Why, Mommy? Why? Why? But Why?
Your Baby|November/December 2019
Why, Mommy? Why? Why? But Why?
… because they want to connect with you, that’s why! Camilla Rankin explains why your toddler asks you so many questions – and how best to deal with them
Camilla Rankin

YES, OF COURSE, your child is a genius for being so interested in the world and asking you so many, many questions, all the time, about every tiny detail of just about everything she sees or touches, or tastes, or smells, or thinks… But there is also that moment after the umpteenth “but why?” comeback when you start to realize that it must have been the parent of a toddler in the “why phase” who coined the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”! You’re not alone: all those sweet, bright questions flowing from your toddler are adorable, but they can also drive you nutty (just one moment’s silence, please!).

So, here is why your toddler asks why all the time, and some tips on how to manage all those questions before you lose your parenting cool.

WHAT IS THE ‘WHY PHASE’ ALL ABOUT?

Interestingly the “why phase” has more to do with your child’s burgeoning communication skills than her innate curiosity – although that is part of it too.

“This is a terribly exciting and important exploratory phase for children,” says Catherine Normand, a Stellenbosch-based educational psychologist. “They start to develop and use their newfound language skills, begin to understand the nuances of language and start to connect with their caregivers on a different level, as well as broadening their world-view.” Not only is your child starting to see that there is a big wide world out there beyond home, family, playtime, bedtime, and mealtimes, and so developing a curiosity about their world, they are also starting to understand how words and conversations – especially the question “why” – can help connect them to the people they care about.

WHY IS IT SO ANNOYING, THEN?

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November/December 2019