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Why Toddlers Ask,

When 2-year-old Jonah Paterson of Portland, OR, swiped at the cat, his mom Amy said, "We don't hit the kitty, we pat her gently."

"Why?" Jonah asked.

"Because it hurts her."

"Why?"

"Because she's small and fragile."

"Why?"

The real question, his exasperated mom thought, was why Jonah wouldn't let it go. Here are answers to your questions about this phase:

What makes kids so full of questions at this age?
They're genuinely curious, says Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., director of applied research and training at the Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Toddlers are realizing that there are reasons behind the things that happen around them  -- and they're verbal enough to ask about them.

Why do they keep asking the same thing?
They may be trying to understand, or might just enjoy the routine and the attention.

What's the best way to answer?
Briefly and simply. What's most important is that your child experiences the cycle of conversation and picks up more language skills.

How can I stop the barrage?
Try saying, "What do you think?" or "Let's talk more after dinner." This phase will pass when she's 3 or so, since she'll be able to come up with some answers herself.

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