Kid asking questions

How (and why) a 3 year old drives you nuts with their constant questioning

Written for Cheryl, Mum to 3 y.o Annabelle

Q: Where’s daddy?
A:  At work.

Q: Why?
A: To make money.

Q: Why?
A: So we can buy food and toys.

Q: Why?
A: Because it costs money to buy them.

Q: How much does Daddy get?…

Sound familiar? Or when in the car, Annabelle asks you for the 4th time where are we going?” You think maybe she’s a bit deaf, but you had the Dr check that last week.

So, why do 3 y.o. children (in particular) ask SO many questions?

There are several reasons: Language Development. Curiosity. Power. Let’s delve into each of these.

Language Development

At age 3 children generally have a fairly good grasp of language, both in terms of receptive language (what they hear and understand) and expressive language (what they say). They also enjoy the sound of their own voice. At earlier ages, children don’t have the language skills to frame questions.


3 year olds have mastered not only language, but motor skills and intellectual  skills – they are ready (and willing and able!) to explore their world with gusto. This includes physically exploring, but also by seeking out knowledge – and who better to ask than their knowledge base – you!

Their emerging intellect tells them that there are things to find out (unanswered questions) such as, if Daddy’s not here, he must be somewhere, so ‘Where?’


Their confidence comes from the development of their Social-Emotional skills,  and from the acquisition of greater language skills. With this new found confidence, they are ready to take on the world! They enjoy the power of being able to ask the questions, and to ‘lead’ the conversation. Their memory recall has developed to the extent that they can ‘remind’ you, if you give a different answer to the last time – there’s no tricking them!

Whilst the incessant questions can feel as you are being driven nuts, it is a wonderful thing, as confidence is such an important trait to have.

So, how to handle it?

  1. Breathe
  2. Lots of patience
  3. Answer the same question only twice, then respond with: “Mummy’s already told you that. What do you think?” ie put it back on them to solve their own question.
  4. Tell them every now and then: “You are asking really great questions today!”
  5. And, know that a questioning child is one who is alert to the world around them, and that’s a good thing!

Image by canfloat via flickr.

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