Questions, Questions, Questions.
We all use questions in our everyday conversations. Some questions help us gain –
- information. These include “who, “what”, “where”, “when” and “how” questions.
- gain reassurance or confirmation, such as “Is it?” and “Does it?”
- check or test that the other person has understood; and
- give instructions politely or gently, such as ‘would you like to get your bag?” “instead of “get your bag!”.
Sometimes we use questions in games, like “hide and seek”, “20 questions”, “Animal, Vegetable or Mineral”, “Go Fish”, “Guess Who®”, or “Hedbanz®”. It can be fun. These types of games help learn and practice using questions.
For young children, “Where’s Spot?”, “Whose Tail?” and the other lift-the-flap books in these series and others are great to practice using questions.
Sometimes questions can be toxic. Using lots of questions can make the other person feel reluctant to join in or answer. They may feel “bombarded” or overwhelmed by lots of questions. We often use questions to show what our children can do, or when we are trying to teach them. Children who are peppered with questions often stop interacting or refuse to answer.
Sometimes questions can be confusing. A good rule of thumb is: don’t ask a “yes/no” question (that is a question that is answered by “yes” or “no”) if you really mean to give an instruction or direction.
For example: if it’s time to go somewhere in the car, don’t say:” Would you like to get in the car?”. If the young child responds “NO!” you may have an argument on your hands. You could say: “It’s time to get in the car, can you climb in yourself?” – which gives a clear message but might give a child some feeling of control in the process.
Ask “yes/no” questions when an answer of either “yes” or “no” is okay. For example: “Do you want the red cup or the blue cup?”
Use your questions to
- show your interest in what they are doing;
- create some excitement or anticipation in an activity;
- offer suitable choices or engage in decisions (at a developmentally appropriate level)