Parents unable to answer child questions

What do fish drink? What do ants eat? Why is the sea salty? These are just some of the questions parents would struggle to answer, a survey reveals.

More than half of parents (52%) often find it difficult to answer searching questions from their young children. Forty per cent feel inadequate when they can’t answer their child’s questions. A quarter of parents simply make up an answer while another quarter use distraction techniques to change the subject.

The poll of 3,000 parents was commissioned by Classic Media, the company behind TV programme Guess with Jess, which tackles some of the more common science and nature based questions posed by 2-5-year-olds.

The survey revealed that a third of mums and dads don’t know how to describe how rain is made, while 18 per cent get muddled when trying to explain where babies come from.

Fifteen per cent of adults find it hard to say why girls and boys are different, and a further 15 per cent have no idea what ants eat.

Jennie Lindon, psychologist and consultant to the Guess With Jess, says, “Inquisitive young children can ask their parents some tough questions. Even what appear to be simple questions can leave you feeling stumped.

“It is worrying to hear that 40% of the parents in the survey felt inadequate to answer their child’s questions. It is exciting when children become really curious about the world around them and ask those searching questions. We want parents to feel confident and part of that discovery.”

Fifteen per cent will take their child to a library if they are particularly interested in a subject, and 12 per cent would buy them a book about the subject so they can learn more.

Top 20 questions parents struggle to answer

  • How does it rain?
  • Where did I come from?
  • How are girls and boys different?
  • What do ants eat?
  • Where does the wind come from?
  • Where does God live?
  • Why is the sea salty?
  • What makes thunder?
  • What makes a rainbow?
  • What do fish drink?
  • Why can’t I remember being born?
  • What is heaven?
  • How do spiders build webs?
  • Why is the sky blue?
  • How does a man get inside the TV?
  • Why do I have to go to bed when it’s not dark?
  • How do bees make honey?
  • Why can planes fly in the sky?
  • How does Father Christmas get down the chimney?
  • How are babies made?

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