Parent: How was your day at school?
Parent: What did you do?
Who hasn’t had an “exchange” like this with their child at some point? As parents, we want to truly know what’s going on in the lives of our children. What’s happening in their social circle? How do they view themselves? What interests or passions do they have that we can help develop? Unfortunately, in our efforts to get kids to open up and share their thoughts, we can inadvertently fire questions at them that feel more like an inquisition than a conversation. How can we start a dialogue that children will actually want to participate in? It may help to pose questions that they find interesting to answer. Here’s a few to try next time you have dinner together, are shuttling off somewhere in the car or find a quiet moment before bed.
- If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would do?
- What are three things you absolutely cannot live without?
- What would you want to be famous for?
- What’s the worst day at school you ever had? The best day?
- Is there anyone you would like to switch places with for a day?
- What’s the best thing anyone has ever said about you?
- What are the most important qualities a friend should have?
- Do you think you would want to have a family of your own one day?
- What do you think the best job in the world would be?
- If you could be any character in a book or movie, who would you choose?
- Do you think you are shy? Outgoing? Somewhere in the middle?
- Do you think movies are ever like real life?
- What’s the hardest thing about being a girl? A boy? The best thing?
- What three words describe you best?
- What’s your biggest pet peeve?
- What’s the scariest dream you’ve ever had?
- If you had your own house, what would you have in it and how would you decorate it?
- If you were the parent, and I was the child, what’s the first thing you would do?
- Describe what your perfect day would look like.
- Have you ever picked up a skill really fast?
- Do you think adults have forgotten anything about what it’s like to be a kid?
- Is there any one sound that drives you crazy?
- If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
- If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?
- Would you want to see what your future holds or not?
Remember, this is a conversation so be sure to give your answers to these questions too! Your child may be surprised by what you say, which might just spark another conversation.