Asking Questions


Asking Questions

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

Toddlers are full of questions. Without the words to ask their questions, toddlers might use experimentation, sign gestures, quizzical looks, or sounds.

  • Pay close attention to these signs of questioning so you can give toddlers the words for what they seem to be asking.
  • But don’t just answer the question. Try to extend the conversation through several exchanges as you find answers together.

When you listen and respond to a toddler’s questions or questioning gestures, you are showing him respect and letting him know that what he has to say is important. Here are a few ideas to use to help build toddlers’ question-asking skills.

  • Model asking questions throughout the day by wondering aloud. For example, say, I wonder why you needed to wear your boots today.
  • Put nonverbal questions into words. For example, ask, Are you wondering where the water goes? 
  • Ask what toddlers already know about a topic and what they want to know about it. For example, ask, What do you already know about ladybugs? What else do you want to know?
  • Give children ongoing opportunities to ask questions. This helps them build language and thinking skills and expands their knowledge of the world.
  • Engage toddlers by asking them questions—especially questions whose answers you really want to know. These questions spark imaginative and information-rich conversations.

The safe, interesting environment you offer will also give toddlers the confidence to explore and try things as a way of finding answers to their own questions. 

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