“How Old Were You When You Were My Age?”

Little Girl with thought bubble

The Old Saying Is True: Kids Say The Darndest Things!

Whether it’s the lack of background knowledge or the lack of filter, we find ourselves stifling laughs at the ridiculous, hilarious, and occasionally downright bizarre questions and comments that come tumbling out of our little ones’ mouths.

Can I just hurry up and be a grown-up now? I’m ready to touch knives. (Jaya)

If you’re in the forest and a bear comes over and attacks you, can you ask it why it wants to do that? ‘Cause I get mad too, so maybe the bear just needs a snack. (Kristin)

Toddlers and preschoolers are developing at a super-fast rate, and that includes their brains. One of the ways we can tell is the sheer number of questions they ask. In fact, one study found preschoolers asking 76 or more questions per hour! (Funny, it seems like more somehow…)

How does the light get from the sun into my lightbulb? (Torri)

Do people eat people? (Kayla)

They start off factual -- what and how -- but before you know it, they move on to why and what for, trying to figure out the ways social, mechanical, and natural things happen. And research shows what all parents and guardians could tell you already: if kids don’t get a satisfactory answer to their question, they’ll ask it again...and again...until they have one.

Why can’t I have just a little bit of pants? (Kate)

If crabs lose a tooth, does the same tooth fairy come to their house, or do they have a crab tooth fairy? (Pete)

Dad: Okay, kids, we’re going to put on jammies, brush our teeth, and then it’s story time! Any questions?

Toddler: Yes! Why do we have eyes?

Kid Thought Bubble

Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing! According to Alison Gopnik, a theorist at the University of California, Berkeley, children behave like “little scientists,” and scientists behave like “big children”! In fact, it’s thought that the scientific method was based on the ways kids explore the world around them -- making observations, forming theories and hypotheses, and testing them.

Where’s the baby? Did he go back into your tummy? (Randi)

Why did swear words even get invented if no one is allowed to use them? (Neal)


What if the whole world is made of pretend and we’re the only ones who are real? (Mikayla)

If I go to heaven, do I get to turn into something? I think I’d like to be a fish stick. (Henry)

The real question is: how do we deal with all of these questions? Curiosity is an amazing attribute in a child, but it can make it kind of hard to get out the door/finish dinner/go to bed/survive a car trip. And while we don’t want to squash our kids’ scientific aptitude, hearing a question for the seventeenth time can be enough to make anyone want to run and hide. (Are we hearing a need for an adult-sized #TreeHouseBunkBed? Anyone?)

Luckily, there are two great tricks for respectfully and kindly redirecting all those questions, and they’re both deceptively simple. For questions that are clearly worry-oriented, or for kids who default to question-asking whenever they need a little reassurance, it can help to set aside a dedicated time of the day just for questions. It may sound funny, but for some children, just knowing that there’s a special time can help alleviate the need to ask in the first place. (For kids who are worried about forgetting the question, writing it down on a post-it is a great way to make sure they won’t.)

Where do shadows go when you turn off the lights? (Tara)

Do mermaids have gills or lungs? (Lily)

The other strategy? Ask a question of your own! But not just any question -- we find answering questions with, “What do you think?” to be amazingly effective. With a little guidance, kids often reveal the reason or way they’re thinking about something, give you a chance to correct any misconceptions, and even answer their own questions.

What are the funniest, cutest, or wackiest questions your children have asked you? Comment below and let us know!

Kid Thought Bubble

Written by: Melissa Holman-Kursky  •  Photo by: Alexander Dummer from Pexels

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