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17 Conversation Starters for Chatting With Kids

17 Conversation Starters for Chatting With Kids

Use this added family time to get to know what's going on in the mind of your little ones on a day-to-day basis.

Family togetherness has taken on a completely new dimension for the past couple of months. We’re spending more time with our children than ever before. And while that means lots of movies, board games, and homework help, it also means we have ample time for casual chatting—whether it’s during a walk around the neighborhood or at the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table. Here are 17 ways to get the ball rolling—and get kids talking! Just remember that if you want your children to talk, you should expect to do lots of talking too. Demonstrate how to give thoughtful, detailed answers. And then zip your lips so the kids can have the floor.

What was your happy, hard, and helper moment of the day? 

This is a great way to wrap up the day as a family, whether or not you’ve spent most of your time together at home. It allows everyone to touch base, get a sense of the emotional, psychological, and physical wins and challenges of the day, and it particularly helps little ones get into the habit of reflecting and remembering what they did over a period of time. You might be surprised at what your kids come up with! And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can add a “hilarious moment” to the mix, because there are just too many ridiculously funny things that go down during quarantine.

What was the first thing you did this morning?

You may not know every moment of your child’s life quite like you thought you did!

What are you working on right now? What are you in the middle of learning?

Believe it or not, your kids might be a little interested to hear what the grown-ups are working on all day long. And of course parents are curious about what their kids are focusing on for distance learning. This is also a chance to share any new hobbies or skills you’re trying to master, while encouraging your kids to be working on exciting new things too.

RELATED: How you can learn a new skill with your kids

Two truths and a lie

Give kids a chance to tell two truths and a lie about their day. Try to guess which is the lie!

Who did you talk to today?

This is one of those questions that will hopefully lead to a much bigger conversation about family, friends, connecting with loved ones, and what’s going on in everyone’s lives. 

RELATED: Sesame Workshop Releases Resources to Help Parents Guide Conversations About Race and Racism

Did you do anything differently today?

As a parent, you can give your answer first to give kids an idea of what they might have done differently. Maybe you ate oatmeal instead of your usual eggs for breakfast because you wanted to top your oats with fruit and nuts. Maybe you read some of your book after lunch instead of jumping back on email to give your mind a reset. 

Tell a joke or make us laugh.

Take turns telling one-line jokes or trying to make everyone at the dinner table laugh by doing silly faces or dances.

Did you miss anyone or anything today?

Depending upon the children’s age and maturity, parents should take the opportunity to ask them gently, but directly, what they miss from time to time. This gives kids a chance to give voice to thoughts and emotions that may be just below the surface.

What are you grateful for?

A good follow-up to a question about what’s lacking is a question that puts the spotlight on what we do have.

Rhyme time!

Someone says a word or phrase and the next person has to quickly say something that rhymes with it. Go around the family circle as many times as you can.

Did you see anything new today? 

As adults, we may forget that seeing the world through the eyes of our children is seeing everything anew. 

What are you excited for doing this week? Month? Year?

Now is a great time to help kids think a little ahead and focus on something to look forward to.

What superpower do you wish you had right now?

The answers to this could get interesting, from germ fighting powers to time travel!

Start a story.

Each person in the family takes a turn starting a fictional story. The next person adds 1-2 sentences to the story, and then the next person adds more to help develop the plot. See how long you can keep the story going.

Thumbs up or thumbs down

Pick an object or idea and everyone in the family gets to cast their vote thumbs up or thumbs down. Some ideas include: Zoom calls. Sourdough bread. Tie dye shirts. Spicy pickles.

What is one thing you want to do you want to do tomorrow?

Whether you have an entire Saturday to fill, or just a few minutes to do something fun as a family before diving into your weekday routine, it’s worth asking your kids to weigh in on something they’d enjoy doing the next day so you can chat about it and plan for it.

Do you have any questions? 

You may be amazed at the questions your kids come up with!

RELATED: 7 Ways to Promote Emotional Wellness in Kids During COVID

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Whitney C. Harris

Author: Whitney C. Harris is a freelance writer and NYMetroParents' Manhattan and Westchester calendar editor. She lives in Sleepy Hollow, NY, with her husband, a toddler, and a dog. See More

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