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  • Writer's pictureColleen Nelson

Answer Their Questions - The Sun

My dear husband and I had a rule early on with our kids; ‘If they are old enough to ask the question, they are old enough to hear the answer.’ This approach has served us well with the kids. The trick is to answer the question at their level without talking down to them. Do not put too much pressure on yourself on how to answer the hard questions. There are times where you will learn with your kids. It is okay to not know the answer and let them know you will do research together.

Our dear son asked my dear husband one of those tough questions one afternoon while I was working.

“Dad, why does the sun go to the other side of the earth at night?”

Our dear son was about three years old at this time. Keeping to our rule about answering the questions they ask my dear husband proceeded to explain about the rotation of the earth. He explained earth science the best he could for THREE hours to our various curious dear son who had many follow up questions.

When they came to pick me up our dear son was clearly not satisfied. As I got in the car I was greeted with:

“Mom, why does the sun go to the other side of the earth at night?”

I had no idea what had been going on for the last three hours. I quickly said,

“Because the sun is important to grow crops and we have to share with the people on the other side of the other so they can grow their food like we do.”

My dear husband had a look of shock and confusion. It was clear I had walked into something. Our dear son quickly cleared things up for me.

“Oh, that makes sense. Dad said we are all spinning on the earth and falling at the same time, and I’m not dizzy at all.”

The rest of the way home we had a conversation that explained Earth Sciences and importance of kindness and sharing. My dear husband’s answer was technically correct but wasn’t at the level a three-year-old could understand. My answer was something a three-year-old could understand but didn’t give him any facts.

Trying to find the right balance can be a challenge. To this day if something is hard to explain we all look at each other and say, “Because we have to share.”

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