The little questions we dread to hear

TO the young and inquisitive, they are questions which naturally spring to mind but as many parents know to their embarrassment they can be the toughest posers to answer. Pre-school children want to know things like what do fish drink, what do ants eat an

TO the young and inquisitive, they are questions which naturally spring to mind but as many parents know to their embarrassment they can be the toughest posers to answer.

Pre-school children want to know things like what do fish drink, what do ants eat and why is the sea salty.

If they can think of the question, it must be easy to answer, surely. But parents see it differently.

More than half of the mums and dads questioned in a survey admitted they found it difficult to answer searching questions from their young off-spring.


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Four in 10 adults said they felt inadequate when faced with a question to which they did not know the answer.

Perhaps to their shame - but maybe understandable in the circumstances - almost a quarter of parents admit to making something up when faced with a question they could not answer, while another 24 per cent said they try to distract their child with something else to avoid the question altogether.

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The survey results out this week reveal that a third of mums and dads do not know how to describe how rain is made, while nearly a fifth of them struggled to explain where babies come from.

When it comes to explaining what makes thunder, how rainbows are created and how planes can fly, many parents are flummoxed.

More than a third of parents polled said they felt very anxious when they could not answer their child's questions, and 26 per cent said they wished their child asked fewer questions.

But others are more positive and ready to rise to the challenge. More than a third said they try and research answers to difficult questions on the internet so they are better prepared the next time round. The only problem with that is, with so many possible questions coming their way, the chance of getting the same one twice could be remote.

The TV can be a good source of information for youngsters, and us oldies. Come Sunday, it will be 40 years since the first colour transmissions on BBC and ITV - but I learned this week that old habits die hard for some viewers.

Figures released in the run up to the anniversary reveal that 25 homes in Stevenage are among 28,000 across the UK where programmes are still enjoyed in black and white on sets which would not look amiss in a museum.

Everyone to their own taste, but it must be hard to watch snooker on the box.

Talking about sport on TV, another press release was about world number three darts player James Wade stepping up to the oche with a new sponsorship deal from the lubricating oil people WD-40.

He was quoted as saying: "I regularly used WD-40 when I was a mechanic and can't believe it's now on my shirt."

I image it must have been on his shirt quite often when he was in his previous trade.

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