From the age of three, your child will start asking lots of questions. Here’s how to answer the more trickier ones openly and honestly.
Your child will begin to ask many questions around the age of three, when the left side of their brain is maturing. According to Nikki Bush, author of Easy Answers to Awkward Questions, this is a critical stage in your child’s development. She points out that children learn through conversation.
As your child grows older, Bush says, “why” questions will be replaced by “how” and “what”. This gives you more opportunities to assist your child in improving their problem-solving abilities. Almost anywhere, there are teachable moments.
Here are five frequently asked questions by children, and how you can answer them!
How are babies made?
When discussing anatomy, educational psychologist Catherine Marais points out that parents are usually more embarrassed than children. “It’s critical to respond to questions in a calm, straightforward manner. Don’t scold their curiosity or suggest that this is a topic we shouldn’t discuss, as this will make your child less likely to seek answers from you in the future and instead turn to his peers or the media,” says Marais.
Bush agrees that sexuality is a topic that needs to be addressed right away. “Don’t be afraid to bring it up if your child doesn’t. Use nature as an example: if you see two birds mating, say, “Look at the mommy dove and the daddy dove, they’re having a baby.” She emphasises that it is not necessary to go into great detail but rather to be straightforward.
Why do girls and boys look different?
If you bathe with your children or if they bathe with siblings of a different gender, this is a question that will inevitably arise.
Bush asserts that being direct is the best approach. “Explain that boys have two holes and girls have three, with a middle hole in the middle. This will prompt them to inquire about the middle hole, to which you will respond that it is where the baby emerges. You can explain to an older child that this is where adults have sex. Remember to emphasise that sex is something adults do when discussing it, so that they understand that it is not for children.”
Who is God?
“Answer this in a manner that is consistent with your religious beliefs,” Marais advises. “Because small children can’t think abstractly, the concept of a higher power is difficult for them to comprehend. Give them a concrete example to help them comprehend the concept of God, such as the wind, which we can’t see but can feel. That’s similar to God; we can’t see Him, but we can sense Him in our hearts.”
What happens after you die?
According to Bush, your answer is again determined by your religious beliefs. As a result, it’s critical to check in with yourself before responding. This type of question is rarely asked when you’re prepared; it’s usually asked while you’re doing something else. Take some time to think about what you believe so that you can respond honestly when the time comes. Use teachable moments from your life, such as when a pet dies. It’s an opportunity to explain the life-cycle.
Why do people get sick?
Because children may be concerned about becoming ill and dying, it’s a good idea to explain that serious diseases, such as heart disease, usually affect the elderly. You can also explain that germs are microscopic organisms that enter our bodies when someone coughs, or we don’t wash our hands before touching our eyes or faces.
Marais suggests using an analogy to demonstrate how the immune system works. Point out that our bodies are usually capable of fighting off germs because our immune systems are like Pacman, but we still get sick from time to time. Assure them that most illnesses can be treated if they rest, see a doctor, and take medicine.