42 Conversation Starters for Kids

Striking up these conversations could change your child's future.

These questions can be great conversation starters for kids.
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As a parent, you’re likely to feel like you know your children like the back of your hand sometimes. You know the foods they refuse to eat, and those they gobble up. You know faces they make when they’re sad, and the exclamations they make when they’re ecstatic. In short, these are the beings that you’re closest to in the entire world.

However, people—including kids—are constantly changing and developing new preferences, fears, thoughts and emotions. Therefore, to continue to know your children as well as you hope to, you need to keep asking questions to start conversations.

A simple question like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” seems like it might not offer too much insight, but if you continue to encourage a discussion about the topic, you might be surprised as to what you can learn.

These conversation starters can even help develop characteristics that you think are important for your child to possess, such as gratitude, imagination, empathy and confidence.

Bring up these questions when you’re in the car, at the dinner table or in another location when the whole family can focus on the conversation. You might even make a little game out of it—print out the questions, cut them up so they’re on individual strips of paper and have a child pick out a question or two to discuss each night.

Conversation Starters to Get to Know Your Child Better

Asking specific questions about your child’s dreams, emotions, and values can give you great insight into the individual that you’re raising. It might clue you in to things you want to work on with your child or you might leave the conversation feeling astonished that your child is growing into such a wonderful person.

Here are some conversation starters that can help you get to know your child on a deeper level:

  1. Who is your best friend and why?
  2. What traits do you look for in friends?
  3. What do you think is the most important quality a person can have?
  4. What do you think of the way the other kids at school dress these days?
  5. What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Conversation Starters to Enhance Family Relationships

It’s important for your child to feel like an important member of the family. And it can be interesting to get a sense of what your child thinks about being part of your family.

As kids grow up, they often look at their friends’ families or families on TV and wonder what it would be like if they were raised in a different environment. So it can be eye-opening to hear their thoughts on what they appreciate about your family, as well as things they might wish were different.

Rather than argue or defend the things that might be a little tough to hear, simply ask some follow up questions about what inspired your child’s way of thinking.

Of course, you might also be honored to hear some of the things your child appreciates about you or your family. Here are some questions that can spark interesting conversations about your family:

  1. What is your favorite thing about our family?
  2. What is your favorite family tradition?
  3. What are the most important things we’ve taught you?
  4. Do you think the discipline and consequences in our family are fair?
  5. If you could make three family rules, what would they be?
  6. What do you think are the most important qualities of a good parent?
  7. What should we do more of as a family?
  8. What do you like best about your siblings?

Conversation Starters to Help Grow Gratitude

From improved physical health to better relationships, studies consistently show that gratitude has many benefits. But raising a grateful child in today’s world can be complicated. Most kids have more than they need and they can easily take things—like an opportunity to attend school—for granted.

Asking questions that cultivate gratitude—and making it a habit to help your child look on the bright side—could be key to raising a child who feels thankful for all that she has. Here are some conversations starters that can cultivate gratitude:

  1. What are some things you feel grateful for today?
  2. What are some things that you don’t need, but you’re really happy that you have?
  3. What are some things that are easy to complain about, but we’re actually lucky to have? For example, rainy days help gardens grow and give animals water to drink.
  4. What are some things you get to do that other people might not be able or allowed to do?
  5. What are some things that I didn’t have as a kid that you’re happy you get to have?

Conversation Starters to Help Develop Imagination

After kids outgrow pretend play, their use of imagination may decline. But, you can help spark their creativity with a few simple questions.

Here are some conversation starters that will help your child be a bit more imaginative:

  1. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
  2. If you wrote a book, what would it be about?
  3. If your pets could talk, what would they say?
  4. What color is the happiest color?  What makes it happy?
  5. If you won $100, what would you do with it?

Conversation Starters to Help Develop Empathy

Kids can get caught up into thinking they’re the only person who matters. You can combat egocentrism by helping your child think more about others and how they might feel. Here are some questions that can help your child develop empathy:

  1. Did you have a chance to be kind to anyone today?
  2. How do you think other people feel when you’re kind to them?
  3. Who gets teased at school or in your activities, and why?
  4. How do you think kids who do the teasing feel about themselves? How do you think kids who get teased feel?
  5. Does anyone else ever step in to stick up for the kids being teased?
  6. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Conversation Starters to Help Develop Mental Strength

Kids can learn to develop mental muscle by learning how to manage their emotions, regulate their thoughts, and take positive action. While it’s important to give them regular exercises that help them build mental strength, you can also remind them of strategies they can use to be mentally strong by asking targeted questions. Here are some simple conversation starters that can help kids build mental strength:

  1. What feeling do you think is most uncomfortable? Embarrassment, anger, fear, or something else?
  2. What are some things you can tell yourself when your brain tells you things that are too negative to be true, such as ‘you’ll never succeed’ or ‘no one likes you?’
  3. How do you make yourself face your fears?

Conversation Starters to Help Develop Ethical Thinking

Asking questions about ethical issues can help your child get to know her values and develop morality. Here are a few conversation starters that can help your child think about her ethics:

  1. If your friend always forgets to bring his lunch to school, should other kids always share with him?
  2. Is it ever OK to ever cheat in school or sports?
  3. Is there ever a time that it would be OK to steal from someone?

Conversation Starters to Help Develop Confidence

It’s important for kids to recognize their talents, abilities, and skills. Asking questions that help them identify their strengths can help them realize they put their talents to good use. Here are some conversation starters that can boost your child’s confidence:

  1. What are you most proud of?
  2. What is something you are good at?
  3. What are some things you can do to make a difference in the world?

Conversation Starters to Help Develop Ambition

Young people sometimes have trouble thinking past the next five minutes, let alone thinking much about their long-term future. Asking some questions about the life they want to create for themselves is a good way to help them start imagining what type of life they want to live. Here are some conversation starters that can help your child think more about the future and develop the ambition to make it happen:

  1. Where would you like to live some day? A house in the country, an apartment in the city, on a farm, in a mansion, in an RV that travels around, or somewhere else?
  2. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  3. If you could achieve any goal, however impossible it seems, what would it be?
  4. What is one thing you want to achieve before you finish school?

Keep the Conversations Going

Questions and conversation starters should be natural, not an interrogation. If you rapidly fire questions at your child, he’ll be more likely to shut down.

So limit your big questions to one or two a day. Spend time talking about his thoughts and ideas and show that you’re interested in hearing what he has to say. Your child will relish your conversations together when he realizes that you value his opinion, even when it’s different from your own.

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