Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Why why why? - Toddlers ask questions

Let me share with you a conversation I had with my daughter during a recent trip out of town:
E - What's that?
Me - Irrigation.
E - Why?
Me - To water the crops.
E - Why?
Me - So they can grow well.
E - Why?
Me - Because we live in a dry climate.
E - Why?
Me - (long pause) I don't know.

If you have a toddler at this stage, no doubt at some point during the question asking you've ran out of answers...and possibly patience!  Although the questions can drive you up the wall occasionally, they are an exciting sign of language development.  The ability to ask questions develops along with the develoment of that amazing little toddler brain - as your child learns more about the world, she develops more ability to ask questions about it. 

Some questions are of course easier to ask and understand than others.  Likely, the first question you heard from your child was a simple "What's that?" usually somewhere after 12 months. 'Where' questions are usually learned early as well but are used in a concrete way (eg. "Where's ball?" versus "Where do you want to go?"  "Who" questions often come next followed by "why" questions and finally "when" questions which are the most complicated and abstract questions for a toddler to understand.

Try your best to answer the barrage of questions your toddler asks and model appropriate question-asking for your child so that they learn the correct way to use questions.


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