Are you ever wondering what is going through your child’s mind? What matters most to them? What are their friendships like? Where does their imagination take them? These open-ended questions to ask your kids will open the door to both fun and meaningful conversations that will help you know and understand them better.
Sure you could ask general questions like – what is your favorite food, favorite dinner, favorite color or favorite song, but I’ve compiled a list of some great questions to spark meaningful conversations with your child. You might be surprised at some of the answers you get and just how engaging the conversations can be using these simple questions. With a little bit of creativity and the right timing, you might end up gaining significant insight into your child’s heart and mind.
Occasionally it can feel like pulling teeth when trying to find out about your child’s day. Many times if you ask, “How was school today?”, you will receive a one word answer, such as “fine”, “ok”, “good”. In order to avoid those bland responses, use these fun questions as conversation starters with your children.
I’ve also included some of my favorite questions for older children to try to understand what their biggest challenges are and to spark their critical thinking skills. These open-ended questions will generate fun night-time snuggle or dinner table conversations and help you to understand what is going on in their beautiful minds.
Questions to ask Kids of all Ages
1. If you could travel in a time machine, would you go forward or backward in time and why? What would you do?
2. If you could have a superhero name, what would it be?
3. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Who were you with?
4. What is the grossest thing you’ve ever seen?
5. Tell me a story about the funniest thing that happened this week?
6. What would the best fort look like?
7. What is the biggest dream in your heart?
8. If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go and why?
9. What is one activity that you could do for the whole day and not get bored?
10. What is something you’ve had a hard time with and what did do you do to overcome that?
11. Where is your favorite place to eat breakfast?
12. What is your favorite thing to do to wind down after a long day?
13. Would you rather have a gentle pet dragon or a pet unicorn? What would you do with this pet?
14. What was the absolute best part of your week?
15. If you had to give up video games or TV for month, which would you give up?
16. What is one thing in your bedroom that you think you might keep for the rest of your life?
17. If we divided your age in half, what is your favorite memory from the first half of your life and your favorite memory from the second half of your life?
18. What 3 things would you take with you on a long car ride?
19. If you had to eat the same healthy food every single day, what would you choose?
20. What is the best song you’ve ever heard?
21. What is your favorite memory from this season last year that you would like to recreate this year?
SO MANY QUESTIONS!
22. What is the best thing to do when it’s raining outside?
23. What do you always wonder about?
24. What is something I do that makes you feel safe and loved?
25. What is your dream vacation destination?
26. Do you have any thoughts that replay over and over in your mind? What are they?
27. What is something really simple that we do together that you love?
28. Have you had any dreams this week that you can remember?
29. What is something you have never done, but you really want to?
30. What are you looking forward to this week?
31. Do you have a favorite season? Why is it your favorite?
32. What is one of your favorite places to go near where we live?
33. What is your favorite ride at an amusement park?
34. How would you describe yourself to a penpal?
35. What is your definition of a perfect day?
36. What is your favorite song from a Disney movie?
37. What is one of the most important things you own that is near and dear to your heart?
38. If you could meet any famous person, who would you like to meet and why? What would you ask that person?
39. If you had to choose one special activity to do every single month, what would it be?
40. What is something you are most proud of and why?
41. What was your least favorite part of the day today?
42. If you could meet a fictional character in real life, who would you want to meet and what would you ask them?
43. What is the absolute most fun thing you’ve ever done?
44. Do you have a favorite drink that you could not live without?
45. What do you love to do on the playground?
EVEN MORE QUESTIONS…
46. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
47. What is the most popular game that you and your friends talk about?
48. Did you learn any new words today?
49. What is one great opportunity you’ve had that you are grateful for?
50. Did you learn something in today’s (soccer, baseball, basketball, softball, hockey, etc.) game that you would do differently next time? What would you like to try to do again?
51. What important skill did you learn this month?
52. Do you have something that you’ve never experienced that you really want to try?
53. What are you most proud of this past year?
54. What is something kind you did for someone this week?
55. What is something kind someone else did for you this week?
56. Did anything happen this week that made you uncomfortable?
57. What is something you did this month for the very first time?
58. Would you prefer to spend all day on the beach or all day in a boat?
59. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
60. If you could choose anywhere in the world to spend an entire month, where would it be?
61. What is a dream in your heart that you think about a lot?
62. What is your favorite road trip snack food?
63. If you could have an entire pantry full of one type of candy, what would it be?
64. Is there a TV show that has ended that you wish had more seasons?
65. What do you admire about the main character in your favorite tv show?
Questions about School instead of “How was school today?”
66. What is something funny that happened today?
67. What examples of kindness did you see today?
68. Does your teacher say something that always makes you laugh? What is it?
69. What words would you use to describe your week?
70. Do you have a least favorite subject and what makes it not-so-fun?
71. What is the first thing you do when you get to school?
72. What is one question you could ask your teacher tomorrow to help you clarify something you were confused about today?
73. How would you describe your school?
74. What do you like most about the first day of school? What do you like least about the first day of school?
75. Have you had a really good discussion in class this year? What teacher was it and what was the discussion?
76. What is something you’ve discussed in history class that made you curious to know more?
77. Is there anything about school that is weighing on you this week?
78. Who was your favorite teacher so far and what did he/she do that made you like him/her the most?
79. What are you really good at in school?
Questions to ask Kids about Feelings
80. Who are you with when you feel most like yourself?
81. What are you doing when you feel most like yourself?
82. What is one worry you carry around in your heart?
83. If you could paint a picture of what you are feeling right now, what would the picture look like?
84. What was one of the strongest emotions you felt this week? What made you feel this way?
85. What is one emotion that you aren’t really sure how to handle when you feel it? What do you do when you feel this way?
Questions to ask Kids about Friendships
86. What is your favorite thing about your relationship with your closest friend?
87. What is something one of your friends does that makes you feel happy?
88. Who is one new friend you have this year that you didn’t have last year?
89. What is your favorite trait about your best friend?
90. What is your favorite memory with your friends?
91. How do you define a good friend?
92. What is the most fun thing you’ve done with your friends this summer?
93. What do you enjoy most about the friendships you have?
94. Who is someone you would like to get to know better?
Questions to ask Younger Kids
95. If you could have any super power, what would it be and what would you do with that super power?
96. Would you rather run like a cheetah or fly like an eagle? Why?
97. Who did you sit with at lunch today?
98. Would you rather live in the rainforest or the jungle?
99. Who did you play with at recess today?
100. If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be and why?
101. What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done?
102. What book makes you laugh the hardest?
103. What would you do if you saw Santa putting gifts under the tree?
104. If you were granted a “YES DAY”, what would you want to plan?
105. If a genie granted you one wish, what would your wish be?
106. Would you rather drive a racecar or fly a UFO?
107. If you could fly anywhere on a magic carpet, where would you fly? What would you do once you arrived?
Questions to ask Older Kids
108. When you walk down the hall at school, what is going through your mind?
109. What are you most excited about in your high school years?
110. What qualities do you look for in your closest friends?
111. As you enter high school, is there anything that concerns you?
112. What is something you would like to save your money for?
113. Who in your closest circle of friends do you put the most trust in? How has that person earned your trust?
114. If you could re-do one conversation that didn’t go as planned, what conversation would that be?
115. What do you think about X, Y, Z current event in the world? What are your thoughts about it?
116. What topic sparks curiosity in your mind about how the world works?
117. Is there something that you feel cynical about? Why do you feel this way?
118. What are you most hopeful about?
119. What do you daydream about?
120. What is something you would like to tell your younger self?
Resources for Communicating with Your Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these resources for How to Communicate with and Listen to Your Teen and this article on the Components of Good Communication to keep in mind as you relate to your middle-years child.
Motherly provides these 8 psychologist-backed tips for improving communication with kids of all ages.
Fostering an Atmosphere of Communication
By asking your kids light-hearted questions, you can create a safe space for older kids to express themselves and avoid asking targeted questions about social dynamics or friendships. I’ve found that if I ask my teenager too many direct questions, or a lot of questions at one time, he gets thoroughly annoyed. However, open-ended and light-hearted questions can be an easier way to open the door to meaningful dialogue with your older child. The right questions can serve as a starting point for learning what might be weighing on your child’s mind.
For younger children, open-ended questions can be a great way to develop their language skills as they try to explain their thoughts to you.
Kids want to be seen and heard. They want to feel like their thoughts matter. They want to feel unique and understood. Questions like these show that you are interested in what your child thinks and in who they are.
The next time you jump in the car for a drive, Instead of having screen time on those long car rides, make it quality time instead by playing a game of 20 questions. Bookmark this article for easy reference.