real life

A memo to all mums whose kids are going through the 'but why?' stage.

Melbourne Zoo
Thanks to our brand partner, Melbourne Zoo

As your child grows so too does their inquisitive mind. They’re eager to learn, eager to explore and seemingly, eager to drive you bonkers with non-stop questions.

You’d be hard pressed to find a parent who hasn’t been subjected to the barrage of ‘but why?’ questioning and it can really drive you to the edge.

Child: “Why do I have to have a shower?”
Me: “Because you are covered in sun cream.”
Child: “Why?”
Me: “We put it on so you didn’t get sunburned at the park.”
Child: “Why?”
Me: “Because that would hurt a lot!”
Child: “Why?”

*Mind explodes*

Once the ‘but why?’ stage is finished, be prepared for the kids to move on to the ‘how’ stage. Basically it never ends and why would you want it to? We need to remember that most of the time the constant questions are genuine attempts to gain more knowledge on a topic so responding with ‘Because I said so’ isn’t always the best approach. (I say ‘most’ because we all know that sometimes they just want to get on your nerves).

"As your child grows so too does their inquisitive mind." Image: iStock.

Here are some perfect solutions to the never ending ‘but why’ questions from your children:

1. Reverse the questions.

Instead of trying to come up with an answer for your child’s questions, flip it back on them. “You tell me why" is a great way to get kids thinking for themselves and analysing what they’ve asked. Kids love when parents are involved with their learning and asking them why they think something is the way it is can be a great way to open dialogue on a subject.

2. Get them to draw.

Drawing is a great way to get kids thinking about why things are the way they are, rather than just seek the answers from parents. If you child hits a ‘but why?’ road block, get them to put texta to paper to come up with some possible solutions. Doesn’t hurt that it also keeps them busy and quiet long enough for you to regain your composure.


3. Take them on outings.

If you’re child is really stuck in the ‘but why’ phase, organise a special day out to somewhere that will fill their mind with adventure and information. It could be the museum to spur on their inquisitive side or even a trip to the local train station if your child is focused on transport and movement. The zoo is also a fantastic place to take your child so they look in wonder at all the animals and find the answers to their questions right there in front of them (while you sip on a coffee - win).

Melbourne Zoo
Zoos and aquariums offer a great way for kids to interact and learn about animals. Image: Zoos Victoria.

4. Sometimes you don’t know the answer, and that’s OK.

As a mother of three, there have definitely been times where I resorted to the standard ‘because I said so’ response simply because I didn't know the answer to the question my children were asking.

According to some experts though, we shouldn’t feel like we need to have all the information available to our children, all the time. While it’s true your child is seeking information constantly, it’s also often just a way of them saying ‘I’ve got an interest in this and want to talk about it some more’.

If you don’t know the answer to their questions, build on your child’s interest and talk about the topic in a more general sense. If the interest continues, you could use it as a way to find out more information together, through books or internet searching or even a trip to the library or location which allows you and your child to learn about the topic together.

How do you respond to your child's curiosity?

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Melbourne Zoo