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40+ Clever Questions Guaranteed to Spark Conversation With Kids

by Vannessa Rhoades 09 Mar 2023
40+ Clever Questions Guaranteed to Spark Conversation With Kids

As parents, we usually feel like we know our children better than anyone – their favorite bedtime story, how they act when they’re not feeling well, what excites them the most. You’re closer to your child than anyone else on the planet. That said, people evolve – and that includes children. Whether it’s a new favorite food or new feelings and observations, kids are constantly growing and changing. In order to stay plugged into those changes, you need to ask questions that initiate new conversations.

Even simple questions can encourage conversation, offer more understanding, and teach you more about your child. They can also help your child further develop their confidence and imagination and teach them about how your family values gratitude and empathy. You can start a conversation during mealtimes, while riding in the car, or any other time you’re able to concentrate on the discussion. Let’s take a look at some thought-provoking questions guaranteed to spark conversation with your kids.

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Questions to Help You Learn More About Your Child

Inquiring about your child’s feelings, goals, and what’s important to them can give you a better understanding of who they are and who they’re becoming. It can also tip you off on whether issues are arising where they may need a little help or direction. Here are a few conversation starters to try:

  • What characteristics do you want in a friend?
  • What has been your most awkward moment?
  • Which friend do you like spending time with the most? Why?
  • What do you think is the most valuable trait a person can have?
  • How do you feel about the fashions that are popular right now?

Questions to Improve Their Mental Fortitude

With time and proper guidance, most children learn how to manage their thoughts and feelings and then take action when necessary. While it’s good to give children opportunities to practice being mentally strong, asking them specific questions can help remind them of various ways to improve their mental strength.

  • When you’re mind is spinning out on negative thinking (“I’m not good enough” or “Everyone hates me”), what can you do or say to yourself to change your thinking?
  • When you feel afraid, how do you deal with it?
  • What feels the worst: fear, anger, embarrassment, or something else?

Questions to Encourage Ethical Thought

Learning what your children think about various ethical issues can help children begin to understand what they value and develop a sense of morality. Here are some questions that can get your child to think about their ethics:

  • Is it ever ok to steal?
  • Is cheating on a test or a game ever ok?
  • If one of your buddies forgets their lunch money, should other kids share their lunch with them?

Questions to Improve Family Connections

Children need to understand that they are valued family members. It can be eye-opening to get their perspective on what they enjoy or respect about their own family, as well as what they may wish were different. Try to listen to their opinions without being defensive or argumentative. Conversely, you may be pleasantly surprised by what your child enjoys about your family. Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling: 

  • What activities do you wish our family did more?
  • What do you love most about our family?
  • What do you think is an important characteristic of being a good mom or dad?
  • What family tradition do you enjoy the most?
  • What’s your favorite thing about your brother(s) or sister(s) or cousins?
  • If you could make a new rule or tradition for our family, what would it be?
  • Do you feel like the discipline and consequences in our family are appropriate?

Questions to Spark Their Imagination

As children get older and begin to phase out pretend play, they tend to use their imagination less. Asking thoughtful questions can help get the conversation started in a way that encourages your child to be more creative and imaginative.

  • Which color is the happiest? Which is the saddest? Why?
  • If you were going to write a book, what would it be about?
  • If you had $1,000, what would you do?
  • If your cat/dog/fish/hamster could talk, what would they say?
  • If you could have any superpower in the world, what would you choose and why?

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Questions to Increase Empathy

Children tend to be fairly self-centered by nature. You can help them begin to shift this mindset by encouraging them to think about others and what the world may look like from another point of view. Here are a few questions that can help kids become more empathetic:

  • How do you think it feels to be teased?
  • How do you think bullies feel about themselves?
  • Do you know anyone who is bullied or teased at school? Why? Does anyone ever stand up for them?
  • Did you have the opportunity to show kindness to someone today?
  • How do you think people feel when you’re kind to them?
  • What is something you would change about the world, if you could?

Questions to Build Their Self-Esteem

It’s essential for children to identify what they’re good at – their own special strengths, aptitudes, and capabilities. Asking them questions that help them recognize their talents can help them figure out how to put those skills to use.

  • What is a special talent you have? What are you good at?
  • What can you do to make difference in the world?
  • What are you most proud of?

Questions to Help Them Dream Big

Children and teens tend to be very present-minded people. Asking them questions about their future and what they want to do when they’re “all grown up” can help them start picturing what they want their life to look like in the future. Here are some questions that can help your child think more about the long-term and start to dream big about what they want and how to reach those goals:

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • If you could do anything you want, no matter how big the goal, what would it be?
  • Would you rather live in a mansion or on a farm? In the country or in the city? Near the beach or in the mountains?
  • What goals do you have before you finish school?

Questions to Inspire Gratitude

Whether playing a board game or driving to school, talking about what you appreciate and why can go a long way. Take time to reflect with your child on all the wonderful characteristics in friends and family that help them feel valued and provide them with a sense of security. Reminding each other of those important relationships can help children manage stress and anxiety more effectively. Here are a few questions to spark conversations that inspire gratitude:

  • Tell me about a few things you don’t “need” but that you appreciate having in your life.
  • What do you appreciate most today? 
  • What are some advantages I didn’t have growing up that you are grateful to have?
  • Tell me a few things that may seem disappointing but that we’re actually glad to have in our lives. (For instance, taking time to brush our teeth every night isn’t much fun, but it helps us have healthy teeth and gums.)
  • What are a few things you get to enjoy that other kids might not be able or allowed to do?

The Takeaway

Try to keep questions natural and conversational. Don’t berate your kids with a rapid-fire interrogation, or you’ll risk overwhelming them. Show them you’re truly interested in their point of view. Your child will love talking with you when they understand that you truly value what they to say – even if they have an opinion that’s different from yours.

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