Sometimes, trying to connect with your child isn’t easy. A favourite TV show or mobile game can often seem more interesting to him or her than what you have to say. So, the most you might get out of questions you ask could be one-word replies. If this happens frequently, then you should probably change your strategy. Even for kids who tend to be talkative, there are a lot of important things they don’t say.
The point of asking kids certain questions is to get them to open up about issues that might be bothering or affecting them or just simply to bond and learn more about what’s going on in their lives. Finding the right questions to ask kids can help you have meaningful conversations with them and get to know them better.
Reasons Why it’s Important to Ask Kids Questions
As a parent, you might believe you know everything there is about your kids. You might spend more time lecturing and telling them what to do without trying to learn about what they might be going through or seeing things from their perspective. If you spend time asking your kids questions, there’s a lot you’ll learn about them and even understand why they behave a certain way or say certain things.
- Questions create room for conversation
Whether you’re at the dining table or in the car heading somewhere, questions can get your kids talking and create room for conversations that you otherwise might not have if you never ask a question.
- Questions help you learn more about your kids
There are things that happen in your kids lives that they may not spontaneously talk about except you prompt them to. That’s one reason why these questions to ask kids are important. Questions help you learn about different aspects of your kids lives beyond favourite food or who their best friends are.
- Questions help you determine how your child interprets the world
Can you tell if your child is empathetic or if he or she picks on other kids? How would your child react to someone who is “fat” or perceived as ugly to someone who is beautiful? Asking questions can help you determine how your child sees the world and you can identify things about his or her perspective to address or correct if need be.
- Questions support your child’s learning
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, asking children questions supports their language development and critical thinking. Asking questions can also help motivate your child to be more curious about something that might have happened during their day and as neurological studies have shown, curiosity makes the brain more receptive for learning.
How to Ask Kids Questions the Right Way
Essentially, there are no right questions or wrong answers, but when you are considering questions to ask kids, here are a few things to aim for:
- Ask open-ended questions
When you ask questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” it will be difficult to keep the conversation going. Instead, ask questions that will prompt your kids to talk a bit more. For example, rather than asking “Did you have fun at school today?” you should consider asking “What interesting thing happened at school today?”
- Keep the questions simple
It can be tough to move beyond the typical “How was your day?” or “How was school today?” especially when you have kids who are not very talkative. In this case, try asking something that is still simple, but a bit different.
- Don’t be pushy
Sometimes, your kids may not be in the mood to talk or the timing might just not be right. Be conscious about this and avoid forcing them to talk or open up at that time. Give them room to talk about what they want to, while following up with “Why” or “Tell me more about that” or even a simple “I’m glad you shared that with me.”
- Be casual about it
Opening up to parents can be a bit uncomfortable for kids. So instead of calling a special question and answer session, try using activities like riding bikes or taking a walk together as opportunities to start conversations with different questions.
- Be mindful of your reactions and responses
This is not the time to criticise, scold or over-lecture your child about something he or she tells you. It is also not the time to be replying messages or be absent-minded. Focus on whatever your child is telling you, then respond with love and empathy. This will help win your child’s trust and make your child feel safe sharing things with you.
Questions to Ask Kids That Will Get Them Talking
If you want to do away with awkward silences or avoid one-word answers, here are some questions to ask kids to get them talking about different things from school to friends or personal interests. Try following up with “Why?” “How does that make you feel?” or “Tell me more about that” if you want to keep the conversation going.
Questions to ask kids to get them talking about interests or aspirations
#1. What do you want to be when you grow up?
#2. If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?
#3. If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change?
#4. If you could be someone famous for a week, who would you be?
#5. What do you like most about yourself?
#6. What is the one thing you think you can’t live without?
#7. What are you interested in learning how to do?
#8. Do you prefer reading books or watching movies? Why?
Questions to ask kids to get them talking about their day
#9. What was the best part of your day?
#10. What was your least favourite activity?
#11. Who did you make smile or laugh today?
#12. Who made you happy or sad today?
#13. Can you tell me something that happened today that you normally wouldn’t talk about?
#14. What is your favourite day of the week?
#15. Was there a time you felt afraid or alone?
Questions to ask kids to get them talking about school
#16. What’s the hardest part about school?
#17. What was your favourite part of your school day?
#18. What subject is the easiest for you?
#19. Are there any times you feel left out?
#20. What questions did you ask your teacher today?
#21. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
#22. How would you rate your day on a scale of 1-10? Why?
#23. Who did you sit with at lunch?
Questions to ask kids to get to know them better
#24. Do you think it’s more important to be rich or kind? Why?
#25. If someone gave you N5000, what would you do with it?
#26. What 3 items would you grab if our house was on fire?
#27. What is the best gift you have ever received?
#28. What’s your biggest dream that you wish would come true?
#29. What have your friends been up to lately?
#30. How do you show people you care about them?
#31. If you could have anything in the world, what would you want?
#32. If you could go back in time, where would you travel to?
#33. What do you think it means to be a good friend?
As a parent, it is important to ask your children questions from time to time. These questions will help you catch up on what’s going on in their lives and also strengthen your relationship with them. As you consider these questions to ask kids, keep in mind that the chances of them sharing more openly will depend on catching them at the right moment and also asking interesting questions. However, even at a time when you might run out of questions, here’s one you should never forget to ask “Is there anything you want to talk about?”