Find the right questions to ask kids to get them to open up easily!
Have you ever found yourself attempting to have a conversation with your child only to feel that you are speaking to a brick wall?
Those one word answers, and dismissive grunts, can be frustrating when all you want to do is talk and connect with your kid.
Open communication between parents and children is important.
Not only does it improve your bond and build trust, it also helps to improve your child’s ability to self-express. It also leads to good self-esteem and prepares your child with the tools to form strong and healthy relationships.
But it doesn’t always come easily, especially when your kid reaches those stages of development when they struggle to explain how they are feeling or what they are thinking.
It happens when they are small and have little to no expressive language, again when they start to have big feels they can’t explain and yet again as teenagers when nothing in the world makes any sense.
Despite their level of development or language, it is always possible to communicate with your children. It’s all in the how.
How to Talk to Your Kids
Communicating with kids is all about finding a happy balance.
You don’t want to be too forceful with your conversation and grill them until they give you a satisfactory answer – but you also don’t want to dismiss what they have to say, no matter how mundane their story may be.
Be casual. Conversation with your little ones does not have to be an intense, eye-to-eye experience.
This is effective when you are having a serious discussion but getting your kids to open up is all about making sure they are comfortable enough to talk.
Which means that you should avoid teaching, correcting, criticizing and lecturing them during these kinds of conversations.
The more you give them a relaxed space to talk, without turning it into a lesson, the more your kids will open up to you naturally.
When your talking with your kid, be sure to show them that you are listening. Show physical interest through your body language and focus on what they are saying.
Try not to think ahead to what you are going to say and pay attention to what they are saying. Repeat back key points so they know you heard what they said.
Open Ended and Closed Ended Questions
The trick to getting your children to provide more than a one-word answer (or grunts) is how you phrase the question you are asking.
When you use open ended questions, you invite longer responses and have a better chance of generating a conversation.
When you ask closed ended questions, you are giving your child an opportunity to answer either “yes” or “no” and end the conversation there.
For example, a popular question for your child may be, “How was your day?” Your child can respond with “Good,” and end the conversation there. This is a closed ended question.
Asking, “What happened today?” opens the floor to a more detailed explanation of the day. This is an open ended question.
If you find your child skirting the open ended question rule by still providing short responses, you can always follow up with “why?”.
When to Talk to Your Kids
Because you don’t want to turn conversations into interrogations, and because you want open communication to become commonplace in your lives, talking to your kids should happen all throughout the day.
After school is a great time to ask your child about their day, while dinnertime at the table is perfect for asking questions about family and relationships.
However, you can initiate topics at anytime, anywhere: while going for a walk, at the beach, driving around or playing at the playground.
Just make sure you are able to give your child your full attention when you have a conversation.
40 Questions to Ask Your Kids
If you find yourself asking your kids the same questions over and over (and getting the same unenthusiastic responses), try these 40 questions to spark a conversation between you and your children:
- What was your favorite part of the day?
- What did you like most about the weekend?
- How did that happen?
- How are you planning to do that?
- Why is this important to you?
- Tell me what happened.
- What do you wish we did more often?
- What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
- What is your favorite memory?
- What would you do with a million dollars?
- What’s the best thing about your life?
- What’s something you want to learn how to do?
- What makes you feel loved?
- What do you worry about the most?
- Who made you smile today?
- How did you help someone today?
- If you could change your name, what would it be?
- What would you like to dream about tonight?
- How do you show people you care about them?
- Where would you like to travel to anywhere in the world?
- What cheers you up when you’re sad?
- What do you love about your best friend?
- What you have done that you are most proud of?
- What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made and how did you learn from it?
- If you could write a book, what would it be about?
- What’s your biggest struggle right now?
- What are your friends up to?
- If you opened a store, what would you sell?
- When was a time that you felt brave?
- What are you thankful for?
- What makes you feel really excited?
- What would you like to learn how to do all by yourself?
- If you could change one rule at home, what would it be?
- What would you do if you were the parent for the day?
- What’s the funniest thing that happened today?
- If you had to give up one possession, what would it be?
- What’s the hardest part about growing up?
- What’s the best part about growing up?
- If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What is something you can do that you would like to teach to others?
Connect With Your Child Today
As a mom to school-aged twins I lean on these questions to help grow a better connection with them. It’s important for me that they share what they are learning and feel comfortable with sharing information with me!
Share in the comments if you used these questions with your child!
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