How to ask questions

How to ask Questions to get you or your child out of rut

One of the benefits from training to be a coach whilst gaining a greater understanding of the Reggio approach (see translating Reggio) for early years development is an appreciation that it's much more effective to ask questions than it is to provide answers. 
In my experience most people asking questions already have the answer but need confirmation or conversation BUT never condescension. 

Questions to ask yourself when stuck in a rut

It's always surprising to see how much knowledge my 4 year old comes up with when I hold back from simply providing a one word answer. We now always try to throw the questions back to her, such as "im not sure what that is - what do you think? How could we find out?". We go on to have a much deeper conversation than simply telling her what's noise or smell is (it's usual the boys).

The same logic of closing off ones mind to possibilities applies to us when tackling a frustration such as how can I get back into a routine again. We often ask ourselves questions that drag us into the drama of the situation or create a victim mindset. For example if you are struggling to get back into routine again after the school holidays, or you are frustrated because you aren't able to work due to restrictions on permits, you may ask yourselves questions such as

"what am I going to do with my life now? Or "how on earth will I get a job again after having so much time out?" "I just cant motivate myself" 

The questions in themselves aren't bad, it's just they often drag us deeper into frustration and annoyance rather than spark action to move us forward out of the situation. 

Questions that focus on the solution, such as

"what skills do I want to develop?"
"What things do I want to have done or experienced by Christmas?"
"when I look back at my time as an expat or mother, what things am I celebrating having achieved?"
"Who else could support me in thinking through my options."

These sorts of questions empower and excite us rather than drag us down. They may not provide solutions immediately but they help to change our perspective and shift our thinking, which given time often gives us that 'ah ha' or lightbulb moment.

So the next time your partner or mother in law tries to fix problem for you, go make yourself a cup of tea, grab a notebook and start scribling down some answers for yourself. Give yourself some time to come up with some ideas and to refocus the internal discussion. Don't just jump on other peoples well meaning solutions. 

If you are a parent - maybe try to wonder and explore with your child, some questions you could ask back to them


"I'm not so sure ..........." 
"That's interesting" 
"When have we seen / heard that before?" 

Let me know what are some of your favourite questions that you like to ask either yourself or those close to you? 

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