We adore the endless stream of questions that little ones bring to us every day!  From an early education standpoint, we want children to learn at every opportunity. Children are inquisitive beings, and they have lots to learn! At Little Scholars, we cherish this innate curiosity in children and strive to foster a lifelong passion for learning.

As parents and educators, we understand that some questions from our little ones can catch us off guard, leaving us searching for the right words to provide age-appropriate answers. We’re here to lend a helping hand, so let’s tackle a few of these tough questions together!

Conception

How are babies made/how did a baby get in a mummy’s belly?

Children at this age are curious about the beginning of life. You can answer simply, “A tiny seed, called sperm, from the daddy joins with a special egg from the mummy, and that’s how a baby starts to grow inside the mummy’s belly.” They may understand it like a fruit grows from a seed. For young children, this should satisfy the question. You may want to explain it’s not the same kind of egg we eat for breakfast!

Death

What does dying mean?

The concept of death can be challenging for young children to grasp. We think it’s important to be honest here. You can say, “Dying means that a person’s body stops working, and they don’t feel pain anymore. They don’t breathe, eat, feel hungry or cold. It’s a natural part of life’s cycle, like when leaves fall from a tree in the autumn.” This is a topic that may be followed up with further questions, such as ‘will I die or will you die?’ and be honest. “Yes, we all die. But I hope to be around for a really long time. I have no serious illnesses that could change that.”

What happens to us when we die?

For toddlers and preschoolers, you can offer a comforting response like, “When someone dies, they become like a beautiful memory in our hearts. We remember all the happy times we shared with them, and they will always be a part of us.” If your family has cultural or religious beliefs around death, this may be the place to share, “in our family and our culture/religion, we believe when the body dies ______.” Your child may work through this further through their play, but just be there for them and prepared to revisit this topic.

Same-sex relationships

How come Louis has two dads?

Children may notice different family structures. You can say, “Families come in all shapes and sizes. Louis is very lucky to have two dads who love and care for him just like your mummy and daddy love you.”

Separation

Why does Ashley’s mum live in a different house from her dad?

When answering a small child’s question about why a couple has divorced, we think a simple, honest, and age-appropriate response that takes their emotional well-being into consideration works best. Here’s one way to address the question: “Sometimes, mummies and daddies decide to live separately because they have found they feel happier when they have some space. It’s like when friends need some time apart.

If it’s your separation, your child will need a lot of reassurance from you. “Even though mummy and daddy won’t be living in the same house, we both still love you very much, and we will always be there for you. You will have special time with both of them, and we will continue to love and care for you in different homes.”

Young children may have a limited understanding of complex situations like divorce, so keeping the explanation simple and reassuring them of their parents’ love is crucial. Encourage them to share their feelings and questions, and assure them that it’s okay to talk about their emotions. Creating a supportive and open environment helps children navigate through changes and emotions in a healthy way.

News events

What happened in the news that’s making everyone so sad?

Addressing sad news can be tricky. Open the discussion by asking your child what they know about what’s happened in the news. This is a good opportunity to correct false information and provide context. Remember to use age-appropriate language. Check your child’s understanding throughout the conversation and allow them to ask questions. You can say, “Sometimes, sad things happen in the world, and it can make people feel upset. It’s okay to feel sad or worried, and we can always talk about our feelings with someone we trust. You can always talk to me about anything.”

Science-related

Why is the sky blue?

The secret behind the blue sky lies in something called “Rayleigh scattering”. It’s a fancy scientific term, but it’s a super interesting phenomenon that helps us understand why the sky is blue. When sunlight enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it interacts with tiny particles like dust, water vapour, and pollen. This mixing causes the sunlight to scatter, or spread out, in all directions. When light waves hit these particles, they bounce off and scatter in different directions, just like water droplets scatter after you throw a rock into a pond.

Now you might ask, “Why is the sky blue and not another colour?” That’s because blue light has a shorter wavelength than other colours of light, like red or yellow. Shorter wavelengths scatter more easily when they interact with the tiny particles in the atmosphere. So, when we look up at the sky, we see more blue light than other colours.

But guess what? The sky isn’t always blue! Sunrises and sunsets are not only beautiful but also full of science. The colours we see during these times depend on the angle of the sun and the distance its light travels through the atmosphere. The lower the sun is in the sky, the more atmosphere the light has to pass through. This causes shorter wavelengths, like blue and green, to scatter more, leaving the longer wavelengths, like red and orange, to dominate the sky. That’s why we see those breathtaking colours during sunrises and sunsets!

Clouds, pollution, and weather can also change the sky’s colour, making it look grey, white, hazy, or yellow.

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Where do birds go at night?

Children might wonder where birds go when it gets dark. You can say, “Birds have special nests or cozy spots where they rest at night, just like we have our beds to sleep in.

How do plants grow?

Children might be fascinated by the growth of plants and flowers. You can say, “The plants have roots at the bottom that absorb water and minerals in the ground, and then the stem starts growing. With the help of the sunlight, the stem grows in branches. Green leaves start growing out of the branches. The five things plants need to grow are sunlight, water, minerals, and food..

Why do we have seasons?

Seasons happen because the Earth goes around the sun. The Earth travels around the sun, called an orbit, once a year or every 365 days. As the Earth orbits the sun, the amount of sunlight each location on the planet gets every day changes slightly. This change causes the seasons. When it’s closer to the sun, it’s warmer, and when it’s farther away, it’s cooler.

Where does rain come from?

Children may be curious about rain and weather. Sunlight heats up water on Earth’s surface. The heat causes the water to evaporate/dry up into the sky, or to turn into water vapor. This water vapor rises into the air and makes up clouds. As the water vapor cools, it turns back into water, in the form of droplets or rain drops.

How do airplanes fly?

Little ones might be fascinated by airplanes in the sky. “Airplanes have special wings that help lift them into the air. When they move forward, the air goes over and under the wings, which creates lift and allows the airplane to fly.”

If they have follow-up questions, we liked the answers from Britannica Kids.

Growing up

Why do I have to go to bed early?

Children may question bedtime rules. You can say, “Going to bed early helps our bodies and minds rest and get ready for a new day of fun and learning.”

Why do I have to eat vegetables? 

Answer with something like, “Vegetables have special nutrients that help our bodies grow strong and healthy. They are like superhero foods for our bodies! We need a variety of food that have different types of nutrients so our bodies can get everything they need to be the best they can be.

How come your body doesn’t look like mine?

We bet you thought the puberty question would come later! But nope, your child has noticed there’s a slight difference between their bodies and their parents’ bodies. We know this can feel awkward to answer, but your child doesn’t understand why it could be hard for their parents to explain, so use proper words and keep it simple.

  • Why do you have hair down there? Getting hair under your arms and on your private parts is a normal part of growing up for boys and girls.
  • What are those bumps on mummy’s chest? They’re called breasts and they come in all different sizes. They can make milk when mummies have babies in their bellies and can feed babies while they’re little.

It’s okay not to have all the answers, and it’s perfectly fine to keep explanations simple and age-appropriate. If you don’t have the answers, you can look it up together. By embracing your child’s questions and engaging in open conversations, you’re nurturing their curiosity and building a strong foundation for their learning journey. Be sure to let your lead educator know you’re having these conversations at home. Your child is likely not the only one wondering some of these questions, and your educators can find ways to help them understand life’s curiosities!

Life is full of big changes, everyone goes through a few in their lifetime, and some of these things are in our control and some aren’t. Knowing changes are coming, whether they’re positive or negative, isn’t always easy. As change happens, your routines are disrupted and suddenly you have to adapt as you are pushed further and further out of your comfort zone. For the little people in your life, generally, when a big change happens in their home, they have little control over what’s happening, may not even understand what or why something is happening, and it can be hard.

Some examples of these life changes affecting small children could be a new sibling, parents separating, losing a family member, moving to a new house or even a new city or town. While these changes affect everyone in the house, children don’t necessarily have the coping skills yet to deal with them. Children who are new to major life changes need extra support in addressing their feelings, understanding and adjusting to change, and learning new strategies and skills along the way. As their parent, even if you’re also dealing with these changes yourself, you have to find time for your children to support them through this change. They may be small, but their feelings matter just as much as everyone else’s.

Time to prepare

If you can, give them time to prepare. Is Nana sick? Have a conversation with your children about what this could mean: her not being able to see them while she recovers. Maybe it means time in hospital and she may look different, or maybe it’ll be harder to touch her or talk to her, and maybe it means she may not survive. You may need to prepare yourself first about how you’ll have these kinds of hard conversations with them.

Is a new baby coming? Assure them this does not mean you will love them any less. Let them know that while a new baby may need more attention in the beginning, you’re always there for them and you will still have special time together. Many parents swear by having a special toy basket set up for when the baby needs to be fed, and putting these random, loose parts in the basket that can change regularly to keep them interested.

At our centres, we can arrange activities that help children understand the changes that may be happening at home.

For example, when it comes to a new sibling’s arrival:

“We have had a few new sibling arrivals, and with that we will set up some baby care stations with wraps, bottles, rattles, nappies clothes, etc,” says Skye, an educator at our Yatala campus. “We even do a little bath sensory activity, we read books on the arrival of babies at home and also find some songs about families,”

If you’re at a loss on where to start preparing, book stores and libraries these days have incredible selections of books for children to help them understand in age-appropriate ways big life changes that can affect them. Whatever the scenario, by giving them time to process and accept the change that’s coming, things may be easier when they actually do come. They may not offer up what’s happening in those busy minds and you may need to check in and ask them how they’re feeling or what they think. “I told you not long ago that Mummy and Daddy have to sell the house because we have to move to another city. What are some of the things that come to mind when you think about not living here anymore?”

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Listen to concerns

Take time to listen to their concerns. Be ready to answer questions (and for most children, there will be more and more questions!) and know these questions may come up at what seems to be random times, but that goes to show they internalise change and are trying to process it maybe even more than you think! Say something like, “Moving to a new place can feel sad and scary. It’s okay to feel that way. Let’s take some deep breaths. We can get through it together.”

You may need to help them identify what their feelings are and explain what they mean: emotions such as feeling anxious, sad, scared, excited, and nervous are normal feelings and won’t last forever, and also let them know that these are feelings grown-ups feel too.

Keep routines the same (as much as possible)

Consistency and stability are just as important now as ever before. Bedtimes and mealtimes should remain consistent and are great times to connect as a family, even if the family dynamic is changing. The structure feels safe for children, so provide as much of it as possible to restore a sense of safety. Avoid a lot of big changes at once. Even if there’s a new baby coming, this may not be the time to move your child from cot to big bed if they’re already unsure of their feelings about not being your baby anymore. If Mummy and Daddy are going to live apart, help them set up their second bedroom similarly to the one they’ve known, and try to keep those routines the same, no matter what home they’re spending time in.

“When it comes to a family break, we always talk with parents encouraging them to keep the same routine at both houses, like toileting, comforters, for example,” Skye says.

Maintain connection

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Another thing that should remain consistent is your child’s relationship with you. Make sure your child knows that no matter what else changes, you aren’t going anywhere, and neither is the bond you have with your child. You are always there for them, even if it’s by phone when you can’t be beside them.

Set aside even 10 minutes each day to give your child your undivided attention. Make eye contact, put the phone away, and be playful and affectionate. This will be as good for you as it is your children. If your thing together is going for a walk together, keep doing it. Being cuddled up and reading books together is a wonderful way to maintain your bond. Do an activity together that your child enjoys, whether it’s video games or kicking a ball around, playing dolls or colouring together, you may be surprised with what they’ll remember long into the future about what their time with you meant. Try to remember that a little extra attention and parent-child time reassures your child that your love will stay consistent, making it much easier to cope with changes in other aspects of life.

Tell your Little Scholars educators

Our relationships with our families are so important. We can and would like to help! Talk to your educators or campus manager about what’s going on at home. Your educator may have noticed changes in your child’s behaviour or emotions already, which has given them the heads-up something is different.

“How I notice when children are going through tough times or even have experienced a traumatic event is when they start ‘acting out,’” says Holly, an educator at our Stapylton campus. “Difficulties eating and sleeping than their usual, acting clingy more than usual, more tantrums, losing interest in activities they once enjoyed, they stop playing with their friends and aren’t socially interacting, drawings that are concerning about what is happening in their lives, regression with toileting and even going back to thumb sucking etc.”

By letting educators know what’s going on at home, they can help by ensuring your child has the attention he or she needs especially at this time, or they can help facilitate activities or learning exercises to support feelings your child may be experiencing.

“You definitely need to have built a strong and positive relationship with families in your centre, to ensure you can effectively work together,” Holly says. “Document children’s change of behaviour if you’re concerned and communicate with families about this. It also helps to provide strategies that you will implement at the centre as well as helping families with strategies for home.”

“We always give lots of extra cuddles and when we notice they are having a tough day, and encourage them to do some relaxing activities like laying on the cushions reading, playdough, sensory bottles, calming toys like fidget spinners, poppets, mini lava lamps, just things that give them some space and also some one-on-one time,” Skye says.

It’s our job to help ensure your child is spending their time with us in a warm, welcoming, supportive and caring environment in which she or he can grow socially, cognitively, emotionally, and physically, and we’re here to support your entire family. We have an open-door policy, and you’re very welcome to call or come in to talk as much as you need.

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Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!