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Teaching young children to ask questions requires patience and perseverance. You have to be repetitive so your child can learn how to pose queries. Here are some suggestions for things you can do to make your child ask questions and stimulate his curiosity.
Questioning involves a very high level of thinking. Often, questioning minds are very intelligent minds. Posing queries broadens a child’s horizons and helps him gain more knowledge about his environment. According to a survey, young children on an average ask about 228 questions a day from their mothers! Toddlers begin by asking one-word questions with a rising intonation at the end, such as ‘Mommy?’ for ‘Where is mommy?’ With encouragement and guidance, they can progress to asking more complex queries.
When do Children Start Asking Questions : The Progression
Generally, toddlers first ask ‘What’s that?’ at the age of 15-18 months, followed by ‘where’ questions and then ‘why’ questions, which are never ending! Children begin to ask ‘what’ questions around the age of 2.5 to 3years. The endless ‘who’ and ‘why’ questions begin around the age of 3. Other questions like ‘May I’ or ‘Can I’ begin when you start teaching your child etiquette and manners.
How to Teach A Toddler to Ask Questions?
1. Asking ‘What’
The key to teaching your child language and how to speak is repetition. Keep repeating questions such as ‘What’s that?’ to him, and soon your toddler will be imitating you.
2. Asking ‘Where’
To teach your child ‘Where’ questions, play games like hide and seek. You can hide toys and ask your toddler to look for them by posing questions like ‘Where is teddy?’ You could also involve the entire family in a fun game of hide and seek. Your child can be the ‘den’ and look for everyone while asking where each person is.
3. Asking ‘Who’
To encourage your toddler to ask questions like ‘Who’s there?’ or ‘Who is that?’, use his toys and have them ‘knock’ on the door of a doll house, or on his room door. You can also say ‘Who’s there?’ a few times when you hear a knock, and encourage your child to do the same.
4. Keeping Silent and Prompting
At times, silence is the best teacher. Keep a new object in front of your child and stay quiet. Say nothing about the new object and wait. The silence may prompt your child to ask questions like ‘What is this?’
Younger children tend to ask questions without using proper words. In such a situation, ask the question you think your child may have been asking. This will help him develop questioning skills.
Teaching questioning skills to toddlers requires a lot of patience. Don’t get frustrated or angry when your child asks questions. It will only deter him from coming up to you looking for answers, and will also quash his curiosity.Create an environment that piques his curiosity. Teaching him how to question, and then answering the same imparts a sense of confidence. It’s okay to not have all the answers, but let your child ask questions as much as he wants to.