60 Questions to get your child to open up

For Parents Jul 09, 2020

Whether they’re just feeling shy or engrossed in a phone game, it can be hard to get kids to share what they’re thinking and feeling. The classic conversation starter “How was school today?” is basically an automatic trigger for silence.

Some parents might get used to these short responses, and eventually come to accept them. However, strong child-parent relationships depend on conversations, regardless of your child's age.

Fortunately, even if your child usually is resistant to talking, there are simple ways that you can strike up a conversation. Asking kids open-ended or funny questions can elicit more inspiring answers than another recap of a school day. Here are 60 fun questions to get your kids talking. Try them in the car, on a walk, or at the dinner table.

Ages 3–4

About school & friends

  1. Who did you have fun with today?
  2. If your best friend was an animal, what animal would they be?
  3. What’s the best snack to eat with friends?
  4. Did anyone need your help today?
  5. What was the hardest part of today?
  6. What do you wish you could do at school?
  7. Is school more like a jungle, or an ocean?
  8. Did anything make you sad today? What made you happy?
  9. What’s the best area of the classroom? What’s the worst?
  10. Did you build anything today?

Imaginative

  1. If you could live on top of a mountain or on a tropical island, which would you choose?
  2. What would you put in your treehouse?
  3. Who do you think lives in the deepest part of the ocean?
  4. What would you bring with you to outer space?
  5. Which would you rather hold: a turtle or a frog?
  6. Do you think animals talk to each other?
  7. What food could you eat for the rest of your life?
  8. If you could do magic, what would you do with it?
  9. Would you rather be a giant or miniature?
  10. What do you think the moon feels like?

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Ages 5–6

About school & friends

  1. Who did you share with today?
  2. What does your teacher do that makes you feel special?
  3. What’s the best toy in the toy box at school?
  4. What did it feel like to go outside today?
  5. What made you feel mad today?
  6. Who makes you feel included at school?
  7. What are you good at?
  8. What’s the best lunch?
  9. Do you miss home when you’re at school? Do you miss school when you’re at home?
  10. What’s the best story in the bookshelf at school?

Imaginative

  1. Would you rather live in a bird’s nest or a turtle’s shell?
  2. Would you like to have a robot for a friend?
  3. What do you think it feels like in outer space?
  4. What’s the worst smell in the world?
  5. If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
  6. How do you think people will travel from place to place in the future?
  7. If you owned a factory, what would it make?
  8. What would your job be if you lived on a farm?
  9. If you could learn to fly a plane or drive a train, which would you choose?
  10. Do you think animals feel sad? When?

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Ages 7–10

In elementary school, learners will start having open discussions at school. If your child is reluctant to talk at home, consider offering them an online class that involves open discussion, to help them get more comfortable with sharing.

About school & friends

  1. Who makes you feel happy?
  2. What’s easiest to do at school? What’s hardest?
  3. Which teachers make you laugh? How?
  4. What’s the best sport in P.E.?
  5. How do you think you can communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you?
  6. If you could be a character in a book, who would you be?
  7. What do you do when you feel sad at school?
  8. How do you make a friend?
  9. What does it mean to be a good friend?
  10. If you were president, who would be your Vice President?

Imaginative

  1. What did the people who built our house forget to include?
  2. What do you remember from when you were younger?
  3. What do you think it was like to live 100 years ago?
  4. Is there life on other planets?
  5. What would you make illegal if you could?
  6. Would you rather join a pack of wolves or a pack of dolphins?
  7. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
  8. What’s the ideal breakfast?
  9. What’s the most random dream you’ve ever had?
  10. If you wrote a book, what would it be about?

Remember, kids are often self-conscious, even around their parents. Sometimes finding ways to get them talking about anything can help ease their transition into sharing more about their thoughts and feelings.

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