Why questions?

9 Aug 2017 10:07 AMJudith Peerlings



Almost every child will go through a stage of asking why-questions.

There is however a big difference in the kind of why-questions.


There are 2 sorts of why-questions:


1. The “I'm curious” why-question:

  • Mum, why is the grass green?
  • Dad, why do birds fly?
  • Etc.


These questions are mostly fully formulated by the child and are based on curiosity.


2. The “I need clarity” why-question:

  • You have to take a bath now. “Why?”
  • It’s time to go to school. “Why?”


These why-questions mostly just contain “why?” and are a response to a request.


Both situations need a different response.


The “I'm curious” why-question needs to be answered with factual information and your answer can start with “Because…..”.

The question’s goal is to gain factual information to increase knowledge.


The “I need clarity” why question however is often answered in a similar way, which more often than not has a bad outcome.

This kind of why-question is in actual fact not really a why-question.

It’s a what-and-when-question formulated by a little mind who is not yet able to distinguish the difference:



A why-question based on a request to do something should not be answered with “because …..” but needs to be put in the “what-and-when” perspective as it is mostly caused by unpredictability in routine.

Instead of outlining the reasons why ….



….. it is therefore important to put activities of daily living in a daily routine.