You may notice your relationship with your child changing during this period. Emotionally, they now realise that you’re two separate people – you’re not joined together in any way. You’ve got your own separate feelings, needs and desires, and sometimes you don’t want the same things as each other. They become more empathetic. When you get sad, they might comfort you. If the work starts piling up, you might get a helping hand. Around this time, your child might also start negotiating with you. This is a real sign of independence and grasping the concept of fairness.
Why does the sun shine? Why do we have a red car? Why do I have to do it? Why is grandma wrinkly? Why is the mail arriving now? Why do we have to go? Why do birds sing? You probably don’t need to be told how important it is to take these questions seriously – even though there’s so many of them that you sometimes feel like your ears are wearing out from exhaustion. Asking questions and getting answers builds your child’s knowledge, stimulates their curiosity and gives them even more to think about. Some children fire questions the whole time; others are more reflective and not quite so intense; and still others are very inventive and come up with the answer themselves. Regardless of how your child asks, what they ask is always fascinating. But it can also test your patience from time to time. No doubt about it. Do bear in mind that ‘why?’ on its own can also be short-hand for ‘tell me more’. It’s your child’s way of asking for more information.