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Are you looking for ways to connect with your children and, possibly, understand them better? As moms, it’s important that we can have open conversations and honest communication with our children. However, sometimes that proves to be more difficult than any of us want to admit.
It can be hard to know where to start. One way is to ask thought-provoking questions, but you don’t want it to seem like you are digging or prying. You also don’t want your children to feel like they are being interrogated.
These questions can help you get to know your children better, but they can also encourage them to use their critical thinking skills and find ways to express their thoughts and feelings to you.
Today, I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask your children to facilitate this communication and strengthen your bond. You could use them as part of a fun game on a long road trip, or you can ask them during a more serious conversation. Either way, these questions will hopefully help to spark some interesting discussions and give you some insight into the personality and perspective of your children.
Types of Questions to Ask Your Children
The types of questions I am suggesting will cover a broad range of topics. Each question is designed to elicit thoughtful and meaningful conversations between you and your children. All of the questions are open-ended, so your child will have to use more than one word, hopefully, to answer them.
These questions to ask your children are grouped into 6 categories.
Getting-to-Know-You questions will explore the personal experiences and preferences of your child.
Self-Reflection questions encourage your child to be introspective and self-aware.
Imaginative questions stimulate your child’s creativity.
Critical Thinking questions get your child to think about some of the issues around us in society.
Goal-Oriented questions inspire your child’s ambition and ability to plan ahead.
Personal Connection questions deepen your child’s understanding and strengthen family relationships.
Using questions across these diverse categories will help you as a mom better to understand your children and their unique perspectives on life. Hopefully, these discussions will foster their growth and development.
As moms, sometimes we think that we know more about our children than we really do. Ask your child some of these questions and see what he/she has to say. You can always add follow-up questions like “why” to any of the questions. Use these questions to ask your children as a jumping-off point for the conversation.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you have free time?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Who is your favorite person in the world?
What is your favorite book or movie?
What is your favorite memory of us as a family?
What is your favorite meal?
What is your favorite dessert?
If you could do anything right now, what would it be?
How old do you think your dad and I are?
These are great questions to ask your children when you want to make them think about themselves. They will probably have to take a minute or two to think about these answers. Just be ready for your children to turn the questions around on you.
What do you think makes a good friend?
What do you think is the most important thing in life?
What is something you’re really good at?
What is something you’d like to get better at?
What is something that you’re afraid of, and how do you deal with that fear?
What is something you’re proud of yourself for?
What do you think is the hardest thing about growing up?
What makes you feel loved?
How do you show other people that you care?
What is the best book you have ever read?
What are 3 things that make your family special?
What do you like most about your family?
What do you think “happiness” means?
What made you smile or laugh today?
These questions are great to ask your children when you want them to think outside the box. So many times our children have to grow up so quickly and they don’t get to spend time imagining what could be. Ask these questions to your children when you want to learn about their wild ideas.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If you could switch places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
If you could invent anything, what would it be?
If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?
What is the ugliest name you can think of?
What is the prettiest name you can think of?
When we were growing up, teachers and parents always had what seemed to be a list of questions to ask children. Every teacher, every year, would ask us the same questions. Our parents repeated them as well. Here are some questions to get your children thinking about their plans without always saying “What do you want to be when you grow up,” though that one is on the list.
What is one thing you wish you could change about the world?
What is something you’ve always wanted to learn or try, but haven’t yet?
What is one thing you’re looking forward to in the future?
What is one goal you have for next year?
When you finish high school, what do you want to do?
When you grow up, what do you want to be?
If you could be anything (person, place, or thing), what would you be?
Critical Thinking Questions
Many times, we don’t include our children when we are discussing what is happening in society. I don’t think that is a bad thing. We should guard our children and allow them to keep their innocence as long as possible. However, here are some questions to ask your children that will help you gauge what they may have learned outside of your home.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing our society today?
What is something that you’re curious about, but haven’t had a chance to explore yet?
What makes an enemy?
What does it feel like when you get a hug from someone?
What do you enjoy giving to others?
How do you best enjoy helping others?
What is something that makes you feel a lot of emotions?
How would you describe yourself in one word?
Personal Connection Questions
These questions will help your child to see him/herself in a different way, possibly. It may help him/her to make a stronger connection to him/herself. That, in turn, could lead to a stronger connection with you.
What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done, and what did you learn from it?
What is something that always makes you happy when you’re feeling down?
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?
What is something you’re really passionate about?
Family and Relationship Questions
When my daughter was little, I wish I would have thought to ask some of these questions. I can only imagine what she would have thought the hardest part of being a parent was. Ask these questions to your children, and maybe you will learn how they see your family bond already.
What is something that you enjoy doing with your family?
What do you think is the hardest part about being a parent?
What are the 3 most important things to look for in a friend?
If you could change anything about your family, what would it be?
Bonus Questions to Ask Your Children
If your child goes to school outside of the home, as my daughter did through 8th grade, when he/she arrives home, you want to know how his/her day was.
Instead of asking, “How was your day,” here are some other questions to ask your children. These questions may get a better answer than “Fine.”
Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw/showed today?
Was everyone in class today or were some classmates absent?
What did you eat for lunch? (Obviously this is for the kids who don’t take a lunchbox.)
Who did you eat with at lunch today?
What was the best part of your lunch today?
If your teacher would let you switch seats with anyone in the class, who would it be?
What creative things did you do at school today?
If you could change anything at all about your school, what would you change?
What part of your day today would you change if you had a time machine?
What kind of person were you today?
Which of the rules was the hardest to follow at school?
What made your teacher smile (and/or frown) today?
What can you do tomorrow to make your teacher smile? (Goal-Oriented)
Overall, asking questions is an extremely powerful way that you can connect with your children and create meaningful conversations and bonds. When we take the time to listen to our children, we can engage with them on a deeper level. This will make our relationships with our children stronger. In the long run, it will help our children to develop skills like self-awareness and critical thinking.
I hope that this list of questions to ask your children will spark some great conversations in your family. Just remember that every child is different. You can change (or add to) these questions to personalize them for your child’s interests and personality.
I invite you to write any questions you have used to connect with your children in the comments. In doing so, may we begin a conversation there that will help us to continue to find new ways to create deeper relationships with our children each day.