Why? Why? Why?

Why? Why? Why? Gar’s incessant questions on why drives me nuts sometimes. He would ask a series of questions starting with ‘why’, turn the answers into questions and then repeat the questions again.

I cannot remember the exact questions he asks, but they go something like this. Why is it dark? Why is it night time? Why does the sun go down? Why do people go home? Why do people sleep?

Moments later, he will repeat the same set of questions. A few times. He also asks questions about where his grandparents live. Sometimes, I throw the questions back to him and ask him why. That stops him from asking me more questions for a moment, and I get a brief respite. He also answers his ‘why’ questions with ‘because’.

We are watching a show about a crocodile on the loose. So big! Why crocodile drop? (It was falling from the roof.) Why crocodile run away?

He is not using his pronouns and articles properly yet. He mixes them up. It doesn’t help that other people use ungrammatical structures while speaking to him. I decided that I need to find out more.

After doing some research on why questions, I discovered that this is part of a developmental age. Children usually ask these questions when they are between three to four. Children ask the same questions over and over again when they do not have explanatory answers.

But didn’t I just try to answer? I dug deeper. Children are just curious and want to talk about something. According to Dr Green, she says,

“I’ve found that, when I try to answer children at this stage of development with the reason for something, they are left cold. After conversing with thousands of children, I’ve decided that what they really mean is, “That’s interesting to me. Let’s talk about that together. Tell me more, please?” When I’ve connected with children and begun to spin a tale to answer this question, they’ve sat enthralled. There was no need to mention because, or therefore, or cause, or effect. They don’t need to know why, all they need is animated attention and me saying whatever came to mind about that subject.”

Right after typing this, Gar came into the room and went to the toilet bowl.

He saw me working on my lap top and asked, “Why mummy working?” I decided to try out her theory, about not answering the question directly about cause and effect, but just to engage him in conversation.

Gar: Why mummy working?

Me: Are you interested in mummy working?

Gar: Yes. Mummy is working. I want to paint.

Me: Oh, you want to paint.

Gar: Yes, yellow.

Me: That is your favourite colour.

Gar: Yes, yellow. Red and blue make yellow.

Me: Red and blue make purple. Red and yellow make orange. Do you like yellow and red?

Gar: Yes, I like yellow and red. Blue also.

Me: What do you want to paint?

Gar: I want to paint yellow, red and blue.

Me: What do you want to paint? Do you want to paint dinosaurs?

Gar: Yes, I want to paint yellow T-Rex.

When he was done, he came over and told me to open the Paint programme, and asked me to draw T-Rex, in yellow, blue and purple. He wanted a huge T-Rex. I zoomed in.

Gar: I want Mummy to draw Pteranodon.

Me: Pteranodon?

Gar: Yes, Tiny Pteranodon. (referring to a character on Dinosaur Train).

I drew it for him.

Gar: I want Don.

I drew Don, a pteranodon that has a severe underbite. t rex and pteranodon With a simple insight, I actually managed to stop him from asking ‘why’ countlessly, and in turn engage him in a conversation and then spend a short but quality time with him about colours and dinosaurs. This is way different than if I had tried answering why mummy is working. Really cool. Why not give this a try when you are confronted with countless whys?

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