“What did you do in school today?”
“Well … how was your day?”
Aggggh! It’s enough to drive any well-meaning parent crazy!
But maybe it’s not their fault they’re giving lame answers. Maybe it’s our fault for asking lame questions. The art of asking good, thought-provoking questions that demand an answer is something every parent can master. The first step is avoiding any close-ended question – you know, the kind of questions that will lead to a one-word answer like “Yes,” or “No” or “Fine.” Think through the things you want to talk about, then ask a question that leads your child to a memory and invites them to share how they felt during that moment. Once the floodgates open, they won’t stop talking.
To help you get the ball rolling, here are 15 conversation-starting questions to ask your children in the car:
1. Who did you sit by at lunch today and what did you talk about?
2. What was something challenging you faced?
3. Which teacher did you enjoy the most today and why?
4. If you could have skipped any class, which one would it be and why?
5. Who encourages you the most in your school? What did he/she say today to make you feel good?
6. What homework are you dreading and why?
7. What project are you excited to work on and why?
8. Which class seems like it will be useful when you’re an adult? How?
9. What friendship is the most draining right now?
10. What hard thing might God be calling you to do in school these days?
11. Who is your best friend at school? What did you do with him/her today?
12. What do you think is the hardest thing students struggle with? Why?
13. What made you laugh today?
14. Who is someone in your classes that you see struggling? How could you help them?
15. How can I pray for you as you live for Jesus in your school?
The “Whys” behind these 15 questions are truly the most important. Asking creative questions will show your student that you truly care about them as an individual.
Also, remember that your child has been under constant stimulation for hours and hours, and they might just need some quiet space to process everything they just lived through. Knowing your child will help you discern when they’re ready to engage in conversation and when they just need to hear, “Hey, I really missed you today and prayed specifically for you!”
Cindy Branton is the social media manager for CIY’s Believe and SuperStart program. She is also the proud parent of Brielle, Braelyn and Briarly. Her email is email@example.com.