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Parents Reveal the Most Challenging Questions Asked by Their Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

The best way for children to understand how things work is to ask a lot of questions. But how many, on average, do they expect us to answer on any given day?

According to a recent poll conducted by London-based toy company Chad Valley—which produces Tots Town, a range of developmental play sets aimed at 18-month-olds to 3-year-olds—the answer is 73.

The poll asked 1,500 mothers and fathers in the U.K. to list the most challenging questions their kids have ever asked.

These were the top 10:

1. Why do people die?

2. Where did I come from?

3. What is God?

4. How was I made?

5. What does “we can’t afford it” mean?

6. Is Father Christmas real?

7. Why do I have to go to school?

8. When you die, who will I live with?

9. Why is the sky blue?

10. Why can’t I stay up as late as you?

Not surprisingly, many parents polled confessed to Googling answers when they weren’t able to formulate a convincing explanation of their own.

Most kids—even those located right here in the U.S.—start probing Mom and Dad the second they learn to talk, but at what age does this line of questioning go from adorable to overwhelming? Researchers connected to the poll tend to think that a child’s inquisitive nature doesn't "peak" until children are 4 years old (when a child’s hours of operation are from about 6 a.m. until bedtime).

On average, moms answer roughly 413 questions a week, while dads handle the rest. The result: Four out of 10 parents admit to feeling drained and hopeless. As an added bonus (and a warning to all newbies), half of those polled said their child showed increased curiosity whenever they overheard an adult conversation. Another 46 percent attributed their child’s third-degree behavior to “other children” or their imagination.

Even so, most parents were proud of their child for showing an interest in the world, as were the executives at Argos, where Chad Valley toys are sold.

With the aid of child psychologist Dr. Sam Wass, representatives from Chad Valley Tots Town created a series of videos that illustrate kids' most challenging questions.

“As children grow up, it’s natural to be curious about the world around them,” says Dr. Wass. “As parents, it’s easy to forget just how much of our children’s knowledge comes from what we tell them. But it can be tough to address the trickier topics—such as money and bedtime."

"Using educational and visual aids such as toys can help to soften the difficulty of broaching trickier subjects," he adds. "Expressing complex thoughts and ideas through familiar items can often help children’s understanding.”

Now, seriously, why is the sky blue?

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