens language acquisition and expression
- Enhances critical thinking and problem-solving
- Improves comprehension
- Builds social skills
- Develops creativity
- Validates self-worth and self-discovery
Ask Your Child Questions
It can be difficult for parents to remember that children have unique thoughts, ideas, and perspectives at every age—and most kids are rarely asked for their contribution. Taking the time to ask your child about their feelings or views (in an age-appropriate way) will demonstrate that you value them as an individual. It’s also an opportunity to genuinely learn more about who your child is and model asking meaningful questions for them.
Here are some suggestions to get started:
- If you found a treasure chest, what would you hope to see inside?
- When you are a grown-up, what do you think you’ll do for fun?
- If you could talk to an animal, what would you say and/or want to know?
Be sure to ask open-ended questions and give your child the time and space to think and respond. Acknowledge their answer by showing interest in what they say and gratitude for sharing their thoughts. Then give them an opportunity to ask you something in return!
Provide a Proper Response
One of the best ways to teach your child to ask questions is to provide them with a proper response when they do. This provides positive reinforcement so that they grow more comfortable and skilled in deciding what to ask and how to phrase it.
Keeping the following characteristics in mind will ensure that you provide proper and healthy responses to your child’s questions:
- Be attentive
- Be honest yet reassuring (certain subjects such as death, sex, etc., can be scary or overwhelming)
- Ask for clarification (this way you’ll be sure to answer what your child is truly asking)
- Keep things age-appropriate
- Delay if necessary (but be sure to address the question as soon as possible)
- Express interest in their curiosity
- Show appreciation and encouragement of their inquisitiveness
If your child asks a question and you don’t know the correct answer, this is a great opportunity to show them the power of being a lifelong learner. You can discover information together by looking up the question safely online or taking a trip to the library to ask for helpful resources.
If your child asks a question and you don’t know how to respond or provide an answer, let them know that you need some time (an hour, a day, etc.) to gather your thoughts. This will model thoughtfulness and careful consideration rather than giving an offhand answer.
Of course, young children especially are often unaware of appropriate times and places for asking questions, so it’s essential for parents to plan ahead for these situations. Here are some techniques that will help you provide a healthy, temporary response to your child’s questions when circumstances prevent you from fully responding:
- If you are occupied and cannot take time to address your child’s question, calmly let them know that you are looking forward to responding when you are free. Be sure to follow up and give your full attention to their question when you are able.
- If your child asks a question that you feel is inappropriate for the time or place, let them know that some questions need a “quiet” answer. Then, when you have more privacy and/or a more suitable moment, be sure to let them know that you are ready to hear their question and give an answer.
- If your child asks an unexpected question that causes you to laugh or appear shocked, regain your composure as soon as possible. Let your child know that your reaction is not due to their question, or anything related to them as a person. Reassure your child that sometimes parents feel surprised and that it helps to take a moment to refocus.
Feeling ignored, embarrassed, or chastised for asking a question or expressing curiosity can create a huge mental and emotional obstacle for children to overcome. If you see this happen or your child reports such feelings, address them directly. Let them know that sometimes asking questions is tricky and reassure your child that it takes time and practice to learn the best strategies. Your support and encouragement will set a strong foundation for their future confidence in expressing themselves.
One of the best ways to help your child learn about themselves and the world around them is to encourage imaginative play and unique ways to observe their environment. At Cognisprings, we support parents looking for educational toys that inspire children to explore who they are and ask questions through imagination and critical thinking. That’s why we provide books, puzzles, games, and toys that are thoughtfully designed for creativity and curiosity. In addition, Cognisprings prioritizes fun and educational activities that are screen-free, promote healthy cognitive development, and encourage personal growth through independent play. Family togetherness, such as playing games, is important to for creating lasting memories as well, which is why our products are ideal for interpersonal communication and expression at any age.