Let’s face it: it’s time to revamp conversations with kids. Whether it’s in the car, between Zoom meetings, or around the dinner table, having fun, interesting questions at the ready is the ultimate cure to shrugs or monosyllabic responses.
It’s also an antidote for a unique dilemma posed by unprecedented hours at home.
On one hand, more time with family at home has been a silver lining of these challenging times. Working and learning from home has (literally) brought thousands of families closer, and the absence of typical excursions has created more opportunities to interact with and entertain one another at home.
But for many, it’s been a mixed blessing.
Time together was once a much scarcer commodity, making family game nights or no-cell phone dinners all the more special. Now it’s here in abundance in many households, but with some tricky strings attached.
If every night is basically family game night, it becomes somewhat less precious, right? What is there left to talk about when your family has had, well, each other to talk to in person for months on end?
We’re asking ourselves what to do with the sheer amount of time available to us now, as it has been for almost a year. And as any parent knows, there’s a difference between time technically spent in the same room and quality time spent connecting with kids.
The key to kickstarting quality time? Asking the right questions.
Open-ended questions to ask teens & kids
“How”, “why,” and opinion-based questions are discussion gold. Yes/no questions, or overly-specific questions that require a lot of knowledge for lift off can prove much less fruitful.
Trust me on this, it was once my job to ask questions that actually get kids talking and thinking.
Great conversations with kids and teens are often grounded in their personal experiences, likes and dislikes, or opinions. Goodness knows those are not hard to come by with teens especially! With this foundation, kids can jump in with the confidence that their perspective is valuable and without the fear of “getting it wrong” or feeling intimidated.
This curated list of 57 questions to ask kids and teens fits the bill to a T!
We’ve broken them down into a range of categories, and with 57 questions to choose from, we guarantee to get the whole family talking! These are fun questions to ask kids and spark a dinner table discussion that everyone can enjoy and potentially lead to still more.
Some questions are better suited for younger kids and others are great for engaging teens. You know your child better than anyone, so use this list as a starting point and hand-pick a few that will suit their interests and personality.
Take a look, and you’ll never be stuck with “How was school?” again!
School & Learning
1. What isn’t a subject in school that you think should be? How would you teach it?
2. What is your favorite subject in school? Tell me about the best project or activity you’ve ever done in that subject.
3. If you could outlaw one thing in school, what would it be?
4. If you could wake up tomorrow fluent in two other languages, which would you choose? Why?
5. Where would your dream field trip be? Why? What would you do there?
6. Were you bored today? Why do you think that is?
7. What do you think is the most important quality in a teacher? Why?
8. What’s the best part of your day at school? Why?
9. What’s the worst part of your day at school? Why? What do you think can we do to make it better?
10. What is the most important thing you learned in school NOT taught by a teacher?
11. Which is the most difficult rule to follow in school? Why do you think that is?
12. Tell me an interesting fact you know/learned recently that I don’t know.
13. Who is someone you look up to at school? Why do you admire them?
14. What’s something you’re really good at in school?
15. Do you think homework is beneficial? If so, why? If not, what would you replace it with?
16. What’s something that bugs you about school? What do you think we can do about it?
Friends & relationships
17. What makes a good friend?
18. Do you think social media helps make/maintain friendships? Why/ why not?
19. If your friends could have a clubhouse, what would it look like?
20. Tell me about a favorite memory you have of your friends.
21. If you and your friends won a $100 prize, how would you spend it?
22. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
23. Who is someone who looks up to you?
24. How would you describe yourself in five words or fewer?
25. Did you meet anyone new today? What are they like?
26. What is a memorable act of kindness you witnessed? Why was it important?
27. Who is your personal hero? Why?
Experiences & interests
28. What’s your favorite song right now?
29. Can you recommend any TV shows or YouTube videos?
30. What is your first memory? What can you remember?
31. Rate your day on a scale of 1-10; 1 being awful and 10 being the best day ever. Why did you pick that number?
32. What’s a career that doesn’t exist (yet) that you think should? Would you want the job?
33. Tell me about the time you laughed the hardest.
34. What is the most challenging part of your life right now?
35. What do you look forward to most each day?
36. In your opinion, what is the most useful/entertaining app?
37. What is the best gift you have ever received/given?
38. Do you think college athletes should be paid?
39. Tell me about an achievement/ experience you’re really proud of. Why is it important to you?
40. What is the worst food in the world?
41. What would you most like to accomplish in sports/ music/ extracurriculars next?
42. What’s something you wish adults understood about kids today?
43. If you could time travel to any year in the past or future, which would you choose? Why? What would you do?
44. If someone were to make a movie about your life right now, what would you call it? Which actors would you want to be in it?
45. What superpower would you want to have? How would you use it?
46. If you could invite three people, living or dead, to your birthday party, who would you choose? What would you talk about/do?
47. If you could keep any animal, real or imaginary, as a pet, which would you choose?
48. Describe your perfect meal.
49. If you could only read one book/ watch one movie/ play one game for a whole year, which would you choose and why?
50. Do you think aliens exist? How would you explain Earth/humans to them?
51. If you had one year to spend one million dollars, how would you spend it?
52. If you could switch places with any person, real or fictional, for a day, who would it be?
53. If you could pitch a TV show/ movie to Netflix that’s guaranteed to be produced, what would it be about? Which (if any) onscreen or behind the scenes role would you want in it?
54 What five items would you bring with you to a deserted island? Why?
55. What do you think makes your generation unique?
56. If you could create any law that everyone on Earth had to follow, what would it be? What would you want it to accomplish?
57. Do you think there is too much/ not enough technology in the world? What would you change?
How’d it go?
We would love to hear your suggestions for fun family conversation starters. Comment below with your ideas!