28 answers

Does Your Child Say "What" All the Time?

In the past few days, my 3.5 year old has started to ask "what?" after most things I say to her, and i have to repeat myself over and over. I know she understands the meaning of what I am saying, and I know that she can hear me because sometimes I'll repeat myself in a softer voice to see whether she can hear me, which she can. She is a highly verbal, intelligent kid. So, I'm wondering, is this normal 3 year old behavior?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks, everyone!! Many of your posts made me smile. Good to know that we're not alone! :)

Featured Answers

My 4 1/2 year old asks WHAT and WHY over, and over, and over, and over.........

Passed his hearing test with flying colors. Bright kid. Think it's normal.

2 moms found this helpful

Very normal! They start to tune us out at this age! lol! (you'll notice that husbands do this too :)

2 moms found this helpful

My 2 1/2 yr old son went through a phase of saying "what" all the time and has since moved on to other things. Completely normal.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

My 4 1/2 year old asks WHAT and WHY over, and over, and over, and over.........

Passed his hearing test with flying colors. Bright kid. Think it's normal.

2 moms found this helpful

Normal & remember

"Why" is on the way too (very soon) ;-)

2 moms found this helpful

Very normal! They start to tune us out at this age! lol! (you'll notice that husbands do this too :)

2 moms found this helpful

I was loosing my mind with this same issue with our 4 yr old. I asked a family member with a degree in child development and she said it's a normal part of their processing. They do hear you but it takes their brain longer to process what they have heard. Now when she does it I don't respond or repeat right away and it stops.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree, not only is it a habit but it's a way of stalling for time. Usually if you ask them to repeat it back they can!

Next time you want to say something make sure you have her attention. Say her name and wait until she's looking at you. I know as parents it's easy to just talk AT your kid.

When my stepdaughter was six she did this A LOT. I started getting her attention and then I'd make her repeat everything back. When she got mad I'd say "well, you say 'what' all the time so I'm trying to make sure you're listening." She got herself out of the habit quick!

But for a 3.5 year old, just getting her attention first and making her look at you should be fine. And turn off the TV before you speak. I have to do that too!

1 mom found this helpful

I've always thought that kids ask what or why, after you say something to them, to confirm understanding or request more information. I've never felt it was a discipline issue or an annoying habit, more like it's a normal part of information processing.

They heard what you said, they thought about it, then they ask to see if they heard it right, if so- you'll repeat yourself, or if you will add more detail. That's my take on it. When my kids, my students, or grandson do this, I add a little information then ask them a question back.

What puts me off is when kids say, "I know" to everything. What a conversation stopper!

1 mom found this helpful

LOL, I have to say it is just the WHAT? Stage. My son is 41/2 now and he went throught that about a year ago. To me it was so funny to read your story. My son has always been able to understand, I have to admit I think he just liked that word and he liked the idea he got me to talk to him everytime he said it. I think it was entertaining for him to make me repeat myself over and over again. After a week or so of him doing that, I would say "You heard me." Sure enough he started responding to everything I would tell him. Good luck... and I hope it doesn't last too long.
J.

1 mom found this helpful

My 2 1/2 yr old son went through a phase of saying "what" all the time and has since moved on to other things. Completely normal.

1 mom found this helpful

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