"Whatcha doing? What's that?" - Why kids ask so many questions

"Whatcha doing?"
"I’m a volunteer from Deloitte working to fill a crevice between two boulders with mortar."


"Whatcha doing?"
"I am fixing the crack between these two boulders."


"What’s a boulder?"
"A boulder is a giant rock…big and heavy."


"What’s that? That thing you are holding?"
"It is a trowel, it helps me push in the mortar between the boulders."


"What’s mortar?"
"It is stuff that get really hard when it dries and the water won’t come through the hole."


"Why does the water come through the hole?"
"When it rains and the rain comes down, it pushes the sand over the boulder and it washes away the sand and a hole begins. The hole gets bigger and bigger and it won’t be safe for boys and girls to play here."


Has the number of questions a child asks ever gotten on your nerves?  On average a four year old child asks 400 question per day. Children hear hundreds of new words a day. As a child asks questions, it is an opportunity to assist him/her learn new vocabulary  in relationship to the context of the situation.

So "Whatcha doing?" is a wonderful opportunity to respond and help a child gain clarity while enriching vocabulary and language. It is also a wonderful time to expand and develop your relationship.

A clarifying response could be,

"No, what are you doing?"
"Don't get frustrated, I am asking questions. That’s how I learn. I ask questions because I learn new words and when you take time to tell me, I feel important. I feel you care for me and I begin to believe in myself. It takes initiative to ask questions. If I don’t get my questions answered I begin to lose self control. The more you talk with me the more valued I feel. I love asking questions because it makes me feel smarter. If I feel smarter, my brain tells me that I am smart."


This approach encourages a child's emotional development through the relationship with a patient, trusting adult. It supports a child's language development by enhancing their ability to interact with their world and socially, it gives a child the words to navigate the daily social interactions they experience.

Post by Stephen Zwolak