Does anyone else sometimes find it hard to know how to start a good conversation with their kids? I have to admit, sometimes my brain goes completely blank. I am not a good conversationalist, period.
More than just making conversation however, asking questions build bonds. It tells our kids that we are interested in them and what they are doing. It builds self confidence. In various situations, it also teaches them emotional intelligence, oral presentations skills, and models how to interact respectfully and be interested in others.
When I saw the topic of questions come up on a Leadership Education Facebook page that I am a part of, I loved what I saw. With their permission, here are some of the questions that they suggested, as well as others that I have observed great parents, teachers and mentors ask:
1. What can you tell me about your picture?
2. What materials did you use?
3. Where did you get your idea?
4. What is your favorite part of the picture?
5. What title would you give this picture?
6. If you were doing this picture all over again, what would you change or do differently? What would you do the same?
7. Why did you use (insert color) here?
8. What if... (you had used red instead of blue or paint instead of pencil?)
9. How did you..... (make these lines? Decide on the colors? Create that shape?)
10. If you had more time, what would you add to your artwork?
1. What gave you the idea to make this?
2. How did you come up with this design?
3. How does this help people?
4. What does this piece of the invention do?
5. Why did you decide to put it there?
6. (When being asked for help) I don't know. Let's try it and see what happens.
7. What would happen if you adjusted ___________?
8. Is there a simpler way your invention can complete the task?
9. How did you figure out how to make this work?
10. Did you look to another invention for inspiration or problem solving?
1. What character did you like?
2. Which part was the most funny?
3. Was there anything that you disliked?
4. Did you like the choice ________ made?
5. What you do think would have happened if they had made a different choice?
6. Which character seems the most like you?
7. How would you rate this from 1-10 and why?
8. Did you like this writing style/genre?
9. What is another way the story could have ended?
10. What do you think the theme (or the point) of this was?
1. What did you appreciate about today?
2. What are you thankful for today? Who is responsible for that? (Ex: fun activity at school = great teacher, favorite breakfast = mom, etc.)
3. What was your biggest success?
4. What was your biggest frustration or struggle?
5. How can we use your strength of _______ to help solve your struggle with ________?
6. Who did you help today?
7. What problem did you see today?
8. What problem did you solve today?
9. Who was a good friend to you?
10. What was the best thing you learned today (note: does not have to be school related. Can involve relationships, emotions, about themselves, nature, etc.)
But let's not make this too hard, or too academic! Dawn M. from the Facebook page gave this fantastic insight for how questions work at her house:
We talk and talk and talk at our house! We are known for it. But I've never used starter questions like this, so it's neat to think about. I've found the most success in picking up the kids' cues. Moments they are being open and then I jump in and join them. Prod a little more. Dig a little deeper. Having my eyes down on their level, putting my arms around them, snuggling together. They can see in my eyes that I want to know what's in their hearts. The non verbals are just as important as the words. Keeping an eye out for when their hearts are open and hearing what they are trying to say and really and truly listening throughout the day are the key! And now some of my kiddos are adults and keep coming around to talk, talk, talk!
As I write this, my conscience is pricking me a bit. As a definite introvert with five children, four of whom stay at home all day for school, I have to admit that I crave quiet instead of talking. Big time.
But I know that this is how relationships are built and how hearts are knit together. So I re-commit to giving this another go and instead of managing my children, try to actively listen and interact instead. And as my friend Ralphie from @simplyonpurpose often reminds me, this is a time to be a safe place.
Will you join me and we can work on this together? (And if you would like a free pdf of the questions above to stick in a handy place, click this link.)
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