“Why do you think it works that way?
“What do you think it means?”
“How do you think we should handle it?”
Those are 3 questions that I used today when talking to my own child and to the ones I taught. There is nothing like the moment when a student or child asks you a question and you turn it around and ask them what they think the answer is. That moment where they stop and consider. Start to wonder out loud. And answer so that the inflection sounds like a question.
“Because it has wheels?”
“It means she thinks she’s a good person?”
“We should take turns?”
We need to remember that sometimes they don’t need answers. They need encouragement and a reminder that they are capable and can problem-solve. We need to reinforce their own abilities and boost their confidence.
We need to listen and decide if they really need the answer or if they need the chance to think it through on their own. Sometimes, we rush to be the knowledge-givers instead of the thought-encouragers. We need to remember to do both.