How to Encourage Your Child to Ask Questions


The most efficient way for your child to gain informa­tion and to improve academic performance is by asking the right questions to get the answers he or she needs.

Asking questions takes courage, positive self-esteem, and self-confidence. Stated another way, the greater your child’s self-esteem and confidence levels, the more likely your child will ask questions.

Most children start out asking questions. “Why?” seems to be the all-time favorite question of children. Unfortunately, this question is often asked as a chal­lenge to authority, not truly as a quest for information. Parents know that. The sad result is that many parents lose patience with their “why babies” and squelch the entire questioning process in the course of exerting their authority.

Encourage  Child

Parents need to differentiate between the true ques­tion and the challenge to authority. Be generous in giv­ing your timing, attention, and care to those questions that are truly aimed at getting information.

How do you encourage the right kinds of questions? Ask those kinds of questions!

Ask your child questions as you consult maps to­gether—even if it’s only the map of stores in the mall. “Which way do you suppose is the shortest way to that store?” Ask your child questions as you ride bikes to­gether. “How many miles do you think we have gone?”

One of my favorite approaches to asking questions of older children and teens is to ask them to pretend to be an inventor, builder, or creator. For example: “Look at that new house, Cory. What kinds of questions do you suppose the builder had to ask before he could build that house?”

Children’s questions tend to force a parent to be spe­cific, concrete, or to admit they don’t know everything. Those are painful moments for many parents. “Why are there so many stars?” is a tough question. Do your best, but admit it when you don’t know the answer to a question.

The more your child asks questions and gets good answers, the more your child will feel confident in ask­ing questions. That confidence could save your child’s life someday: “What’s the fastest way to the hospital?” It could help your child make a major scientific discov­ery someday. “What happens when we add this ele­ment to that mixture?”

Teach your child to ask questions. That says to your child, “I want you to know. I value you enough to want you to be an intelligent, inquisitive, exploring adult. I value your right to know, and I value your desire to know.”

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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