In the day to day hustle and bustle of life–working full time, making dinner, doing laundry and all those other mundane tasks–sometimes I feel like I don’t really talk to my kids. Sure, I remind them to brush their teeth and ask them if they finished their homework. I give them kisses and tell them I love them. When it comes to real conversation, though, sometimes I feel like there’s something lacking. I know I’m not the only one. Parents of some of my students say, “When I ask them how their day was, they say, ‘Fine.'” “What did you do today? ‘Nothing.'”
I want to feel a deep connection with my kids. I want them to be able to talk to me about anything. I don’t want the busy-ness of life to get in the way of the most important people in my life–my family.
Below I have listed some questions–beyond “How was your day?” and “What did you do?”–that you can ask your kids to get them talking. Ask the question and then listen. Be willing to devote 5, 10, 15 minutes to just really listening. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, let the dishes soak in the sink and listen without judgment. “Tell me more” is a great way to get your kids to elaborate on their thinking without assigning value to what they have told you.
A few great places I find that I can really talk with my kids is in the car, or by taking a walk after dinner around the neighborhood, or as I am tucking them into bed. Find a special time each day that is your child’s time to have your undivided attention.
Make the connections. You are saying I value you. You are important to me.
- What is your favorite song?
- What is your favorite animal?
- What is your favorite food/meal?
- If you could eat only one food for a month, what would it be?
- What’s your favorite color? What does it remind you of?
- What’s your favorite number?
- What is your favorite activity?
- What is your best memory?
- What is your favorite thing about yourself?
- What do you like about yourself?
- Describe yourself in 3 words.
- What are you proud that you can do?
- What talent do you wish you had?
- How do you like to relax?
- Who do you look up to?
- When do you feel most comfortable?
- What is something you are working to learn/improve?
- How are you a good friend?
- Tell me about a goal/dream you have.
- Where would you like to travel?
- What would you like to do when you grow up?
- Describe the best day you could imagine.
- Tell me about a time you were frustrated.
- Tell me about a time you were brave.
- Tell me about a time you were scared.
- Tell me a time you feel you were treated unfairly.
- What do you do when you feel angry? Scared? Frustrated?
- Tell me a time when you felt lonely.
- When you get upset, do you prefer to talk it out or cool off first?
- What makes you jealous?
- What is your favorite thing about school?
- What is most challenging for you in school right now?
- Who is your best friend? What do you like best about that person?
- How do you like to help?
- What is something you would change? (This could be in the world/society, in your family, at school, etc.)
- What person do you admire most? What is it about them that you like?
- What quality do you like least in a person?
- What is the nicest thing someone could say to you?
- Who loves you? Beside family?
- What is your favorite thing about our family?
- What do you like best about Mom? Dad?
- What do you like to do with the family?
- What do you like to do with just Mom? Just dad?
- What do you like about your brother/sister?
- What annoys you the most?
- What family chore do you like best? Least?
Just for Fun
- If you could have any superpower what would it be?
- Tell me a joke.
- Would you rather questions…(have a dog or a cat as a pet? be really strong or really fast? have to stand all day or sit all day? stay in the house all day or be outside all day? be very hot or very cold? have 24 hours of sun or 24 hours of darkness?)
Every Day Questions
- What is the best thing that happened today?
- What made you happy today?
- What are you thankful for today?
Whenever I ask these kinds of questions, my kids always seem to say, “Ask me another question, Mama!” Do I ask these questions every day? Nope, but I’m going to start trying to do it more often because I want my kids to know how important they are to me.
What questions do you find get your kids talking?