"Why" is one of the most dreaded and annoying words/questions to ever grace the English vocabulary. This is a question that every single toddler in the world will ask at some point in their lives. Parents shudder to hear them ask "Why" this and "Why" that.
The why's can pertain to something as simple and innocent as 'Why is the sky blue?' to something annoying like, 'Why do you snore?' or something downright awkward like 'Why do you and daddy kiss so much?'.
And as much as we would like to impart all our wisdom upon them, they are just not yet mentally and emotionally ready to comprehend some things. How do we explain to them the birds and the bees? How do we stop them from asking why granddad isn't dead yet? How do we stop them from embarrassing aunt May from asking why she digs her nose in the kitchen? In order to stop them from threading into deep waters (a.k.a. asking too many awkward questions that would leave us flustered), we have come up with 20 surefire ways to stop them from mouthing the word 'why'.
20 Distract Them
Throughout history, the art of distraction has widely been used in wars to distract the enemy, while soldiers tried to zero in on their targets.
To this day, the art of distraction is still widely used by people around the world, especially by parents of toddlers who seemingly ask an endless stream of awkward questions.
You could be happily driving the car with your toddler when suddenly, out of the blue he/ she asks, 'Mummy, why were you and daddy rolling on the floor last night?' causing you practically hit the brakes and smash into the pickup right in front of you.
'Uhm, we were just exercising honey,' the toddler nods his head, seemingly buying your explanation. Then he drops the bomb, 'But why weren't your wearing clothes?'.
Ahhh...how awkward can this be. You quickly point to the traffic and say, "Look at all the cars! Let's see if we can spot a pink and purple car on the road!" And voila! Your toddler spends the rest of the ride looking for sweet colored cars and rainbows in the sky.
19 Get Them To Ask Dad
Being a mother to a toddler who asks one awkward question after another means that one has to master the art of 'tai-chi'. This is an ancient Chinese technique whereby a warrior faced with imminent threat gently shifts the oncoming onslaught to another person, basically the victim.
And in this case, the victim would be none other than.... *drumroll*.....Daddy!
So the next time your toddler comes to you with a list of questions, say these magic words, 'Ohhh...Daddy knows! Ask Daddy!' and rest assured you will get at least 10 minutes of peace before they come back and bombard you with another set of questions again.
18 Say 'I Don't Know'
People say that honesty is the best policy and in this case, it is the policy that works most effectively when you run out of ideas to answer your child's questions.
Either that or we're just fed up with answering the endless slew of awkward questions and just want them to shut up. So when all else fails, turn to your child, look them in the eye and mouth these words with passion, 'I don't know honey'.
If they persist, put on your best puppy-eyed expression and repeat that you really do not know. Pretend to think hard and then throw your hands up in the air dramatically, give a big sigh as if you've really thought hard, repeat the magic words, 'I really don't know'.
This is a great opportunity to let your child's imagination take over... tell them: "Maybe YOU will be the one to discover the answer one day!"
17 Search For Answers Together
Some mothers prefer to entertain their children's questions --awkward or not-- and make it into an interesting but educational session where both parent and toddler search for answers together.
Sometimes, a book can get opened, other times the internet would be the source of the answer and occasionally when the weather permits, the parent can bring the child outdoors to explore, looking for answers.
'Mom, where did I come from?' to which Mom whips open a children's book about the human body. 'Dad, why does your breath stink?' to which Dad quickly goes to brush his teeth and proceeds to puff a breath of minty air in toddler's face before turning to the tablet for some explanation about bad breath.
16 Stall Until They Forget What They Asked About
Or you could just stall and drag it out for as long as possible in hopes that they forget what they were asking about in the first place.
'Why do people marry?'
'Hang on honey, let mummy finish making dinner first.'
When dinner is set, 'Oh, mummy's got to clear table. Why don't you give me a hand sweetheart?'
Then, right before bedtime say, 'Baby, have you brushed your teeth? No? Chop chop! Go brush your teeth before the cavity spreads!' Just like that, do and say whatever needs to be said or done to delay answering their questions.
15 Use Your Words
If your child is slightly older it might do them some good to try and explain and provide honest answers to their seemingly awkward questions: 'Daddy, why did grandma lie in a bed of daisies? Is she Sleeping Beauty? Will there be a prince to wake her up?'.
For a heavier set of questions, parents can try to sit the child down in a quiet environment and if possible, try to explain to them in the simplest manner possible. This could for one, to stop them from asking more and more questions and two, to enable them to learn something new.
14 Bribe Them
When your child just won't keep his or her mouth closed, one could always employ the number one weapon: Bribery. This works every single time.
No child can resist being bribed with food or toys any more than a mother can be bribed with a good night's sleep.
Take note, however, that while this tactic of bribery works exceptionally well, it should be used sparingly as it could very well backfire and render your child immune to this tactic in the near future. 'Mummy, why are the men smooching? Look, mummy, why is he patting his friend's behind?' 'Sweetheart, if you stop asking, mummy will buy you a giant lollipop'.
End result? Happy toddler and relieved mummy.
13 Scare Tactics
When all else fails, scaring your child into stopping his or her questions could very well do the trick. There's nothing like evoking a child's imagination and scaring them out of their wits so that they never ever ask you any more awkward questions for the next day or two.
Yes, a day or two of peace to a mother is equivalent to a peace treaty between a certain President and Kanye West.
The next time your child starts asking annoying questions like, 'Mummy, why do you have so many wrinkles on your face' to 'Mummy, why are you so big?', you could just try scaring them.
'Well honey, a big little monster came and would scream every night because it gets hungry easily. Mummy needs to feed that monster every night to keep you safe but if you ask any more questions, that monster won't like it and will come and gobble you up tonight instead'.
12 Turn Question Back To Toddler
Instead of racking your brains trying to answer those mind-numbing repetitive questions, why not turn the tables and ask junior to solve his or her own riddle?
The next time your child asks 'Why do I have a stick and my little sister doesn't?', ask your child 'Why' in return. See what kind of answer they give you and you will be able to gauge their maturity in certain issues. Their answers might surprise you, make you laugh or even downright make your jaw drop.
So give it a try. Ask them back and listen to what they have to say.
11 Anticipate The Questions Beforehand
One of the most effective ways to counter a toddler's awkward questionnaire session is to think ahead. Anticipate their questions way ahead of time. Every parent should know that toddlers will eventually become curious about their bodies, mummy and daddy's relationship, the environment, things they see on TV, life etc.
Come to think of it, that basically covers everything, which means parents just have to either be prepared with witty answers or master the art deception and distraction. Think of yourself as a teacher and arm yourself with all the necessary information that would be required to quench the toddler's thirst for knowledge.
10 Change The Subject
There will be times when a child asks questions that are too difficult to answer. Perhaps we truly do not know how to explain something or maybe the context of the answer would be too mature for their understanding. 'Mummy, what is going to happen to Gramma?' or 'Why does Grampa poop in a diaper '.
How do we explain decomposition and old age without scaring them out of their wits? In times of awkward questions such as these, the best way would be to change the subject and wait for them to grow up a little more before explaining it to them.
9 Hug And Kiss Them
Children love hugs and kisses. Throw in a few tickles and they will be on cloud 9.
So if your child starts rambling off awkward and annoying questions, grab them, hug them, give them sloppy kisses and tickle them to their bones.
Chances are they will laugh so hard and have such a great time that all questions previously asked will be forgotten. If it doesn't work, hug and tickle them some more. Have them chase you around for hugs and kisses too. Exhaust them and you might just be rewarded with temporary memory loss on their part.
8 Give Them Food
'Why does daddy go to the bathroom standing up and mummy go to the bathroom sitting down?'.'Here sweetheart, have a brownie' to which the toddler sinks teeth in and munches away happily, followed by a few minutes of silence.
'Why does Uncle Bob smell so bad?'' to which you might reply, 'Honey, try this buttered corncob'. The toddler goes munch munch munch, with Uncle Bob forgotten.
Anytime you child starts veering into uncomfortable territory, stuff their faces with yummy food. This trick usually works but one just has to make sure not to overfeed the child. What we want is a few minutes of peace and quiet, not a child with health problems.
7 Turn On The TV or Tablet
No one can resist the power of the TV or the tablet. Turn them on and the little one's eyes will be practically glued to them. In the event that your child asks way too many awkward questions, making you feel smothered by them, turn to your lifeline and turn on the TV or the tablet.
Voila! The end result? Probably a whole afternoon of 'me' time to yourself.
Be careful though not to indulge your child with too much of screen time. Use them sparingly as too much of anything is never a good thing (cue to Spice Girls' Too Much).
6 Get Them To Clean Up Their Toys
If your child persists in asking awkward questions non stop, put on an Oscar-winning act. Give them 'the look' and put on your most authoritative voice, 'Have you cleared up your toys? or 'Have you cleaned up your room?'.
Threaten to give away all, their toys to their sibling or little kid next door if they do not start cleaning up their mess within the next five minutes.
That will definitely send them scurrying to pick up every last bit of toy from the floor and with all their attention focused on cleaning up, the unwanted questions will soon be all but forgotten.
5 Say 'Because It Was Just Made That Way'
"Ask and you shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be open."
These are wise words from one of mankind's oldest books. And you know what they say: copy the wise you will be wise yourself. So the next time your child asks any awkward questions, tell them that the higher-ups made it that way.
If they continue asking, encourage them to pray and seek the divine for answers. And who's to know? You might just be rewarded with a child who wants to join Sunday School or start doing meditation, all of their own volition!
4 "You'll Find Out When You Go To School"
A school is an institution specially designed and tailored to provide learning spaces and environments under the tutelage of professionals.
In the event that you, as a parent, run out of ideas on how to stop the little ones from continually blasting off awkward questions, pass the baton to the teachers and the school.
That might just get them to stop. It might also encourage them to look at 'school' in a more positive light instead of a much-dreaded place. Paint a picture in their heads, make school look like Hogwarts where anything and everything will be answered in a magical manner.
3 Little White Lies
Every once in a while, a parent has to resort to telling a little white lie or two (or three or four) to stop the kids from asking all the awkward questions.
Remember when you were a kid and grandma told you that you came from a little bundle carried by a giant white bird? Or that if you swallowed grape seeds, you'd grow a little grapevine in your stomach? And perhaps if you peeped at cousin Jane taking her bath your eye might develop a style? Now all these lies served a purpose. To stop you from doing or asking all the unwanted questions!
2 Answer Nature's Call
When all else fails, pretend to have a tummy ache or a full bladder (the tummy ache ruse is always the preferred choice as you'll get to hide in the bathroom longer).
Run to the nearest bathroom, bolt the door and stay in there for as long as possible.
Oh, and remember to have a phone, magazine or even some snacks handy. Since you'll be hiding out in there you might as well make the most out of your 'freedom' there and indulge in a little 'me time' doing whatever it is that makes you feel like a normal human being again.
1 Give Them Boring Explanations
Last but not least, we present to you the ultimate weapon in stopping your child from asking awkward questions: bore them.
Explain the first awkward question in the most boring way possible and rest be assured they will never come looking for you to answer their questions ever again.
'Mummy, how are babies made?'
Ramble off the most boring explanation that you can find or think off (remember your high school biology textbooks that would put you in a coma whenever you started reading them?) and you might just get them to sleep before their bedtime too.
References: Wikipedia, Babycenter, and Parenting.com.