After hitting the 24-month mark, you might notice that your toddler’s verbal and cognitive skills have developed so much and so quickly, that she is starting to be increasingly interested in understanding how things work, especially how they relate to one another. In fact, you might have become so accustomed to hearing the “why” question coming out of your little one’s mouth, that you even hear it in your dreams. Although sometimes it might be complicated to answer a young child’s emerging questions all day-round, the answers they receive are precious to them as they are their main source of information to understand the world.
Following the American Academy of Pediatrics guides about early childhood development, the endless “why” inquiries mean that your daughter is working on building cognitive skills that will later allow her to solve problems and think using abstract concepts and categories.
In fact, many cognitive psychologists wondered about how asking questions can help children’s development. In 2007, Michelle Chouinard from the University of California analyzed the way children formulated questions and what they did with the newfound knowledge. She found that kids between 2 and 5 years of age indeed ask questions with the intention of understanding something, it’s not just to get an adult’s attention for a moment. She also discovered that the type of questions and the complexity of the answers a kid deems satisfactory changed over time. Older children have more developed conceptual and abstract thinking skills that allow them to seek answers that go beyond describing something. They actually inquire about cause-and-effect relationships. Amazing, right?