May 22, 2020


   Most children have a “Why” stage where they ask why to literally everything a person says. Sound familiar? Despite how frustrating that can be at times, answering those “whys” is really beneficial to the child’s curiosity. Do you know what is also really beneficial to the child? Asking THEM questions! Tables have turned and now it’s their turn to think hard for the answers.

   However, we’re not completely off the hook because we have to put a little thought into our questions. To really expand our children’s thinking, we have to ask more high-level questions. A high-level question is never a yes-or-no question (“Do you have siblings?”). It isn’t a question that only has one answer (“How old are you?”). Nor is it a question that has an obvious answer (“How many wheels does that bicycle have?”). Answers to these kinds of questions can show the child understands language, pays attention, and can count or identify colors, numbers, and shapes, but the questions don’t push the child to think deeply. High-level questions are always ones that will foster unique answers from each child. If the question is effective, the child is usually excited to give you a very detailed explanation. You don’t necessarily have to ask a question to encourage thinking because statements such as “Tell me about…” or “I wonder…” get the job done as well. Other examples of high-level questions are:  What did you think of that story? What would you have done in that situation? What is the best solution for this problem and why do you think so?  Now that you know what a high-level question is, it is time to start trying them out.

   So the next time you see a child playing in the mud and pretending sticks are something else, rather than asking “Are you using that stick as a utensil?”, try saying something like “Tell me about what you are making.” Try it out and see what kind of interesting conversations come out of it!

 Source: The Learning Child Blog, LaDonna Werth,