Does your child ask same question over and over? If your toddler keeps asking repetitive questions, you’re not alone! So to keep your mind sane and your temper at bay, let’s learn why your little one behaves this way.
Why is my toddler asking the same question repeatedly?
Young children are naturally inquisitive. This is kind of cute and entertaining for the first time. Like if they ask about Dad, they ask about what is an object, or if they are interested to know what you are doing.
However, the world suddenly turns upside down as your toddler repeats the same question all over again. Twice, thrice, then the 10th time for the same question? Yes! Be prepared to give them the same answer. This is because according to experts, this behavior has something to do with a toddler’s development. Specifically, it is linked to the improvement of these areas:
Your toddler’s young mind is eager to learn new things and absorb new skills which are vital for their growth and development. Young children are typically curious about everything, from that little worm creeping on the ground to the most extensive computer project you’re currently doing.
This intense curiosity is often what triggers the questioning and the reason behind kids asking why questions. Thus, a child that inquires about the same thing has a great interest in knowing more about that specific object, task, or person.
Memory and Learning
A toddler repeating questions is also working on his memory. Toddlers learn best through repeated experiences and questioning is part of it. Let’s say your little child is still asking about the same object, such as your spatula. It may mean that they really want to remember it, because they are interested why they often see you holding and using it.
Sometimes, repeated questioning is a sign that your toddlers need your attention. Maybe, they discovered that asking why a couple of times captures your attention better than saying “No!” all the time.
As you’ve noticed, when their older siblings ask you a question, they tend to rush up to you and ask the same thing, as if competing to gain a response. They may have figured out that with questioning, they get a better reply and reaction from the people around them and they feel like a real part of the family.
Exploring speech and language
Constantly asking questions is also a way to practice their speech and language, which should be encouraged among toddlers. By questioning, they learn how to frame phrases and questions correctly, how to use words together, and how to pronounce them accurately.
When do kids start asking ‘why’ questions?
Among all the repetitive questions your child asks, the most common, yet the most difficult ones to answer, are their “why” questions. As you answer their initial inquiry, they tend to follow it up with endless why’s. So when will you expect, or should we say, prepare yourself of these never-ending interrogations?
Typically, children begin with simple questions about something by the time they reach 18 months of age. However, these can simply be asked by pointing to an object and saying “that” or “what” because they are still figuring out how to frame their inquiries. As they reach 2 and a half years old, they may start using what, when, or who questions.
At 3 to 4 years of age, their vocabulary, speech, and language begin to expand. So at this time, the questions kids ask will level up to the why and how questions. This is sometimes being referred to as the “why phase toddler age” because they will tend to follow-up your answer with a never-ending why.
How to respond to toddler’s repetitive questions
Can you stop toddlers from asking the same questions? Since it is related to several areas of their development, it would be unhealthy to nag or scold them because of asking repeated questions. However, there are techniques to help your toddler get the answer that he wants and at the same time, will free you from the stress in answering the same queries all the time. You may try out these techniques and see if it also works for your inquisitive toddler:
Elaborate your initial answer.
Let’s get back to the question about what you are holding while cooking. Instead of simply telling that it’s a spatula, you may elaborate that it is used for frying foods, and let your toddler have a glimpse of what you’re cooking. This way, he’ll have more idea about why and when it is used and will better remember that object.
Ask your toddler to repeat the word or phrase.
After explaining, you can ask your toddler to repeat the word, like “Say spatula” or “Repeat after me, spatula”. This gives your toddler a better chance to remember the name of an object he is interested with.
Return a why question.
If you have previously answered the same question, then you can try reversing the situation and ask your toddler instead. You may ask, “Why do you think am I using this tool?” or “Why do you think I’m doing it?” this will initiate your toddler to think of his previous knowledge or experiences about a certain thing and make him easily remember it the next time.
Teach toddlers how to frame other questions and inquiries.
Maybe, it’s time to level up your child’s vocabulary and language skills by teaching him other ways to ask about a thing that captured her interest. Asking open-ended questions is a great way to do it. You can tell your toddler, “Tell me more about it,” or “I want to learn more about it”. This way, she’ll more likely use the same phrases in the future instead of repeatedly asking why.
Toddlers ask the same questions to learn new things, expand their memory, practice their language skills, and also, to get your attention. Yes, it can be exhausting, but remember that this is just temporary. They need your guidance and support during this critical time of development, so be patient and gentle as much as possible. Who knows? You may be nurturing a future declaimer, public speaker, or stage performer that will bring so much pride to your family.